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Perfect Chocolate Celebration Cake and Vanilla Buttercream

Lucy Parr
  • Serves: Makes 2 x 20 cm cakes
  • Preparation: 15
  • Cooking: 40-50
  • Ready: 65

Look no further for your perfect, go-to celebration cake!


For the cake

  • 330 g self-raising flour
  • 45 g or 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 220 g caster sugar
  • 290 ml dairy-free milk
  • 100 g dairy-free margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream

  • 145 g dairy-free butter
  • 250 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease and line the base of two 20 cm cake tins.

Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate, and salt together, then stir in the sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, melted dairy-free margarine, yoghurt, and vanilla.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and gradually combine until you have a lovely smooth batter.

Pour into the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

Cool in the tins for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. 

For the buttercream

Whisk the dairy-free butter until light and fluffy.

Add the icing sugar 100 g at a time with a splash of the milk and vanilla, mixing until fully combined and fluffy.

If you want to use fondant icing for the decorations, use 500 g to cover the cake and any offcuts for the decorations.

Variations: Turn this into a chocolate fudge cake by replacing 25g of the icing sugar in the buttercream with cocoa powder.


Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Meze Publishing

Taken from The Friendly Baker by Lucy Parr, published by Meze Publishing, £23

Photography © 2022 Paul Gregory

Food styling – Lucy Parr and Paul Gregory

“One of my biggest early challenges when baking without milk, eggs and nuts was to create a perfect birthday cake. Cake is such a big feature of any child’s birthday party and I always felt so sad that my daughters might not be able to experience the sheer joy of a spectacular themed cake. Over the years, this recipe has evolved and become my fool-proof, go-to celebration cake. The crumb is moist but not crumbly and is the perfect vehicle for a buttercream filling and/or fondant icing, ready for whatever decorations you would like. I hope this cake makes birthdays extra special for you too.”

The Friendly Baker Cookbook Cover

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