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