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This healthy birthday 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.

healthy birthday cake sliced with chocolate frosting on top.

Why You’ll Love It

This healthy cake is grain-free, so it’s made with no flour or refined sugar. It’s perfect for those who are following a Paleo or gluten-free diet, or if you have a child who hasn’t been introduced to grains yet. (We waited until 2 years old to give our kids grains, so this is what we used for a first birthday cake.)

This date-sweetened cake is super-simple to prepare, with a moist and fluffy texture.

It’s 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.

Ingredients You’ll Need

healthy birthday cake ingredients in glass bowls.

What’s in a healthy birthday cake? 

  • Medjool dates
  • Almond butter
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Bakingsoda
  • Salt

That’s it! There’s no added oil in this recipe, so it’s just about as healthy as it gets.

You can use any other nut or seed butter you like (the peanut butter version was also a BIG hit with my taste testers), including sunflower butter, which would make this dessert nut-free to boot.

How to Make the Best Healthy Cake

1. Blend. Add the eggs, dates, and water to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. (If using a food processor, you may want to just start with the dates and 1/4 cup of water first, then add in the eggs once the dates have broken down a bit more, to cut down on splashing.)

Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender or food processor, and blend again to create a smooth cake batter.

Alternatively, you can pour the blended date mixture into a large bowl, and then stir in the almond butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. This is a good idea if you think your blender can’t handle blending a very thick batter.

cake batter blended together in a blender pitcher.

2. Bake. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and use cooking spray or coconut oil to lightly grease two 8-inch pans or three 6-inch pans, depending on how many layers you’d like to make.

You can add a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of each pan, if you’d like to guarantee they will remove easily later. (The oil will hold the parchment paper in place.)

Divide the batter evenly into the pans, then bake until lightly golden on top, about 25 to 30 minutes.

cake batter added to 3 lined pans.

3. Decorate. Let the cake layers cool completely in the pan, and make a frosting while you wait. (See frosting ideas below!)

When the cake layers are cool, you can spread the frosting on each layer and add any extra decorations you like, such as sprinkles or fresh berries.

finished cake cooling in the 3 cake pans.

Serve at room temperature, for the best flavor and texture, but keep it tightly covered in the fridge when you are ready to store it.

This healthy cake should keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Safety Tip: 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.)

layers stacked and frosting with chocolate frosting.

Frosting Ideas

Need a healthy frosting idea? Try one of these!

  • 2-Ingredient Vegan Ganache. This recipe is made with dark chocolate and coconut milk, for the easiest frosting ever. Make this before the cake, so it has time to chill in the fridge while the cake bakes. Note: I made a double-batch of this recipe for the cake photos here. I wanted to have plenty of frosting for all 3 layers, but I did have about a 1/2 cup of frosting leftover after finishing this cake, so making a full double batch might not be necessary.
  • Vegan Chocolate Frosting. This frosting is made with no refined sugar, and comes together quickly in a blender.
  • Coconut whipped cream. Another easy option, this whipped cream is dairy-free and naturally sweet. It’s what I use a first birthday cake, to keep it low in sugar.
  • Cream Cheese Frosting. This frosting is actually made with white sweet potatoes, but reminds me of a cream cheese frosting!
  • Purple sweet potato frosting. If you can find purple sweet potatoes in your local grocery store, they make a beautiful frosting without using any food coloring. Add in some almond extract for an amazing flavor!
  • Greek yogurt. For a low-sugar dessert, this is another option, which you can top with fresh berries.

However you decorate it, I hope you’ll enjoy this healthy birthday cake the next time you need a gluten-free and fruit-sweetened cake in your life.

slice of healthy cake from the side to see all 3 layers.

More Healthy Cake Recipes

 

chocolate cake from the side with a slice about to be removed.

healthy birthday cake sliced with chocolate frosting on top.

Healthy Birthday Cake

4.92 from 62 votes
This healthy cake is moist and fluffy, naturally sweetened with dates. It's gluten-free, grain-free, , dairy-free, and so delicious!
prep10 mins cook25 mins total35 mins
Servings:12

Ingredients
 
 

Optional Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease two 8-inch round pans, or three 6-inch pans, with coconut oil or spray oil. (I like to line them with parchment paper, too, to guarantee easy removal later.)
  • In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, dates, and water and blend until smooth. (If using the food processor, I like to start with only the water because it can splash so much. Add in the eggs once the dates have broken down a bit, to avoid splashing.)
  • Add in the almond butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and blend again until a smooth batter is formed. Alternatively, you can pour the blended date mixture into a large bowl, then stir in the other ingredients, so your blender won't have to blend anything too thick.
  • Divide the batter among the two or three prepared pans, and smooth the top with a spatula. (They won't be very full, but will rise as they bake.) Bake until lightly golden on top, about 25 minutes to 30 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. 

Video

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 of 12 slices. This does not include frosting, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
You can swap the dates for 3 very ripe bananas instead. And you can use peanut butter instead of almond butter, if you like. For more tips and frosting ideas, see the full post above.
This recipe has been updated to use less water. The original called for a 1/2 cup of water instead of a 1/4 cup. Using less water prevents the middles from sinking as the cake cools. 

Nutrition

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
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, dates, gluten free, grain free, kids

If you try this healthy birthday cake recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!

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Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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Comments

  1. I have been looking for a birthday cake but when they write no sugar it means brown sugar, diet sugar, maple syrup etc. You have given what you have written. Thank you so much 😊😊😊

  2. This cake is amazing!!! I have been baking paleo and keto treats for over 10 years and this recipe is the best of the best! I made cupcakes the first time and plan to make a 6-inch 3 layer soon, possibly as a spice cake. The cupcakes stayed moist for several days, even without frosting. Thank you!

  3. I searched and searched for a cake recipe for my daughter in law’s birthday. She has many intolerances, gluten all dairy, ttropical fruit and a dislike of cane sugar. She dislikes non dairy fats and ‘butters’ This cake was great! I made frosting with
    Avocado, cocoa and maple syrup. Berries were the the perfect decoration. All the family loved the cake, even teenage boys who love ‘proper’ cake.

  4. I didn’t believe that these ingredients could make cake…but I wanted it to be true, so I made it! It made cake!!! Oh my goodness this is AMAZING. I am processed sugar free, dairy free & gluten free for health reasons. It is an absolute dream to discover this recipe. THANK YOU!

  5. Hi I Want to make this cake with bananas. You say 3 bananas and omit the water. What weight should the bananas be? Here there are different sizes of banana to choose from. Thanks. Also the 227 g pitted dates for healthy chocolate icing. Does that mean you remove the stones from 227g of dates or simply use 227 g pitted dates? many thanks

    1. Hi! I weigh my dates after removing the pits. I usually plan for medium bananas, about 7-inches in length, which weigh about 118 grams each. You can see the weight of my Banana Snack Cake for reference, as it’s a similar recipe sweetened with bananas.

  6. I have been making this recipe for years and it’s definitely the best fruit sweetened cake recipe, and I’ve tried many!

    If I want to make a lower fat version so you think I can swap some nut butter for apple sauce?

  7. Love this recipe. We use it as a snack cake and don’t add frosting. We double it and cook in two 9 inch cake pans and it cooks so well. Thank you for sharing this:)