We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday this week! A first birthday is such a special celebration of growth, development, milestones, parenthood, breastfeeding (if we chose to), and learning (on both ends!).
I wanted to share Maeve’s birthday cake! After researching a couple recipes for inspiration, I made my own rendition on a ‘real food’ birthday cake! It was a four-layer, three-inch cake 😍 No gluten, grains, sugar, or dairy, but full of nutrient-dense, real food ingredients.
There’s no nutritional rationale for giving babies foods with added sugar, such as juice, sweetened yogurt, snacks, regular cake, ice cream, soda, etc. In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to support not giving babies foods with added sugar. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding added sugars before the age of two,1 and the American Academy of Pediatrics states that it’s optimal to avoid giving fruit juice to infants under twelve months.2 Introducing foods with added sugar early in life can lead to an increased preference for sweet-tasting foods, displacing other nutritionally-dense foods that provide important micronutrients. Consumption of added sugars is linked to asthma, dental cavities, obesity, higher blood pressure, and unfavorable blood lipid profiles.3
Considering this, I wanted Maeve to be able to take part in a traditional ‘birthday cake,’ but made from healthful ingredients and with no sugar, gluten, or dairy. Conventional sweets are not a regular part of our lifestyle, so it wouldn’t have been fitting to give Maeve a conventional birthday cake. I think each family should choose what works well for them!
– 1 medium organic sweet potato, baked, cooled, peeled, and mashed
– 1/4 C organic coconut flour
– 2 T grass-fed ghee
– 1/2 t baking soda
– 1/2 t organic cinnamon
– 1/2 t organic pumpkin spice
– 1 pasture-raised egg
– Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer, then form into four uniform three-inch cake layers on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F.
– 1 medium organic ripe avocado
– 1/4 C organic canned coconut milk (gum-free)
– 1/4 C organic cacao powder
– 2 t organic virgin coconut oil (softened)
– Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer. Wait to assemble & frost cake until cake layers have completely cooled. I refrigerated the cake layers first so they’d be firm for frosting!
– Cake should be stored in the refrigerator.
- Vos, M.B., Kaar, J.L., Welsh, J.A., et. al. Added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in children: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. (2017);135(19):1017-1034.
- Heyman, M.B. and Abrams, S.A. Fruit juice in infants, children, and adolescents: current recommendations. Pediatrics. (2017);139(6).
- Herrick, K.A., Fryar, C.D., Hamner, H.C., et. al. Added sugars intake among US infants and toddlers. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2020);120(1).