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.
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
What’s in a healthy birthday cake?
- Medjool dates
- Almond butter
- Vanilla extract
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
More Healthy Cake Recipes
- Almond Flour Chocolate Cake. This cake is made with almond flour and sweetened with maple syrup, if you want an alternative cake. I’ve also tested it as cupcakes for you!
- Coconut Flour Cupcakes. If you want a dessert without tree nuts, this is another delicious treat.
- Almond Flour Cake. A vanilla version of my popular chocolate cake!
- Flourless Chocolate Cake. Made with no flour, this chocolate cake is ultra-rich and not too difficult to make.
- Vegan Chocolate Tart. This is perfect for those who need an impressive dessert, without using eggs or dairy.
- Oat Flour Flag Cake. This nut-free cake is naturally gluten-free and turns out impressively fluffy.
Healthy Birthday Cake
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup Medjool dates , pitted (8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 batch healthy chocolate frosting (or any other variety you like)
- 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.
If you try this healthy birthday cake recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!
Questions and Reviews
Love all your recipes.. I really appreciate your work. keep it up.
I did this cake for my husband birthday and was a hit! All family enjoyed, thank you
This has become my go-to birthday cake recipe- so easy and crazy delicious. Thank you Detoxinista!!! You are blessed, thank you for sharing the fruit of your blessings!!
Holy cow, this cake is DELICIOUS!! I have chronic Lyme disease and your recipes have been a God send to help me satisfy my sweet tooth in a more natural way. This cake does not disappoint!! I made it for myself for my birthday and everyone loved it. Thanks for another awesome recipe. This will be my go-to cake from now on.
I had no trouble making this healthy cake. I will enjoy celebrating my husband’s birthday. It will be such a healthy experience with my family. Thank you for making this awesome cake recipe.
Thank you Detoxinista for making this cake recipe I will always make cakes from your website. I made this cake and it tasted so fresh, good,& amazing! I will make all these cakes for my family’s birthdays. I will give you a hundred out of five rating. Thank you for making my family’s birthdays amazing.
Thanks for this recipe! My wife doesn’t eat processed sugar so I made this cake for our New Year’s Eve dinner. It’s a big success!
I only have one baking pan so I baked the layers one after the other. It doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
I used a mix of cocoa, coconut oil, and cream for frosting, and I covered the cake with almond and coconut flakes.
Does it have to be Medjool dates or can it be different kind of dates?
You can use any soft & squishy dates that you have available to you, as long as the measurement turns out the same.
What would you recommend using as a frosting with this recipe if you can’t have sugar in your diet? Do you think fruit would go well with it? Thank you!!
I think fresh fruit would be great on this! You could also use some coconut whipped cream– that’s what I did for my son’s first birthday cake. 🙂
Made this recipe in muffin tray. And it came out great! I was pleasantly surprised how great the taste was. I will be making this for my daughter’s first birthday.
Have you got any recipes with honey as sweetener?
Yes, try this recipe: https://detoxinista.com/flourless-peanut-butter-banana-muffins/
Hi, what is the %daily intake and portion size? Thanks!
I was looking for a gluten free/dairy free/processed sugar free cake to fix for my daughter in-law and her son. As I have not made anything like this before, I was amazed that it could have such a lovely cake texture without flour! I have made it twice in the last couple of weeks and my family has nick-named it The Miracle Cake. Thank you for this beautiful recipe!
I made this with your vegan frosting and it was a hit! I was slightly skeptical from my son’s birthday last year when I tried another fruit sweetened cake and it was so dense. This one was light and fluffy and has approval from my husband who is NOT into healthier/cleaner baking. Thank you!
Hi there. I so loved your recipe, and want to try for my daughter. I have a question, is peanut butter a good option to use instead of almond butter. I want to bake in a day or two.
I haven’t introduced her to any chocolates and all. Any other healthy frosting you can recommend please. Thanks for you time 🙂
Peanut butter will probably work just fine! In my experience, it can lead to slightly drier baked goods, but still tasty. For my kids’ first birthday cakes, I used coconut whipped cream as the frosting instead of chocolate.
Can I use a 13×9 inch pan?
Yes, I think that should work just fine! I’m not positive on the cooking time, but I’d just watch it until the center looks firm.
Super moist cake! Absolutely delicious. Love that there is no added sugar.
Yummy!!! Thank you for this amazing recipe!!! I made it for my son’s 2 year birthday and we all loved it. I made the vegan chocolate frosting but didnt use the whole recipe. Decorated with some strawberries. My cakes were flatter than the pictures show but it was so delicious.oh and only baked 23 minutes.
Looks great but haven’t made it yet. I have date syrup. How much of the dates mixture did you end up with so I know how much to put in?
So good! It’s delicious and easy to make. No substitutions needed!
Would sunflower butter taste good as an almond butter substitute?
Which frosting did you use?
It’s my 2-ingredient Vegan Ganache in these photos. But if you want something date sweetened, try my other Vegan Chocolate Frosting recipe.
This was fantastic! I made it for my baby’s first birthday smash cake. I used bananas and peanut butter and made 1/3 of the recipe in a small 3” springform pan. She loved it! It had a pleasant texture and flavor. I’ll definitely make it again. I’ll probably add some stevia if I make it for the rest of us, it was just right for baby but the rest of us would probably enjoy just a touch more sweetness.
This is AMAZING! Thank you so much. Buying your cookbook after this 🤣 I ran out of eggs so used 2 real eggs and 1 flax egg and it came out perfect. I am using it for my daughter’s 1st birthday and will be using your sweet potato (orange) frosting. Can’t wait. Such clean ingredients!!
wow thank you so much for this recipe! i made it for my daughters bierthday party and it came out great! really tasty
Thank you for the delicious recipe! Just wanted to share an amazing substitute for eggs: Seltzer water! You sub 1/4 cup seltzer per egg and the result is a fluffy, moist cake. I couldn’t believe it!
Wow, really? I’ll have to try that. Thanks!
This was sooo sooo good!!! Super easy too. For the icing I just melted some dark chocolate and added some milk and it turned out great! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
If I wanted to use date sugar do you know how much I would use?
Truly delicious! I don’t even frost!
I made this for my daughter’s 12th birthday, with peanut butter. I used Datelady chocolate spread for the frosting. It was a big hit with her. She had it for her birthday, then snack the next day and dessert that night. Awesome!
I made this today. Delicious! Thank you for all you do.
You mentioned you were working on a vegan date sweetened cake. Any chance you’ve successfully made it yet? My son has a severe egg allergy and his 1st birthday is coming up in May. I made this cake for my first son’s first birthday and would love to make one similar for this one’s birthday.
What did u put as frosting ?
This 2-ingredient ganache is in the photos, but I also have a date sweetened chocolate frosting if you want to keep it more fruit sweetened.
Hey! Will this recipe work with simple butter?
Is this glutenfree and can be consume by diabetics?
So so good! I doubled the recipe and made it for my son’s 1st birthday. I had a pirate tin I used.. it baked perfectly and didn’t crack or need to be cut down to make the bottom flat. Loved by both adults and children. I’ve since passed this recipe on a few times now.
Always the best of the party! Does anyone know which book I can find this recipe in? I am tired of having to look online every time a birthday comes around! Thank you!
Just wondering why you use baking soda instead of baking powder? When I made your recipe my cakes tasted great, but didn’t rise and were’nt thick and fluffy like your picture. Curious, I googled using baking soda and found out there has to be an acid in the recipe for it to react with to activate it’s leavening power, but there is no acid in your recipe. Is there something I’m missing? Thinking about trying the recipe again but with baking powder. If I do, how much would you recommend?
I use baking soda because it’s better suited for those who need to be on grain-free diets. (Baking powder often contains corn starch, which someone on a GAPS or SCD diet couldn’t consume.) I’ve never needed an acid when there are eggs in a recipe, as they usually react together, but I do include vinegar for egg-free baking. To use baking powder, I usually double the amount of baking soda called for. So, a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda would be 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
Could I replace the dates with raisins?
I think that will change the flavor, but it should still be good!
How would I make this info 12 muffin tins?
I’m not sure if this recipe will fill a full 12 muffins because I haven’t tested that yet, but muffins usually bake for about 25 minutes in my experience.
I noticed that there is no flour in the recipe.
This was lovely! I made it with a combination of prunes and currants. I added a little bit of almond extract and baked mine as muffins, and they were lovely unfrosted!
I made this cake with a banana mascarpone whipped cream icing. It was so good!
How many 8inch pan does this recipe make pls? One?
I usually make two 8-inch layers, or three 6-inch layers. The batter will not fill the pan up all the way, but it does rise as it bakes.
I wonder if using flax eggs would work, if avoiding eggs? TY
Has anyone tried this with flax egg please?
Please advise with what and in what quantity I can replace eggs with to make it egg free
I haven’t figured out a good egg-free swap for this flourless recipe yet. It’s much trickier for grain-free baking!
Can I substitute Sunflower seed butter for almond butter? My son is allergic to almonds and peanuts. If I can substitute, what do I need to add to keep the cake from turning green? The recipe sounds wonderful. My son and husband are diabetics so I think this will be a good cake for them. Thank you for the great recipes and tips.
I think that swap will work, and maybe using baking powder instead of soda would prevent it from turning green? I’d use 2 teaspoons of baking powder and see how that goes.
Upon reading the recipe I could not figure out how this could possibly make a cake. A real cake. I did the recipe and to my ultimate surprise, it turned out exceptionally great. My husband loves it, I love it, I melted down some apricot jam to make a glaze and it was perfect. Great recipe – kudos to you!
I made a half recipe which was perfect for the two of us. I used peanut butter in place of the almond butter and frosted it with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on the top that I had stored in the freezer. This was such a light and delicious cake – definitely going into the favorite recipes.