A Half Birthday Cake Tutorial

Half Birthday Cake Tutorial and Recipe by Wood and Spoon blog. Learn how to transfer a simple single layer vanilla cake into a fun celebratory half birthday cake! The recipe for this simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream is a great way to celebrate everyday occasions like half birthdays. Find the recipe and how to on the

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This recipe and tutorial for a half birthday cake is a fun and playful way to celebrate everyday occasions!


For the cake:

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 13/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces milk

For the frosting:

  • 11/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 33/4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 11/2 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a 7 or 8” round pan and cut a sheet of parchment paper to sit inside the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring briefly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and scrape the sides of the bowl. In a smaller separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir half of those combined dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter, just until combined. Add the milk, stirring briefly, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl and fold in any unincorporated bits until the mixture is uniform. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes for 7” pans and 38-42 minutes for 8” pan. Allow to cool completely. 
  3. To prepare the frosting, cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in about half of the powdered sugar and the salt, adding the remaining dry ingredients once combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and stir in the milk. Increase the speed on the mixer to medium and beat until fluffy and combined, about 30 seconds. 
  4. Set aside 1 cup of frosting to remain white. This will cover the flat edge of the side of your cake, serving as the exposed faux cake layers. You can color the remaining icing however you’d like. I colored a remaining 2/3 in pink and a final 1/3 yellow to be piped as decoration. 
  5. To prepare the cake, cut the cake in half to make two half moon shapes. Spread a dollop of your frosting-colored frosting to a cake board or serving platter and place the first cake pieces on top. Spread a thick layer of that same frosting on the first piece of cake, smoothing with an offset spatula. Top it with a second piece of cake and continue frosting the top and rounded edges, being sure to keep the color frosting away from the flat edge. Next, use a clean offset spatula to cover the flat side with the white frosting. Clean up the edges as desired and then use a piping bag fitted with a small round (I used #3) tip to pipe a squiggly line on the flat edge. I used a 1M piping tip to pipe around the perimeter of the cake. Continue decorating the cake as desired, and enjoy!