A Cake of Two Halves: Half Chocolate, Half Vanilla Birthday Cake

half chocolate half vanilla cake

One birthday cake for two people

My friend Karyn’s husband and father have their birthdays on the same day but she didn’t really need two cakes in the house. One cake was plenty but one of them prefers chocolate, the other vanilla. A problem easily solved by a half chocolate, half vanilla birthday cake!

I had never made one of these before so this was a learning experience for me. I had originally thought I would use one colour of icing as that would help to hold the whole thing together. Then I realised that once I had iced it would be very difficult to know which bit belonged to whom and there was no guarantee I would get it right! I also thought it would be more striking in the two colours.

I made one Victoria sponge mix and split it by weight into two bowls after adding the eggs. I then folded flour into one half and flour and cocoa powder into the other half. I wanted each half to be exactly the same to make sure that the centre of the cake was completely level thoughout.

half chocolate half vanilla cake

Non identical twins

When the layers were baked and cooled I put one on top of the other and cut them in half. I didn’t quite get the middle which is why there is a “step” in the layers when I put them back together:

making half chocolate half vanilla cake

Cut the layers in half before levelling the cake

Once I had put the layers back together I could level the bottom layer and fill the cakes with buttercream: chocolate buttercream for the chocolate half, vanilla buttercream for the vanilla half, of course:

chocolate vanilla cake

Fill the cakes and apply a layer of buttercream to stick them together

I made sure they were stuck together firmly with buttercream and then masked each side with buttercream ready for the sugarpaste:

icing a cake

Ready for the sugarpaste

I rolled out some white and some chocolate sugarpaste, gave them each a straight edge and then tried to stick them together by going over them with the rolling pin:


Chocolate and vanilla sugarpaste, rolled together

It wasn’t too easy to get onto the cake in one piece! I ended up with a tiny gap in some places across the centre and I was afraid the weight of the icing might widen it. So the stars across the middle are decorative but also serve as glue and hide the join!

half chocolate half vanilla cake

Vanilla for Daddy, chocolate for Grandad

I made a mistake with the size of cake board I used so didn’t have enough of a border for the stars rounds the base. I also can’t decide if I should have levelled the top of the cake: for some reason I think sugarpaste seems to suit a flat surface better but maybe that is just what I am used to. It’s also a good idea to roll the sugarpaste slightly thicker than normal if you are going to roll two colours together as this will of course make it thinner: something I hadn’t thought of at the time…

I wonder if each side of the cake had its own candles!

Categories: Baking, Birthday cakes, Cakes, Chocolate

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

25 replies

  1. You’re so clever and creative. I love it.

  2. What a wonderful idea. It’s a lovely cake and so creative.

  3. Really wonderful idea! I shall do this the next time we have two birthdays in the house. Thanks for sharing. To answer your question about the “step”, I think it has to do with the absorption rate of cocoa powder, which requires three times its weight in water, unlike flour which needs much less. So replacing the flour with cocoa powder without reformulating the recipe won’t yield quite the same rise. But it’s a small issue if we just tort the cakes anyway, so just for info! 🙂

    • Thanks very much. I was lucky in that the cakes were the same height, I just didn’t manage to cut them into two exact halves so I had one smaller and one larger piece of both chocolate and vanilla cake. They fitted together like a puzzle and at the time I was hoping it would strengthen the join!

  4. Perfect! I love this idea! And it’s beautifully executed, as usual… 🙂

  5. That is a really clever idea! Saving this in case I need to bake for a double birthday! 🙂

  6. I love this cake, and the clever stars and i bet the recipients were over tje moon 🙂

  7. It’s was beautiful and tasty as always:) yes they did have separate candles! Will find a photo and send to you. Thanks as always Rachel you are a star.

  8. You’ve been decorating a lot of cakes recently! what a great idea to have two flavours in a cake and pleasing both parties. I think you did a terrific job with the sugar paste. You can’t see the gap between the two cakes!

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