The Best Birthday Cake

This past weekend family and friends from Maine and Connecticut came to celebrate back to back birthdays for Wilder and Camille. Since their birthdays are 1 day apart, the festivities tend to go on for a few days. With Camille turning 30 and Wilder turning 4, this was a special weekend for the family.

A few months back, Wilder came across a photo of a "construction cake" and put in the request for his own. With the help of Pinterest, I was inspired and now determined to pull off his requests. Baking and especially decorating cakes is not my strong point, so I was slightly nervous to wether or not I could fulfill my boy's requests. 

Fortunately, this stellar chocolate cake recipe was gifted to me by a dear friend in CT and after a few modifications utilized it as the base and "dirt" of the cake. The first step was to prepare a 1x recipe that would purposely get dried out and crumbled. Afterwards, I made a 2x batch to serve as the double layers in the cake. Since the cake contains a fair share of sugar, I used soaked dates to sweeten the frosting, which perfectly balanced the delicious, chocolate cake. 

Although a few steps were involved to bust out the construction scene, this took about 30 minutes to put together. A few chocolate covered almonds and raisins were added for effects, otherwise, all the components were made from scratch and free of dyes or artificial colors, a rarity in birthday cakes today. 

Chocolate Cake Recipe


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 cups coconut palm sugar or rapadura
  • 1 3/4 cup sprouted flour (we use To Your Health)
  • 3/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1/2 olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup boiling water


Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans or a 9 x 13 oblong. Beat together all ingredients except boiling water. Mix well until the mixture is light. Slowly add boiling water and continue to mix. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes. For best results I always line the bottom of my pans with parchment paper. 



  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted + soaked with enough hot water to submerge dates. 
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw/cultured butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 water, more as needed


Place all the ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy, using water to help achieve desired consistency. Be mindful not to add too much water as you want it the thicker side. 

Putting the Cake Together

Like mentioned above, I made a cake a few days ahead then crumbled some and left a bit chunky, but returned it to the oven to dry out. Once dried, I ground half of it in the food processor. This made for the dirt and the chunky bits made perfect edible "boulders".

Lay one cake on a surface that you wish to serve it on. Once the cake gets built, it will be dificult to move. Top the cake with a cup or two of the frosting, leaving an inch of space from the edge.

Lay the second cake over the top pressing down a bit to flatten. Use the remaining icing to coat the sides and top in a smooth layer. 

Cut a hole on one side then invert it where you want a mound. Coat the mound with icing then sprinkle the entire cake with the dirt. Add boulders and toys.

For the icing to write, I blended 1.4 stick of butter along with some maple syrup and vanilla. A touch of water got the consistency I needed. Into a pastry or sandwich bag to write whatever message you desire. 

Keep chilled until 1-2 hours before serving.