Birthday Vanilla Bean Cake with Chocolate Frosting

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! So many August birthday’s this month! I much rather prefer celebrating other people’s birthday, and it’s pretty awesome that my special peoples’ are around this time.

There are lots to do in summer months for birthday parties! Sailing, camping, patio bars, beaches, baseball, picnics, pool parties…

I appreciate those birthdays! I wondered if parents planned August birthdays for their kids so they can have birthday pool parties. I imagine if you present kids with a delicious cake and a pool they’ll be extremely happy. Maybe? I have a lot to learn.

Birthday Vanilla Bean Cake with Chocolate Frosting

I know I would be happy with a piece of cake sitting by the pool. To me a fluffy moist vanilla yellow cake with fudgy frosting is the classic birthday cake.

It seems to be a challenge with grain free cakes but there are tricks to get that poof, but I really pushed the “fluffy factor” with this one. It’s my favorite so far!

You may have noticed by now that I prefer to bake with blends of starches and coconut flour. I’ve done a few with tapioca starch, which is an excellent ingredient for Paleo baking. This one I used arrowroot starch instead of tapioca.

They usually are interchangeable with blowing up your cake, but they do have different properties. Tapioca gives some binding and spring and arrowroot gives a major fluff but doesn’t bind as well. However, this cake also has raw honey which provides some binding structure.

I used a blend of raw honey and coconut sugar for a balance of sweetness and lift.  Pairing some sticky honey with arrowroot will give a fluffy cake that won’t fall apart too much. Then again, if it tastes amazing, who cares if a crumb falls off the slice?

Kinda looks like Superman when I have red and blue props next to the yellow cake, doesn’t it? Well, it IS a super cake, so it’s fitting! I also did some mechanical leavening tricks to get as much fluff as I possibly could.

I whipped the honey and sugar into the fat on high speed. I also added the dry ingredients in two stages with all the liquids (including yolks) in between.

I also separated the egg whites from the yolk, beat the whites into a meringue, and folded it into the batter as the final mixing step. I used the whisk attachment the entire time and flicked the switch all the way to high. Super speed whipping!

The cake is best with chocolate fudge frosting. Aren’t most things best with chocolate? The frosting can be sweetened with any type of syrup, such as maple, honey, or combinations.

Powdered sugar has some cornstarch which provides the same structural hold in traditional frosting, so I chose to add the arrowroot to provide that same hold.

I’m essentially mimicking the powdered sugar and cream in traditional frosting with arrowroot starch and syrup for a grain free and refined sugar free version.

Although the cake may be made with coconut oil in place of butter, I usually discourage coconut oil for frosting for the sole fact that it is unstable in warm rooms. I like my cakes at room temperature and my frosting to stay in place.

Butter or palm shortening based frosting behaves well and are just easy to manipulate, especially during warmer months. Frosting the entire cake requires some cooling steps, but it’s easy to do:

And that’s it! Chocolaty, sweet, and fluffy cake! Hope you enjoy this birthday classic!

Birthday Vanilla Bean Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Recipe by Matt Roberts


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



Paleo Vanilla Bean Yellow Birthday Cake Makes two 6×2″ Cakes or one 8″ cake.


  • For the Cake
  • ½ cup (80g) of Coconut Flour

  • ½ cup (64g) of Arrowroot Flour

  • ½ cup (112g) of Pastured Butter (or Coconut Oil), soft

  • ¼ cup (50g) of Coconut Sugar

  • ¼ cup (84g) of Raw Honey

  • ½ cup of Almond Milk (or Light Coconut Milk)

  • 4 Eggs

  • 1 Vanilla Bean

  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

  • 1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar

  • ½ teaspoon of Salt

  • ½ teaspoon of Baking Soda

  • Extra greasing butter/oil

  • For the Frosting
  • ½ cup of Pastured Butter or Palm Shortening

  • 1 cup of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

  • ¼ cup of Arrowroot Flour

  • ¾ cup of Syrup (either maple or liquid honey or mixtures)


  • For the Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line the bottom of two 6″x2″ round pans with parchment and grease the parchment surface and pan sides with butter/oil.
  • Optionally pulse the coconut sugar in a food processor if the granules are large. Gently warm the raw honey so it’s soft and nearly a liquid state.
  • Separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites.
  • Combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and beat on high speed with a whisk attachment until stiff peaks form to form the meringue. Set aside, or place in the refrigerator while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  • Gently warm the almond milk (or coconut milk). Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and place in the warm milk. Let the beans seep into the milk and scrape if necessary. Remove the pod.
  • Add the vanilla extract and egg yolks to the warm almond milk. Whisk until combined to make the liquid mixture.
  • In the mixing bowl with a whisk attachment whip the soft butter (or coconut oil) until fluffy.
  • Add the coconut sugar and honey to the butter/oil and whip on high speed for about 1 minute to make the butter mixture.
  • Sift together the coconut flourarrowroot flourbaking soda, and salt to make the dry flour mixture.
  • Add half of the dry flour mixture to the butter mixture and whip until the flours absorb into the butter and becomes fluffy again. Scrape the sides with a spatula to incorporate.
  • Add the whisked liquid ingredients and the rest of the dry flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on high speed with the whisk until combined and fluffy.
  • Scoop in a heaping of the egg white meringue and hand mix into the batter. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue until combined.
  • Portion the batter into each cake pan and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • For the Frosting
  • Whip the butter (or shortening) on high speed until fluffy.
  • Sift together the cocoa powder and arrowroot flour and add to the fluffy butter.
  • Continue to whip while intermittently adding the syrup.
  • Adjust the syrup level to taste.


  • Remember coconut sugar is equally interchangeable with granulated sugar or sucanat if you’re cool with that.
  • Powdered sugar and cream in traditional frosting is mimicked by syrup and arrowroot. The combination provides structural hold and fluff to the frosting.
  • The recipe makes two 6 inch cakes or one 9 inch cake. You may double the recipe and frosting for a layered 8 inch cake.
  • Using full fat coconut milk in place of the almond milk will make the cake heavy .”Light coconut milk” may be bought or easily made from a full fat can by diluting it with water.  Measure out 2 tablespoons of full fat coconut milk and add 6 tablespoons of water to get light coconut milk.
  • Honey can over brown cakes fairly easily, however this can be avoided by cooking longer at lower temperatures or by using baking strips.
  • The cake is tastiest at room temperature and may sit out for a few days. You can store it in the fridge, covered, for up to 4-5 days.

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