233~365 Happy Birthday Amy! My son’s first birthday is fast approaching, and I am debating whether or not to make him a cake. He hasn’t eaten anything with sugar (other than the sugars naturally found in fruit and breastmilk) and I would like to keep it that way as long as possible.

I am sure it is my adult sensibility and social programming talking, but I cannot imagine a birthday without a cake. I know my son will not remember what will be a milestone for me; in fact if Christmas is anything to go by, festivities and gifts are not that interesting to him (yet). Nevertheless, this is a special day and I would like to do something outside the norm of our usual routine and usual food.

Are there any baby/toddler-friendly sugar-free (Splenda is not in that category in my opinion) cake recipes that you have tried? How have you celebrated your children’s first birthdays without cake? — Ellen

Comments on How can we celebrate our kid’s birthday without a cake?

  1. I felt the same way. I did not want to give my newly one year old any sugar! My son just had his first birthday in February and I felt better having him eat a little slice of homemade vegan chocolate cake.

  2. I was in your same boat. I didn’t want him to have cake at all but felt pressure from the mother and mother-in-law!

    We are vegan, and our son has food allergies. I didn’t want him having sugar, eggs, milk, white flour, or any foods he hadn’t been exposed to yet (lots of stuff even in the vegan recipes).

    Your best bet is something “normal” for the guests and something special just for him. We make the raw vegan carrot cake, but I roll them up into balls and then roll the balls in raw unsweetened coconut since our son can’t eat the cashew frosting. If your son hasn’t had walnuts, though, you’ll want to avoid those.

    There’s an oatmeal, carrot, ginger recipe somewhere that uses a very small amount of agave or maple syrup (not much), but I can’t find it.

    When it came down to it, my son had an allergic reaction the day before and had the runs on the day of the party, and I had an excuse not to give him any cake 🙂

    Good luck!

  3. My best friend served her son a double layer corn bread “cake” and used whipped avocado (I guess guacamole essentially) for the frosting. It was cute and the yellow and green made it really colorful too!

  4. We did a muffin and coffee (for grownups) party for my first. We usually do cupcakes and make them as healthy as possible. There are so many awesome ways to substitute healthy ingredients for crap.

  5. For my oldest son I skipped the party and made a picnik. He could run in the grass with his ball and ate only fruit. We adults lighted a candle in a mini cake. My daughter will be one this monday and although I’m letting the in-laws throw a tradicional party they already know she’ll have a separate cupcake

  6. What about making some sort of thick pudding you could still put a candle into? Basically I’m thinking blended avocado with chocolate, maybe maple syrup or some other fruits. Or you could make more of the filling and put it into a crust to make an avocado pie for the grownups (I’d recommend staying raw and perhaps doing a crushed walnut/date crust! We made one for a gluten-free/vegan wedding potluck last year and it was delicious).

  7. I remember when I was in kindergarten that we used to get a play dough cake for our birthday. We all really looked forward to it and I thought mine was the shiz.

  8. Maybe you could just give him his favorite food for dinner and then use a toy to make it special? Or use some brightly colored cups and utensils? Babies have pretty low expectations so it should be easy to just jazz up dinner a little bit.

  9. My son didn’t eat much, if any, of the cake at his first birthday. However, I’m glad he had the cake because now that he is 3 and slightly obsessed with cupcakes (despite or perhaps because of my efforts not to feed him junk), he LOVES to see the pictures of himself with his birthday cake when he was a baby.

  10. So many great ideas! He is not really into squishy foods but he loves fruit and toast and other crunchy things, so thanks to all the posts I am thinking of a small apple cake (sweetened with apple sauce) with some crispy bits of toast or cracker on top instead of icing and some fruit on sticks…

    His birthday is Saturday so I need to get shopping!

  11. My friend made a little cake of sticky rice and berries for her little girl’s first birthday. Super easy!

  12. Just a thought:
    MAJOR applause on your no-sugar pursuit!! Love all the comments on that topic.
    I am keenly interested in the food relationship here, wondering about a possible “don’t reward with food/sugar” stance. I oddly have many vivid memories of my childhood, and my post-Eating Disorder self is now curious of what might have happened had I not been rewarded with treats or learned to associate junk food with the celebration of aging.
    I have no youngers yet, but am interested in trying to downplay food for birthdays and maybe even holidays. I’m no Nazi, and please don’t be scared that your child will end up with an ED if you give them cake! Not at all! My ED was tied to a lot of other things. Working through them has brought me to a greater awareness of food and our relationships with it.
    I will be trying something like this:
    http://www.novanatural.com/natural-home/birthday/12-hole-birthday-ring-set
    for the celebratory observance, then potluck for the guests. =)

  13. Am I a total jerk because I’m excited to give my kid his first taste of sugar on his birthday?

    • Totally not! I was the same way. 🙂 This post is representative of one perspective, but it doesn’t mean anything is wrong or right about it — it’s what one family is choosing to do.

  14. You could skip the cake all together and go for another fun, traditional 1st year event. The Chinese place objects symbolizing different things in front of their babies and let them choose one. It’s a fun way to “predict” their future. Here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHVk0sfZydQ

    • Koreans do something very similar! It’s cute and a good way to get everyone engaged at the party.

  15. Hi Ellen, I’m sorry for not answering your question & respecting your need for help with a sugarless cake or equivalent… just thought I’d empathise and throw the option out there of you having whatever cake you want – with or without sugar. Up until my daughter’s first birthday, she’d had no added sugar, no white flour, was breastfed, and had absolutely no juice. For her birthday my partner made the most amazing sugared-up rainbow cake! She had some cake because it was a special occasion. I was more concerned about my friend giving her loads of fresh orange pieces as she hadn’t had much citrus by then and citrus allergies run in my family.. Since then (excluding a friend’s birthday and Christmas dinner), she’s gone back to her lacto-ovo vegetarian, wholegrain, no-added sugar diet without any fuss. At 17 months, she’s still breastfed, and still hasn’t had any juice, which I’m passionate about. Guess all I’m saying is whatever you choose to do, however it works out, decide not to feel guilty about anything and enjoy it! You only get to see your son turn one once. What kind of memories do you want when you look back at photos/videos of this magical time? His joy & delight I’m sure 🙂 p.s the sugar kept her awake for a while which turned out to be quite useful! All the best.

  16. I say let go of the cake. Put candles in a bowl full of fruit! I sure wish I’d never learned to have a toxic addiction to processed, sugary foods and I think it’s great that you want to avoid feeding your child that stuff as long as possible!!

  17. We had a homemade cake that a friend made for us that was amazing and had fresh fruit in it….but guess what? My sos blew out the candle and then he was perfectly fine not eating it.. I had a healthier baked muffin-like carrot cake for him to eat 🙂

  18. How about pancakes, made from scratch so they don’t have all that add crap that mixes have. You could layer them with fresh fruit & cream between the layers. Or maybe a trifle using sugar free jelly & lots of fresh fruit.

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