This is a super impressive looking birthday cake that is way easier to make than it looks!! It’s refined sugar free and gluten free and has a rich sort of mousse cake like texture without being cloyingly sweet. A birthday cake amazing enough for my best friend, and a little bit good for you too! Happy Birthday Anz x.


This is my last challenge for the Rising Social Star competition, and making a cake for my best friend is such a lovely way to finish this little adventure. I love cake, but I also love being balanced in my approach to eating and I’m always looking for creative ways to make treats a little bit better for us all. How do you say  “I love you’ with cake? You make that cake all about them and you also make it good for them! This cake is full of Anna’s favourite things, but I’ve gone and put a very Healthy Hunter stamp on it…


I love that birthday cakes can be whatever you want them to be these days, you can go a traditional buttercream filled number, something from the always handy Women’s Weekly Cookbook, a raw vegan cheesecake or even a tower of crepes. I wanted this cake to reflect the push towards balanced eating, so it’s still indulgent but isn’t completely devoid of nutritional value! You can celebrate and indulge and still be eating things that will make your body happy. Life’s not about restriction, especially not on your birthday!

The chocolate flavour is intense and enhanced by the coffee, perfect with the whipped coffee cream I’ve used to ice it. Yep it has cream in it, but the cake is actually full of secretly good for you things like beans! I’m at it again with the adding of legumes to my baked goods, but it doesn’t taste beanie and gives the cake an amazing texture while adding extra fibre to your diet. Making a healthified cake for Anna was never going to be as simple as turning a watermelon into cake, or using banana to sweeten it. The thing is she’s a bit of fruit hater, always has been even when we were really little! Banana’s are something she considers especially vile. She doesn’t even like them in her house, seriously. I wanted to make her a Healthy Hunter style cake but knew I couldn’t rely on fruit to add the health factor, so instead we have beans and cacao…

It probably sounds strange but it makes for a luscious cake. Especially when paired with the whipped cream. When you’re going low on sugar I’m a big fan of getting some fat in there to enhance flavour and it is a birthday cake so it does need to be somewhat indulgent, right? It also sort of looks like a wedding cake which is super appropriate as this is Anna’s first birthday as a married woman! Also, she’s a big fan of a classic aesthetic so the decoration on the cake needed to reflect that.

The decorations can be anything you like but the cinnamon in the bliss balls perfectly compliments the flavours of this cake. Plus, along with chocolate, coffee and lemon tart, cinnamon brioche is a favourite  sweet treat of the birthday girl.

Despite being friends for over our whole lives there hasn’t been that many birthdays Anz and I have had in the same country. We’ve spent most of our adult friendship living apart and communicating through sporadic, letters, emails, texts and phone calls. So she only gets to look at this cake, unless someone in New Zealnd is kind enough to make it for her and deliver it? I tried to use it as a ploy for her to come visit me because I’m crafty like that.

Despite spending so many years in a long distance friendship whenever we see each other it’s like no time has passed and we just slide back into each other’s lives. There’s something really special about those kinds of friendships. They link you to a past, a delightfully effortless but you know no matter what you can turn to that person for anything and they’ll have your back.

We met as babies when she lived next door and I know there’s many more birthdays to come where we probably won’t be celebrating together… but hopefully there will also be some where we can. But for this birthday, I hope she is eating platter food, drinking champagne and saving room for cake.

Some notes on the baking: This makes a small three tiered cake or a wider 2 tiered cake. The icing is basically cream, but to make this more stable between the layers I fold the leftover crumbs from leveling the cake tiers into it.

If you’re lactose free then you can lactose free milk, it’s available at your local Woolworths along with all the other ingredients you need for the recipe.

Serves 4-8


800g of canned cannelini beans (2 cans), drained and rinsed.

5 large eggs

3 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup maple syrup

2.5 tsps lemon juice or white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

45g coconut flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 cup cacao powder

1 shot of espresso

60 ml olive oil

Coffee Cream Icing

300ml thickened cream

2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 shot of espresso

To decorate:

5 white flowers of various sizes

1/2 serve of cinnamon brioche bliss balls, rolled into balls just a little smaller than a Lindt ball!


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. For a triple tiered cake you will need 3 small spring form cake pans (15cm). For a two tiered cake you can use 20cm tins. Line with baking paper.

Place all the sponge ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and well incorporated. Pour into your lined tins and bake for 20 – 30 minutes. Until crisp on top, and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed. A skewer should also come out clean.

If you want to use bliss balls to decorate make them now, roll them the size of a large marble.

Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Once cool trim the tops off so that they are completely level. A bread knife works well for this. Set aside 1/3 of cup of the trimmings (eat the rest, go on).

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Add maple syrup and vanilla. Remove 1/2 a cup and set aside (you will use this on the top). Add the coffee and fold in gently. Divide the cream between two bowls. Crumble the cake trimmings into one of the bowls of cream and fold in gently, this will be used between the layers.

Place one cake layer on your serving plate, bottom side up (cut side facing down), top with 1/2 the cake crumble cream, and smooth out. Make sure it is even and then add the next layer, (cut side facing down). Top with the other 1/2 of the cake crumble cream. Top with the final cake layer (cut side facing down). Use a palette knife or off set spatula and cover the sides with the second bowl of coffee cream. You want to make sure you cover the parts where the layers meet first, to increase stability. It will not be a thick layer and you should be able to see the cake through it in parts. Now use the reserved 1/2 cup of cream to top the cake, smooth out or leave flicks!

To decorate place flowers and bliss balls on the top of the cake near one edge and coming towards the center. Place a few more bliss balls and flowers at the bottom of the cake and on the opposite side to the top decorations.

Keep in the refrigerator until ready to devour.


HH. x



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  1. Love this! Any way to make it egg-free? We’re dealing with allergens and it’s soooo challenging!

    1. Hi Emma, I unfortunately haven’t tried it without eggs, what other things do you need to avoid?

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