fun cake ideas: happy face cake

a cake with a happy face on it sits on a round tray on a table with coffee nearby

Cakes don't need to be saved for birthdays or holidays. Our fun cake ideas are great to make at any time of the year. This cake is rich and delicious—not to mention dairy-free, egg-free and refined-sugar-free! The icing is dairy-free too. 




Serves 12

Things you'll need for your happy face cake:

  • 250ml / 8.5 fl oz strong earl grey tea 
  • 200g / 7.1oz flour
  • 50g / 1.8oz cocoa
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 200g / 7.1oz muscovado sugar
  • 100g / 3.5oz mashed avocado (that’s about 1/2 a big avocado)
  • 50ml / 1.7 fl oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

To make your happy face cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
  1. Grease and line two 20cm / 6" round cake tins.
  1. Boil the jug. Scoop 2 tsp of loose leaf earl grey tea into 250ml / 8.5 fl oz boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves out and top up with extra water to make 250ml (you will lose a bit of liquid as the leaves absorb it).
  1. Place flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  1. Measure sugar and pour into a large bowl. Add tea, mashed avocado, oil and vanilla to sugar and mix to combine.
  1. Pour this mixture into your dry ingredients and whisk rigorously to combine. It will be quite a wet batter.
  1. Scrape half the mixture into each tin, and spread cake batter out over base.
  1. Place in oven for 15–20 minutes (switching cakes halfway through) until they are springy and bounce back when touched.
  2. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before turning out on cooling racks. Run a knife around the inside edges of the tin before you flip cakes out.

. . .

For the icing:

  • 2/3 cup (160ml / 5.4 fl oz) coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
  • 150g / 5.3oz dark chocolate (dairy-free), chopped

To make the icing:

  1. Place coconut cream into saucepan, gently bring to a simmer and then turn off heat.
  1. Scrape chocolate into saucepan and spread it out so it is covered by the cream. Leave to sit and melt for a few minutes, and then stir together.
  1. If chocolate is not all melted, you can gently turn the heat on again and mix until all lumps of chocolate have gone.
  1. Scrape into a bowl, cover and leave to cool. Placing this in the fridge will speed the cooling up.
  1. Once chocolate coconut has ‘set’ and begun to harden, remove from the fridge. If it is very firm, you’ll need to leave it out to soften a bit before beating.
  1. Scrape into the bowl of an electric mixer and begin to beat until icing lightens up to become a chocolate buttercream-type colour.
  1. Place one cake on a plate or cake disc and scrape 1/3 of icing onto the top. Spread over evenly, then place second cake on top. 
  1. Finally, spread remaining icing over sides and top. 
  1. It’s a good idea to chill your cake briefly prior to adding face pieces so the icing is firm and not too sticky (in case you need to reposition anything).

. . .

fun cake ideas: happy face cake - a brown face with black hair and rosy cheeks on a plate

To decorate:

  • 1 packet of liquorice flat sheets, or 1 large liquorice sheet
  • 2 ice-cream wafers

How to make your happy face:

  1. Trace around your cake tin onto a piece of plain paper. 
  1. Draw your friendly face—add hair, eyes, cheeks and a big smile.
  1. Once you’re happy with proportions, start cutting hair, eyes and your smile out of liquorice.
  1. Using a small bottle lid or a small cookie cutter, press firmly into wafers to make cheeks.
  1. Place all the face bits onto your cake. It can take a bit of trial and error to get your face looking right. 
  1. Cake will keep for 3–4 days in an airtight container in a cool spot (preferably not in the fridge). 

 . . .

A note on baking:

These recipes are designed to be baked in two 6-inch (or 20cm) round cake tins. Using two tins makes the baking process much faster. Plus, the cakes bake more evenly and will give you an easier product to work with for decorating.

If you don’t have two tins, they can be baked as one big cake and sliced across the middle afterwards. However, you will need to adjust cooking time (bake for longer). Once the suggested baking time is up, check on your cake every 5–10 minutes. When it looks ready, poke a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean, it’s done.



Fun cake ideas recipe and photography by Rachel Savage for Lunch Lady Issue 20.


For more fun cake ideas try our lemon cloud cake, sunflower hummingbird cake, or our yeah yeah marble cake with chocolate cream cheese icing.