I’m friends with quite a lot of people studying to be “real doctors”; the kind who’ll work in hospitals when they’re done. Two of those said friends had their birthdays recently, and to go with a theme of medicine I made them this combined pill-shaped cake filled with M&Ms that look like the innards of a capsule. I even wrote them little “prescriptions” that described their medicine as a “happy birthday pill 1000g cake” and instructed them to “eat once yearly” to treat the condition of aging.


For this cake I used my moist vanilla cake recipe, some buttercream frosting (which I modified to make that really red-red colour) and some decorative goodies; all of which I will describe in detail. The cake is totally lactose free, and even though I used M&Ms for the filling you can easily use something lactose free for that too. It’s a really cool cake for the nerdy health student in your life… or anyone else at all really. Cake is the best kind of medicine!


Moist Vanilla Loaf Cake


  • 125g butter/margarine (I always use lactose and dairy free Nuttlex Buttery)
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk (I normally use lactose free Zymil, but this week I had a very special lactose free milk from a local dairy that is just my absolute favourite)
  • 3 tsp vanilla essence

White Buttercream Frosting

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs milk

Red Buttercream Frosting

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp red food colouring
  • 4 tbs butter

Method (the fun part)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C or 355°F, then line a loaf tin – mine is 10 x 20 cm (4″ x 8″)
  2. The vanilla cake is pretty easy: pour everything into a bowl, and mix until combined with a hand-held electric mixer – be careful not to overmix.
  3. Pour the batter into your pre-lined tray and pop it into your preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.
  4. Sit for 5 minutes, then carefully pull the cake out and leave it to cool completely on the cooling rack.
  5. Carve away the edges and make it look a little more pill shaped!
  6. Carve a hole in the middle (being super careful not to go all the way through). Cut a little “lid” for the hole from the top of the cake that you removed
  7. Fill with goodies! I used raspberry M&Ms – which of course, are not lactose free… but my friends ate them while I just enjoy the cake – and a few edible decorative balls. You could use pretty much anything you like, I just thought that the pink & white raspberry M&Ms looked really good with my final design idea.
  8. Make the white buttercream frosting by beating together all ingredients for about 5 minutes or until really light and fluffy! If you’ve got a mixmaster then great, otherwise use a hand-held mixer and just think of the arm workout you’re getting 🙂
  9. Use a bit of the frosting to put your lid over your goody-hole
  10. Ice one half of the cake using the white buttercream. My technique is usually to lay it on thick, then use the flat side of the knife to scrape it off and make it look fairly smooth. As you can see, I didn’t go for neat with this half – I just got the job done.
  11. Make the red buttercream frosting by blending together all ingredients until fluffy. It should work out quite dark with the recipe I’ve provided, but you can always add a little more colouring if you want it darker. Another way is to leave it sit in the fridge for a while before using it.
  12. Ice the second half of the cake with the red buttercream frosting. This time, definitely go for neat. If you’re struggling to get the icing looking smooth, sometimes slightly wetting the knife helps it not stick together and roll off while you try to smooth it.
  13. Ta-da! Done! Well… almost. I wanted to personalize this cake a little further by writing my friends’ names on it. One half for each friend. I did this with some decorative edible balls, mostly because I do not currently have my piping set.
  14. Serve with a fake prescription and instructions to cut through the middle of the cake first!
  15. Take on an empty stomach.

Oh my gosh I love this cake. I had so much fun making it, and my friends certainly seemed to have fun eating it. I can’t wait until there’s a few more birthdays… though I have no idea what medicine-themed cake I can come up with next. I really should have befriended more engineers…. a circuit board cake would be great fun.

As per usual, let me know if you have any questions about this creation!