• Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.

Milk Chocolate Birthday Cake

At school, I had a brief flirtation with genetics. I adored Biology (possibly because I adored my teacher, Miss Greig) and when the time came to choose my A-Levels, I seriously considered going to university to study genetics.

Which in itself, may have been swayed by my fascination (obsession) with Jurassic Park but I decided I wasn’t destined for a life in a lab, staring down Western Blots and microarrays which (most probably) wouldn’t be the most scintillating company.

But I digress! I am reminded of my fascination with genetic engineering when I think of my Milk Chocolate Birthday Cake, as I basically reverse engineered it from a friend’s request for “something more milk chocolatey”for her little boy’s birthday.

Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.

You see, I adore dark and rich chocolate cake. Whether it’s in the form of my chocolate pound cake or Ina Garten’s chocolate cake, the darker, the better for me. I opt for the addition of coffee and dark muscovado sugars in the cake and hugely prefer a dark chocolate ganache (or if I do want something with a sweeter edge, chocolate cream cheese Italian meringue frosting) to standard buttercream.

But those cakes come out really full on. Hungry Hubby famously says he finds chocolate cake too much (although he gets greedy around my intensely chocolatey lava cakes) and whilst I know plenty of kids with really, what one could consider, grown-up palates, a lot do love their milk chocolate and wouldn’t thank you for a square of bitter 70% chocolate!


As I never want anyone to feel left out of having cake, especially on their birthday, my Milk Chocolate Birthday Cake was born. When my friend asked for it, it got the old cogs turning in my brain. How could I produce a moist, tender and still somewhat fudgy chocolate cake without a tonne of cocoa powder which is drying in cakes and quite bitter to taste?

I didn’t feel satisfied by subbing a spoonful of flour for cocoa in a standard Victoria sponge as it simply isn’t chocolatey enough, and it is rather insipid in colour too.  I looked to my vanilla yogurt cake for inspiration and after some experimentation, concocted a suitably fudgy cake, thanks to the use of yogurt, oil and molten milk chocolate.

Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.

The cake itself is super simple to make – whisk the wet ingredients, sift over and fold the dry in. You need a little cocoa to enrich the colour but I promise the flavour is all milk, no bitterness at all. If I were to be sugarpasting this cake, I would stick with a simple icing sugar, butter and cocoa buttercream but if you want to serve it more simply, perhaps with a few of the birthday boy (or girl’s) favourite sprinkles on, then you must try the frosting in the recipe!

Again, it’s easy – simply whisk all the ingredients together before chilling briefly to allow for easy decoration. This frosting really is a true fudge frosting as it is made with evaporated milk to make it extra luscious, sweet and creamy.

Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.

And p.s. know that this cake works beautifully using Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in place of the milk chocolate and a little dribble of orange extract in the frosting. Hungry Hubby approves. Next time, I’m going to melt down a Mint Aero and add peppermint to the frosting 😉

5 from 4 votes
Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.
Milk Chocolate Birthday Cake

Both the cake and frosting are super simple to make and will suit kiddies (and grown-ups!) who find dark chocolate a bit too much. I know, I don't understand either... 😉 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Servings: 10
: 605 kcal
Author: Just Jo
For the cake:
  • 120 g vegetable oil (yes I weigh it)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200 g Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 150 g melted milk chocolate
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (leave out if serving to young children)
For the frosting:
  • 100 g very soft butter
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp cocoa (30g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100 g evaporated milk
  • sprinkles as liked to finish
  1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C (if your oven is fan forced, just reduce the cooking time by 2-3 minutes, not the temperature). Lined two 8 inch round sandwich tins. 

  2. Whisk together the oil, eggs, yogurt, vanilla, sugar and chocolate for 2 minutes until pale, light and fluffy. I use my electric hand whisk or a good old fashioned whisk! Don't skimp on this part - it helps make the cake light and fluffy. 

  3. Sift over the flour, cocoa, baking powder and optional salt then fold in. Divide between the two cake tins and bake for 28-30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before unmoulding to finish cooling. 

For the frosting:
  1. Simply whisk all the ingredients together on high speed until paler and fluffy. It will be quite soft at this point so either scrape into a bowl and freeze for 15 minutes or refrigerate for up to an hour. It makes frosting much easier. 

  2. Use a third of the frosting to sandwich the cakes then cover the cake with the remainder. Decorate with sprinkles as liked! I find it best to chill again for 15 mins (in the fridge this time) before slicing and in the height of summer, you'll want to store this cake in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving. 

Recipe Notes

1. In the UK, evaporated milk comes in oddly sized 170g tins. Use the rest from the frosting in mac & cheese or even in a white sauce, such as you would use for lasagne. It's good and rich and creamy!

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

Like this post? Then why not try these related recipes:

Milk chocolate birthday cake - still fudgy and very chocolatey, but a lot milder for kiddies (and grown ups!) who ind dark chocolate too much.
By |2018-12-23T08:56:43+00:00June 17th, 2017|Categories: Cake, Chocolate, Home Baking, Weekend Baking|Tags: , , , , , , |14 Comments


  1. Karly 21st June 2017 at 4:28 am - Reply

    What a beaut! This is the picture perfect birthday cake… or just, anytime cake. Already drooling!

    • Just Jo 27th June 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Karly, for your very kind words x

  2. Claire 9th September 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    I made this with my daughter today and it was a huge hit. It was light and moist. I’m not a big fan of rich, dense chocolate cake so it was perfect for me. I’ll definitely be making it again. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Just Jo 11th September 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

      I’m so thrilled to hear that Claire! No one should be without chocolate cake in my world, so I’m very glad to have a less rich, less intense recipe for you to enjoy 😀 x

  3. Amanda 7th October 2017 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    Made this cake today with help from my daughters . It is the best chocolate cake I have ever made, they usually end up really dry ! Thank you for sharing the recipe …..off to have another slice !

    • Just Jo 7th October 2017 at 9:03 pm - Reply

      Oh I am so thrilled to hear that Amanda! Thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed it. I’m delighted 😀 x

  4. Mel 21st May 2018 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    Wow great cake recipe soft moist and just the right amount of chocolate taste, love the frosting too, I found this page whilst searching for a birthday cake recipe and will definitely make it again, thank you, I will have to check out some more of your recipes.

    • Just Jo 24th May 2018 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Aw thank you so much Mel! I’m really happy you found me and my cake 😀

  5. Clare 30th May 2018 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Another ratings winner Jo! Made this for my birthday cake after my family requested chocolate (they were supposed to help….) absolutely delicious, and even made me buy matching sandwich tins so it looked half decent too!! Love the fudgy icing, and cake rose beautifully!

    • Just Jo 1st June 2018 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Oh that’s so great and happy birthday Clare! I hope you and your new matching tins have many happy baking adventures together lol x

  6. Bane 26th June 2018 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Does it have to be vegetable oil, only reason I only just bought a expensive bottle of cooking rapeseed oil for a muffin cake I made?

    • Just Jo 29th June 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Bane – no, you can use any “vegetable” oil you like. I don’t know where in the world you are but here in the UK, what we buy as “vegetable oil” is actually rapeseed oil! If you liked coconut oil, you can use that but it would change the flavour, and rice bran oil also works nicely too. Happy baking!

  7. Charlotte Graves 26th June 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Just wondered if I could use this recipe for cupcakes (maybe with a shorter baking time!) add I have a young child’s birthday coming up and I think the mild milk chocolatey flavour would make great cupcakes.
    Also, all your recipes I’ve tried previously have been brilliant <3

    • Just Jo 29th June 2018 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Aw Charlotte, thank you so much for your lovely comment! I’m so happy to hear you’ve loved my recipes, it really does mean a lot to me. You could try baking this batter as cupcakes for about 25 minutes (keep an eye on them and be prepared to take them out if they are done a bit sooner). With cupcakes and a liquid batter, you don’t want to fill the cases more than 1/2 way, especially the first time you make them. I haven’t tested it myself or I’d be more specific. Do let me know how you get on if you try this cake as cupcakes x

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