Healthy Birthday Cake (Fruit-Sweetened!)

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.)

As you may recall, 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.

5 from 2 votes
Print
Healthy Birthday Cake (Fruit-Sweetened!)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This healthy cake is moist and fluffy, naturally sweetened with dates. It's gluten-free, grain-free, , dairy-free, and so delicious!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12
Calories: 178 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. 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.)

  2. 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.)

  3. Add in the eggs, almond butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and blend again until a smooth batter is formed. 

  4. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until lightly golden, about 25 minutes. 

  5. 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. 

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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Comments

JessiCa

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!

G

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

Laura

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?

Rachel

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

http://www.realsoupfortherealsoul.com/?p=2322

And this is my fussy step-dad’s fave

http://www.realsoupfortherealsoul.com/?p=2522

Amelie

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! 🙂

Valiree

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.

Alana

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

Aida

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!

Dafna

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!

Andy

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!!

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