Baby's First Birthday CakeSep 03, 2013
WOW! It’s been an entire year already. A year that seems to have gone by much too quickly, yet I can’t even remember what it was like before our precious little Skyla entered our life. It was an amazing year full of ups and downs, with plenty of new experiences, some good nights, some not-so-good ones, but most of all, a year filled with wonderful memories and love. I am completely and unconditionally in love with this amazing little girl. I can’t believe my baby girl is officially a toddler. Skyla is ONE!
Considering I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, it’s a no-brainer that my daughter’s first birthday was going to have a healthy twist to it! I was really torn on whether or not to throw Skyla a big first birthday party. I reasoned that it was a lot of work (especially while also planning a wedding and managing a company) and that Skyla wouldn’t even remember the experience. In the end I decided that this is the only time my first baby will turn one, and that it’s a big milestone mommy and daddy wanted to celebrate with all the people who love her (even grandma on Skype from Canada!). And hopefully she’ll look back at the photos one day and appreciate the fun fiesta we put on for her!
We gathered a group of Skyla’s close family, friends and playgroup buddies for a casual birthday gathering – Rainbow style! For those who know me well, you know I love being crafty and creative so a good theme was necessary. Since Skyla loves all her colorful toys and we live in the land of Carnival, a Rainbow Party was perfect.
Skyla’s Rainbow Party menu consisted of vegetarian chili with toppings (shredded lettuce, hormone-free cheese, gluten-free nacho chips and avocado), assorted veggie cups with homemade hummus and dill veggie dip, fruit kebabs, sweet melon salad, mini grain-free cupcakes (topped with vegan frosting and fruit) and of course, THE healthy grain-free birthday cake (also topped with vegan frosting and fruit).
I have to say, the food was a big hit as everyone came for seconds and even thirds! Even the babies were enjoying their healthy treats! Skyla wanted her carrots and hummus versus birthday cake! She is definitely her “mommy’s daughter” when it comes to food! ;)
I have to admit, when it came to dessert, I had to learn from trial and error with a bit of experimenting in the kitchen! Let’s just say mommy and daddy ate a LOT of cake and cupcakes the week before the birthday party. Then I finally came up with the perfect combination of ingredients to make a healthy yet tasty cake. I was excited for Skyla to “smash” her first birthday cake (even though she decided to eat it like a little princess), but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of filling her with refined sugar and gluten for the sake of tradition and photos! I’m not naive enough to think that Skyla will never eat sugar, nor would I want her to live such a restricted life (no, she won’t live in a bubble)! But at this age, she gets just as much enjoyment out of ripe banana as she would from a cake loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, so I’d rather wait to expose her to the bad stuff when she is actually asking for it (and when she is old enough to understand the difference between healthy and non-healthy choices). Besides, as a nutritionist, I was up for the challenge of coming up with a delicious alternative that I could share with my fellow healthy mama friends and clients! I decided that I wanted to create something that everyone at the party could enjoy – not just Skyla – so it couldn’t be (in the words of daddy Stephan) too “weird”.
Let me start off by confessing that baking is definitely NOT my expertise. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time on Google before diving into the kitchen! I don’t do it very often because I much prefer to cook savoury meals and healthy deserts (a.k.a not cake or cup cakes), where I can just toss in, or round off the measurement of the ingredients. I tend to cook by taste – adding a bit more of a herb or spice if the dish needs it. Baking is an entirely different story – you really can’t assess whether you have been successful until the final product has come out of the oven. That’s when you truly know if your “cake” will come out hard and flat as a pancake, or light, fluffy and eatable. I think I ate more baked goods in the week leading up to Skyla’s birthday than I EVER have. We still have some in our freezer actually! Luckily they were full of healthy whole food ingredients.
After a few different variations of a recipe I found and altered many times, I was successful! I created a cake (and cupcakes) sweet enough to put frosting on, but also tasty enough to eat on its own or topped with almond butter for breakfast. It is suitable for baby as well as mommy and daddy.
So without further ado, the recipe:
SKYLA’S FIRST BIRTHDAY CAKE (OR CUPCAKES!)
This healthy yet delicious baby's first birthday cake is dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and naturally sweetened, specifically for a baby’s sensitive palate (and to avoid a sugar rush). It is made with whole food ingredients that I feel good about letting my baby dig in to. I decided to use coconut flour as the main ingredient because it’s gluten-free, and we live in the Caribbean! It is light, fluffy and absolutely delicious, with Coconut Cream Frosting (below) or without. (You may be thinking, “but coconut flour is so expensive!”. Fear not! The recipe only uses a bit of flour.)
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Yield: Approx. 16 mini cupcakes or one mini-cake
*Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (preferably homemade: pumpkin puree can also be used as a local alternative)
1/4 cup date paste (softened and blended dates)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp natural vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, mix the coconut flour and baking soda together. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients, making sure the eggs are well beaten. Using a hand mixer (or electric), blend all the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is well mixed and smooth. Grease a cake pan or muffin tray with virgin coconut oil. Pour the batter into your cake pan or muffin tray. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until spongy to the touch and golden brown. Let your cake or mini cupcakes cool. Then frost, decorate and enjoy!
COCONUT CREAM FROSTING
I brain stormed and experimented quite a bit to create the perfect white frosting that doesn’t include powdered and refined sugar or dairy. After a few attempts, this one won! It is creamy, the texture is perfect, and the taste is incredible. This frosting is dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo friendly, vegan and naturally sweetened. It is the perfect go-to recipe for all types of desserts that need frosting. I may have even eaten a bit by the spoon full…shhh!
1 cup full fat coconut milk (homemade, or canned and organic)
1 cup pure maple syrup
Pinch unrefined sea salt (I prefer Himalayan)
1-2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract (optional: do not use if you want very white frosting)
5 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
Tip: To make your frosting pink or blue, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of raspberry or wild blueberry puree.
On the stove, add the coconut milk, maple syrup, and sea salt to a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes. While the mixture is simmering, combine arrowroot and water in a small bowl to make a paste. Once 10 minutes has gone, add your arrowroot paste into the saucepan and whisk vigorously to combine. Quickly bring to a boil, until bubbly and shiny. Remove from heat. Add coconut oil to the mixture very slowly, blending either with a whisk, or an electric mixer. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours (best left overnight). Remove from the refrigerator, and blend again until light and fluffy. Frost immediately, or store in the refrigerator.
Note: Due to the coconut oil in this recipe, this frosting does not hold up well in high temperatures. If you are making this ahead of time, I would spread it on cupcakes or cake immediately after whipping, store in refrigerator, and remove cupcakes or cake about and hour before serving. This will allow frosting to soften up a bit, but not become overly warm and melt.
Do these taste like what SOME people call “normal” cupcakes? No they do not, but they aren’t supposed to! I think it’s important to appreciate a subtle sweetness in food. Most people’s taste buds are accustomed to such large amounts of sugar, that fruit doesn’t even taste sweet enough to them anymore. That is a shame! Especially if we are talking about toddlers! Trust me, try cutting out sugar for a few weeks and you will start to see how amazingly sweet and delicious some watermelon can taste (especially local one).
We served the healthy first birthday cake to Skyla along with the mini cupcakes to all our guests. We decided to make Skyla her own personal mini-cake instead of just giving her a mini cupcake, or trying to get to the cake before she “smashed” it.
I’m so glad we decided to throw a party for Skyla. Everyone had a great time and I think we put on a party she will be proud of. Although there were a few times I just felt like smashing and throwing out the cake during my baking adventures, I’m so glad I stuck it out so that Skyla could mark her first year of life with a delicious treat made from whole food ingredients.
Great health is all mommy or daddy could hope for their little bundle of join. If you enjoyed this post, check out our complete Baby Food Introduction Program to assist you on this exciting journey. Your dedication towards feeding baby and baby’s health will pay off in the end.
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