Healthy Birthday Cake (Fruit-Sweetened!)

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This healthy cake recipe is naturally gluten-free and fruit-sweetened, making it perfect for a child’s first birthday party, or any occasion where you want to serve a healthier (but still delicious!) cake.

We recently celebrated my daughter’s first birthday, and this is the cake we served her. (We baked it as cupcakes for her birthday, without the frosting.)

We’ve chosen not to introduce grains to our children until they are two years old (you can read more about how I introduce baby food here), so my baby’s first birthday cake needed to be grain-free, while also being free of added sugar.

This date-sweetened cake is super-simple to prepare, with a moist and fluffy texture. It was inspired by my Paleo Banana Snack Cake, which is sweetened with only bananas, but I wanted this birthday cake to taste a little sweeter than that so that my pickier family members would enjoy it, too.

Paired with almond butter and protein-rich eggs, with no added oil, this cake is just about as healthy as it gets. You can use any other nut butter you like (the peanut butter version was also a BIG hit with my taste testers), including sunflower butter, which would make this cake nut-free to boot.

I’ve made this cake using both a food processor and blender, and I’m happy to report that you can use either one with good results. The blender breaks down the dates a little more smoothly, but the food processor does a perfectly acceptable job, too.

I love that this cake batter comes together in just one bowl (or blender pitcher) for a fast and easy cleanup!

If you do plan on serving this cake for a first birthday party, just keep in mind that you should introduce all of the ingredients to the child prior to the party to rule-out any allergies. (We introduced most common allergens, such as peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs, to our children before 11 or 12 months of age.)

I hope you’ll enjoy it the next time you need a gluten-free and fruit-sweetened cake in your life.

Slice of Healthy birthday cake with chocolate ganache
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5 from 44 votes

Healthy Birthday Cake (Fruit-Sweetened!)

This healthy cake is moist and fluffy, naturally sweetened with dates. It's gluten-free, grain-free, , dairy-free, and so delicious!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, dates, gluten free, grain free, kids
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 178kcal



  • Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease two 8-inch round pans with coconut oil. (I like to line them with parchment paper, too, to guarantee easy removal later.)
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the dates and water and blend until smooth. (If using the food processor, I like to start with only 1/4 cup of the water because it can splash so much. Add the rest of the water after the dates have broken down more.)
  • Add in the eggs, almond butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and blend again until a smooth batter is formed. 
  • Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until lightly golden, about 25 minutes. 
  • Cool completely before removing the cake from the pan, then frost with your favorite frosting and serve. This cake can be served and stored at room temperature for at least 2 days, but for best shelf life I recommend storing it in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to a week. 



Calories: 178kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 256mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1mg
Per Serving: Calories: 178, Fat: 12g, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 5g

Recipe Notes:

  • Feel free to use peanut butter, cashew butter, tahini, or sunflower seed butter in this recipe. Just keep in mind that the flavor will change depending on the ingredient you use. (And sunflower butter will turn your cake green, due to a chemical reaction with baking soda.)
  • If you don’t want to use dates, you can substitute 3 large ripe bananas. (about 1 3/4 cup mashed)
  • I don’t think this cake will work well without the eggs. (Flax eggs usually leave a gooey, underbaked texture in flourless baked goods.) I’ve been working on a vegan date-sweetened cake, too, so stay tuned for that version. There’s a great vegan chocolate cake in my cookbook, No Excuses Detox, along with a vegan chocolate buttercream recipe.
  • If you’d rather use maple syrup as your sweetener, check out the Applesauce Cupcake recipe I made for my son’s first birthday.

As always, if you make a substitution, please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried, so we can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: Do you have another go-to healthy cake recipe? I’m always looking for more inspiration!

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This recipe showed up just in time for my daughter’s first birthday party this coming weekend. I only have 9″ springform pans, how much more would I need to add to the recipe to achieve the same thickness so you think? For the banana substitution mentioned, do you still add the water? Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    I’d probably make an extra half-batch of the batter for two 9-inch pans. If you use the ripe bananas instead of dates you should omit the water!


This cake looks delicious! I’m curious what frosting you used on the cake. Do you have a fruit-sweetened frosting?


How long would I bake if I wanted to turn it into cupcakes like you did? Sounds yum!

    Megan Gilmore

    I think I baked them for 22-25 minutes (just watch for the tops to rise– they should get lightly golden.)

Louise De Leeuw

Love all your recipes, I really appreciate your work. Thank you for helping my family eat healthy in a simple, clear, affordable and easy put together recipes. I have been strugling for years to eat healthier and you made it possible with nice warm foods for winter. We live in Quebec and eating cold or raw foods is just not rea listic for us.thanks for this cake recipe but where is the Chocolate frosting recipe?


This looks like an epic recipe – thanks so much for sharing, people really have no excuse not to eat well if they follow your blog. I can’t seem to break up with my beloved combo of baked sweet spuds and nut butter long enough to enjoy a piece of cake (I just don’t care for baked goods anymore) but the link below is my mums favourite cake

And this is my fussy step-dad’s fave


Megan, thank you so much for sharing this recipe (and the chocolate frosting recipe)… and right on time for my birthday! It was so nice to eat a cake again (good gluten free cake recipes are hard to find)! My family and I LOVE it! THANK YOU! Please never stop creating recipes, the world needs you! 🙂


Is there a way to add cocoa or cacao to this to make a chocolate cake for my son’s 3rd birthday request? If so how much would you suggest?

Aubrey Phelps

What’s the resulting flavor of this cake? Like a yellow/vanilla cake?

    Megan Gilmore

    I think it tastes relatively neutral, like a sweetness that you can’t quite put your finger on. When I’ve made this cake with peanut butter, it tastes like a sweet peanut butter cake, but I think the almond butter is a little more neutral. I doesn’t have that buttery flavor that I associate with “yellow” cake.


Hi! Do you think Chia eggs would work here in place of regular eggs ?


Have a quiestion !Where would the texture come from ? only from eggs ?

    Megan Gilmore

    Nut butter + eggs creates a fluffy, flour-like texture. It’s like magic!


Hi! I’m new in ur blog and definitely will take a farther look!
One question, I know you wanted to keep it grain free, but do you think I could put some grains (whole wheat or out flour) so I could reduce the amount of eggs, or even use chia eggs? Maybe you have a recipe for something like this? Thanks!


This looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it! I’m just starting my voyage in “healthy” baked goods.

Quick couple of questions – first, does the calorie count include the frosting, or is it just for the cake? Second, do you think I could substitute the 3 eggs for 4 eggs whites and 1 whole egg? Thanks!!

Anne Maya Vester Nielsen

Hi 🙂
Im gonnago with this cake for my sons birthday, but i cant fibd your size of springpan? Im going to use a 28 cm springpan, should I x2 the recipe?

Thank you ♥️


I’ve looked at so many healthy cake recipes. This one is so simple yet so light, fluffy and moist.

We make it into cupcakes and freeze to use as a last minute snack. My daughter loves it


HI, In one of your recipes you said if we use peanut butter to lower oven temperature and increase baking time. Something about cancer causing stuff released from peanut butter. I am allergic to almonds, so I have to use peanut butter. Could you please advise.
Thanks, Laura 😉


Yesterday l made this cake with chocolate mousse recipe. It was come out awesome!!! How many times l can say to thank to you for this cake recipe and chocolate mousse recipe. Even l made homemade almond butter myslf. It was still awesome. Also l use jelatin inside of the chocolate mousse for stabile.l add only 4tsp powder jelatil. (Make sure jelatin with hot water first than you add inside of the mousse) still was testy and health .
Big thank you again. :))

    PRatibha Pandhare

    Hey good to know your own almond butter as well. Can you share the recipe for almond butter and wondering if u added coco powder in the cake batter as well?

Erika du Toit

O my goodness this is DIVINE!!! I baked it in cupcakes to test for my daughter’s coming up birthday party and the whole family absolutely LOVED it.I must admit I was a bit skeptical, but it came out 100% (and I am really not an expert at baking).

Thanks so much for this recipe.

    Amy Jenulis

    How long should I cook cupcakes for?

Helen shepard

Can I ask what recipe you used for the centre? Many thanks

Celina Bartlett


can i use regular pitted dates instead of medjool?

thanks! 🙂


This cake is magical one wonderful. I made it for my birthday over the weekend, and my family and I loved it. The best part is that I didn’t feel awful like I doafter eating a traditional bakery cake. Yahoo! I used the chocolate icing recipe from your cookbook (the one with sweet potatoes). I’m going to make another one for my daughter’s birthday.


Phenomenal…I wouldn’t have believed it was flouress unless I made it. It was a hit in my house and the first healthy cake we’ve ever had.Thank you very much.


Can I substitute 3 eggs for flax eggs?

    Megan Gilmore

    It won’t rise, and the results will probably be gooey with flax eggs. Arrowroot is a better vegan substitute with grain-free baking, but I haven’t tested that with this recipe yet.

Hannah Fridley

I’d like to make this for my daughter’s smash cake, so I don’t need 12. Servings…any ideas for making it into a smaller cake?

    Megan Gilmore

    Maybe cut the recipe in half and use a 6-inch pan? I haven’t tested that myself, so it’s just a guesstimate. Hope she enjoys it!


For nut/seed allergies how much oil would be used & could you use a milk alternative instead of water


DO you think just egg wh i yes would work ? I am allergic to egg yolks .

    Megan Gilmore

    Probably. I think you have to use 2 egg whites to replace a whole egg.

Isabella Jaras parker

love your date cake!


This is a delicious cake. I added pumpkin spice to mine and gave it a great fall cake taste.


So excited to make this for my daughters bday! Can I make it a couple days in advance? Or would I need to freeze it?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I think it would store fine in the fridge for a couple days! You might want to keep it tightly wrapped so it doesn’t absorb any other smells/flavors in your fridge, though. 😉


What do you recommend using for a healthy sugar free frosting?


This was the best gluten free date sweetened cake I have made. I cooked it in my instant pot for 37 minutes, then opened it after a natural release of 17 min. I used a 7 cup glas pyrex which I covered with a metal plate. I used a low trivet and about one cup of water. Also, rather than use almond butter, I used a bag of silthered almonds which was about 1 and 2/3 cup. I let the dates soak in water and then food processed everything together. Thank you so much. It tastes like a caramel cake.


5 stars!

Eman Ottallah

Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1 tsp instant coffe and these made the most delicious chocolate cupcakes EVER. THANK YOU!!


How many cupcakes does this recipe yield?


Can I use pitted dates? If so, will I still have to add the water. This is my first time using dates. Thank you!


Hi Megan: My daughter and I are making this cake for babies first birthday.
We were wondering how we tell the cake is done? Do we just let it get the golden color?
This is our first try at using no flour.
Thank you!

    Megan Gilmore

    I usually touch the center of the cake with my finger to see if it feels mushy/wet or firm. When it’s firm, it’s done!


Hi, what is the sugar content in this recipe?


Hi! Would you be able to freeze the layers a few days (weeks?) ahead of time and then frost on the day of serving? Thank you!


AMAZING cake!!
This is THE cake I have been scavenging the internet for!
However I have a question, can I subtitute the nut butter for regular butter.
Also can I bake it in just one cake pan not two? If so, would the baking time change.


AMAZING recipe!! Thank you.
However I have a question regarding the nut butter. Can I use regular butter?
Also I would like to make the cake in one pan, it is possible? If yes, then would the baking time change?


    Can I use almond meal and regular butter instead of almond butter? If so, how much would I use? Thank you.


AMAZING recipe, thank you!! 😊
A question: is it possible to use olive oil spread instead of the nut butter?
Also, is it possible to bake this in one cake pan not two and would the baking time change?


However, I have a question, can I use olive spread/regular butter instead of the nut butter? If so, will the texture change?
Also, can I bake this as one cake rather than 2 separate cakes?
Thank you for taking time to answer my questions. 😊

    Megan Gilmore

    The almond butter is replacing flour in this recipe, so the fiber is necessary for texture. I don’t think butter or olive oil spread would work as a flour substitute in the same way. If following the recipe as written, I think you could bake it as one cake in a 9×13 pan if you like.


And the chocolate frosting? Is ot sugar free also? You did not mention it, just ”add your favourite frosting”?


Hi, do you have a healthy icing recipe too by any chance?


Cake turned out perfect. I used 6 Tbsp of egg whites from a carton because I ran out of eggs. Both my children (4 & 1) loved it! I can’t wait it make it for family. I would post a pic if I could. I am going to try it with the bananas next


Hi, just wondering what the ratio for the chocolate chips and coconut milk is for the frosting you show in the recipe video? Thanks!


Holy macaronis. I own a cake business and a customer wanted a smash cake made with no refined sugar. I was going to make my usual date, applesauce chocolate recipe but she wanted a more neutral flavor. I found your recipe and though…no way. Just those ingredients???!
ANd YES way!! EVERYBODY that ate my test cakes were flabbergasted. It has an amazing crumb and moisture to it and takes deeeeeelicious. I used vanilla almond butter :). Still added the Penney’s vanilla.
Thank you so much!!!!


I’ve made this a couple times and it was surprisingly delicious! However, I never have enough batter to use 2 8 inch pans, but just one. Using one pan gets me about the thickness of one layer shown in your picture, if that. Has anyone else experienced this?


    How long and how much for a 6” pan?

    Meredith Grasso

    Tiffany – yes! When I use this delicious cake recipe, I make it in 2 6” pans.

    I double it if someone wants a three-layer 6” cake and make 6 cupcakes with the leftover batter.

    Hope this helps!


      Great, thanks Meredith! 🙂


      Made this once and want to try it again! How should I adapt the recipe if I want 2 layers of cake like you pictured, but only have 6-inch tins? Thanks!


DELICIOUS!!! Made just one layer in a small lasagna pan.


LOVE THIS! Thank you for sharing such a healthy and delicious recipe. The birthday girl loved it 🙂


My son turns 2 this week and I made this the other day as a trial run. It is soooooo delicious!!! I am amazed at how good it tasted. Thank you thank you!!

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