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
i’m forever trying to find exciting tasty recipes, due to family intolerances and allergies i need gluten, soy, egg, dairy and nut free recipes (loving your site for the alternatives you provide, thank you!!)
wondering if you’ve tried any eggless recipes using aquafaba, or a combo of egg replacer and aquafaba?
Made this cake for my birthday. It is moist and delicious. I used cashew butter instead of almond since my family is not a fan of the flavor of almond or peanut butter. I did struggle w/the suggested frosting a process I’m trying to perfect but the cake recipe is perfect!!!
This recipe was very disappointing. Very little flavor and a texture that isn’t at all fluffy like cake crumb. Plus the cooking time is WAY too long. It was extremely over cooked which didn’t help things so a lot of expensive ingredients wasted sadly and dessert for my guests was embarrassingly mediocre to bad.
My son is requesting a strawberry cake for his birthday–is it possible to swap the dates out with strawberries?
I am going to be making this cake ALL the time! Detoxinista your recipe site is my all time favorite for amazing delicious ,yet healthier for you recipes. Love love love you !!!
I came across this recipie when my son was going into high school and decided he wanted to eat better. He is now in graduate school and still requests this cake for his birthday. I make the peanut butter version. He does not like chocolate frosting so I make this with a simple homemade whipped cream frosting with bananas and strawberries in the center of the layers and on top. It is delicious!!
This is the best ‘healthy’ cake. It’s so easy to make and I feel so good about the ingredients. I’ve been making it for years.
Can you make this into cupcakes? If so, how full should I fill the cupcake batter and how long to bake?
Thank you in advance!
I think this would most likely work as cupcakes, too. I usually fill cupcakes about 2/3 of the way full and bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Let me know if you experiment with it!
I made this recipe as written for all the ingredients, but baked 12 muffins instead of as a cake. These rise a lot, so I was able to divide the batter evenly between the 12 standard size muffin cups. The muffin cups were less than half full, but each cupcake rose to a dome above the muffin cups! Lovely texture, light and fluffy and a wonderful flavor! Didn’t even need frosting! A win with everyone in my family!!!
Thanks for free cake :b
Do you have a white/vanilla cake recipe using fruit to sweeten?
I don’t yet! It’s challenging to make white/vanilla flavored cakes using fruit, because the fruit flavor takes over pretty fast, and they tend to turn brown when baked. But, I will keep you posted if I come up with one!
My family love this recipe. But I just use finely ground almonds instead of almond butter. The first time that I made it with rroasted raw almonds they ‘turned into’ almond butter. But the next time they just wouldn’t ‘puree’, so I used them as they were and the cake was just as tasty! I also don’t add any topping.
It is surprisingly tasty, albeit a little sweet for my palate, but the texture turned out more muffiny/quick bready than cakey (I made cupcakes instead of a whole cake). Was this the case for anyone else?
I really loved the reciepe and gave back memories of a choco lava cake i had from Magnolia bakery in Dubai
Can I make these as cupcakes. How long would they need in the oven?