Sugar-free, oil-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, fruit-filled, paleo — whatever your definition of a healthy birthday cake (and smash cake) fit for a first birthday, we’ve found a recipe you’ll love. Bonus: They taste good enough for grown-up guests. Read on for 20 first birthday ideas for healthy cakes that are both smashing and smashable.
Blueberry Banana Ombre Cake
Feast your eyes on this! This sugar-free cake, from Jasmin Shannon's Lemons for Days blog, is a stunner both in looks and health profile. The banana cake replaces sugar with maple syrup and packs in almond meal, flax meal and shredded coconut. The filling is a chocolate ganache made with avocado, cacao powder and almond milk and sweetened with medjool dates. It's all topped with a blueberry cream that includes cashews and coconut milk. Check out her Instagram for more recipes and health & wellness content.
Coconut and Raspberry Smash Cake
Dairy free and gluten free, this coconut and raspberry smash cake from Healthy Little Foodies replaces refined sugars and sweeteners with dates, bananas and berries. It also sneaks in chia seeds, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, iron and calcium. Whipping coconut cream with vanilla makes a rich, tasty frosting.
Healthy Cinnamon-Spiced Smash Cake
Organic cinnamon applesauce is the secret ingredient that adds sweet spice to both the cake and frosting in Oh Everything Handmade's healthy first birthday cake. The applesauce and bananas make added sugar unnecessary. The cake also features whole wheat flour and egg whites, and the frosting base is cream cheese.
Banana Smash Cake With Blueberry Frosting
Free of butter and refined sugar, this cake is made from whole wheat flour and gets its sweetness from banana, maple syrup and applesauce. And you can thank frozen blueberries and heavy whipping cream for the lovely lavender color. The cake is sized for two 4.5-inch spring form pans, but alternately could make about seven cupcakes. Get the recipe at Kristine's Kitchen.
Sugar Free Carrot & Date Cake
Another cake without refined sugar, this one plenty of sweetness from good-for-you ingredients such as dates, raisins and shredded coconut. Get the full scoop on this carroty concoction at Things for Boys. The recipe is perfect for a 6-inch round cake with enough left over to make a few cupcakes for immediate family.
Baby-Friendly Cake, Four Variations
For kids with food allergies, this cake from Baby Led Weaning Ideas has you covered. In addition to a vanilla cake recipe that's solely free of sugar, there's a variation that's also free of dairy, eggs, gluten, soy and nuts. Both can be modified to include strawberries or chocolate. And there are lots of tips and suggestions (and even a video!) to help you bake the perfect cake.
Healthy PB & C Cake
Who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate? This healthy cake from Hello Bee is made with whole spelt flour (you can also use whole wheat) and has a yummy, fudgy flavor despite not having added refined sugar. The frosting is made from cream cheese, honey and peanut butter, and you can sub Greek yogurt for the cream cheese (the recipe tells you how).
Honey Oat Smash Cake
Free of gluten and refined sugar, this cake is super moist and has a Greek yogurt-based frosting. Hearty oat flour and sweet honey come together in a flavorful cake with a fresh fruit garnish that your child might be so busy nibbling on, they'll forget they're supposed to be smashing the cake. Find the recipe at Yummy Toddler Food; Sarah Crowder from Punctuated with Food created this cake.
Healthier Chocolate Cake
No added sugar, butter or oil, but there is chocolate! This moist, rich cake from The First Year get its crowd-pleasing taste from chocolate chips, bananas, Greek yogurt, honey, peanut butter and cocoa powder. Party on, chocolate lovers!
Paleo First Birthday Cupcakes
These paleo cupcakes are free of oil, dairy, grains and nuts but packed full of fiber-rich coconut flour. Detoxinista dreamed up these applesauce cupcakes topped with unsweetened coconut whipped cream that party guests young and old will enjoy.
Vegan First Birthday Cake
This chocolate vegan cake with vanilla frosting from Kitchen of Eatin' is free of dairy and eggs but full of flavor. Natural ingredients like unsweetened almond milk, apple cider vinegar, evaporated cane juice, coconut oil and unsweetened cocoa powder make the cake tasty and rich. The frosting isn't sugar-free, but it is healthier thanks to coconut milk and coconut oil.
Fruit Tower Birthday Cake
Your baby will marvel over the beautiful colors in this healthy, no-bake cake alternative. Use your child's favorite fruits for a sensational, and Pinterest-ready, dessert. Catherine over at Weelicious shows you how to make this Fruit Tower Cake.
Apple Spice Cake with Maple
Loaded with 2 cups of chopped apples, this Apple Spice Cake has no processed sugar and is sweetened with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. To create the gorgeous ombre sugar-free frosting, color your cream cheese frosting with varying amounts of beets and strawberry puree.
If cake decorating isn't your specialty, look no further than a Cheerios box for a fun decor idea your child will love. The whole-grain oats cereal has much less sugar then traditional candy toppings, and it lends a whimsical touch to your cake. Try this yummy Sugar Free Cake with cream cheese frosting from Stacey at the blog Posh in Progress. Then open a box of Cheerios and get creative!
Cashew Cream Frosting Cake
Tickle your tot's sweet tooth with this low-sugar carrot cake with cashew cream frosting from Becky at the Vintage Mixer. The tasty frosting is made by blending raw cashews, coconut oil, honey and vanilla and is perfect for smearing all over your happy baby's face.
Blueberry Velvet Cake
Blueberry muffins meet birthday cake! If your child is a blueberry fan, make this beautiful Blueberry Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, courtesy of Tanya at I Heart Chocolate Milk. Use a sugar substitute to make a sugar-free version of this recipe. And if you don't want to use artificial coloring, add a little blueberry puree to your cake batter or choose an all-natural food coloring.
Banana Cake with Greek Yogurt Frosting
Familiar flavors create a cake your child will love to nibble while smashing. This banana cake from Sarah at Hello Bee combines bananas with maple syrup and tops them with a sugar-free Greek yogurt frosting sweetened with honey. Color your yogurt frosting with a fruit puree of your choice.
Chocolate Beet Layer Cake
Chocolate and beets? Beets and Chocolate? Believe it or not, this Chocolate Beet Sugar Free Cake from the Smart Cookie blog tastes delicious! Dark cocoa, beets, applesauce and date paste create a rich, fudgy flavor that will make you forget box cake mix. Top with the recipe's chocolate banana frosting that uses tofu and nut butter for rich texture.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Pound Cake
Pound cake is the perfect choice for your smash cake (get it?). This Vanilla Pound Cake from Naturally Sweet Recipes is free of gluten and dairy but full of vanilla, protein and healthy fats. The ombre frosting is colored pink with strawberries. This recipe makes enough for a smash cake plus a larger cake for grown-ups.
Dairy-Free Smash Cake with Coconut Whip Spinach Frosting
This egg-free, vegan smash cake from blogger Tatiana Amico combines spelt flour, maple syrup and flax eggs, and its awesomely green frosting is made with coconut milk and spinach. Agar agar powder is the frosting's secret ingredient, giving it a gelatin consistency with natural vegetable proteins. This is a cool vegan option that looks as good as it tastes!
Note: Babies under age one shouldn’t consume honey. So if you choose a recipe that uses honey, don’t serve it to younger guests.
Share your healthy first birthday cake recipes in the comments below!
— Julie Seguss & Ashly Grzyb