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 41 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

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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. 

Video

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
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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Comments

Diksha

Love all your recipes.. I really appreciate your work. keep it up.

Cristina

I did this cake for my husband birthday and was a hit! All family enjoyed, thank you

Alissa dau

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!!

Christine

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.

Maggie

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.

Maggie

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.

Ruth23

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.

Naoko

Does it have to be Medjool dates or can it be different kind of dates?

    Megan Gilmore

    You can use any soft & squishy dates that you have available to you, as long as the measurement turns out the same.

Hannah

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!!

    Megan Gilmore

    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. 🙂

Leena Ba

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.
Thank you!

Clara

Have you got any recipes with honey as sweetener?

Rae

Hi, what is the %daily intake and portion size? Thanks!

PENNY

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!

Jaimie

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!

Anu Mehta

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 🙂

    Megan Gilmore

    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.

Linda

Can I use a 13×9 inch pan?

    Megan Gilmore

    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.

Kimmie

Super moist cake! Absolutely delicious. Love that there is no added sugar.

Danielle

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.

Cinthia

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?

KAtie

So good! It’s delicious and easy to make. No substitutions needed!

Tee

Would sunflower butter taste good as an almond butter substitute?

Hufsah

Which frosting did you use?

JilliaN

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.

Angelica

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!!

rachel

wow thank you so much for this recipe! i made it for my daughters bierthday party and it came out great! really tasty

roja Narayan

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!

Amna

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!

Carole

If I wanted to use date sugar do you know how much I would use?

MarY

Truly delicious! I don’t even frost!

Laura cofman

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!

Lori

I made this today. Delicious! Thank you for all you do.

Elizabeth

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.

Cande

What did u put as frosting ?

Ruqaiya

Hey! Will this recipe work with simple butter?

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