Baby’s first birthday is a huge deal. When my older daughter turned one, it felt like such a big milestone – mainly for us, as parents. A moment to reflect on surviving all the unknowns of newborns, surpassing many sleepless nights, learning a million new things, rejoicing in every “first” – from rolling to crawling to sitting, from new teeth to solids foods; it really was a whirlwind adventure.
It’s not that I threw a giant party or anything. We organized a small family gathering in the park, as the weather in November is absolutely beautiful and can hardly be described as winter. We hung colorful balloons, made some picnic foods, and of course, there had to be cake.
Ooh, this was going to be a fun challenge – what to make for baby’s first birthday cake? I wanted it to be delicious and pretty, without using the usual ingredients like butter, sugar, and wheat flour.
I’ve made different variations of this cake over the years, but here’s the basic recipe that I came up with. Truthfully, if you skip the frosting, this also works as a simple banana bread that, I would say, could even pass as breakfast.
Simply banana birthday cake
2 large, very ripe bananas
3 organic eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup coconut oil (liquid form) *
1¼ cup almond flour
2 tbsp amaranth or buckwheat flour (or can use additional almond flour)
¼ cup arrowroot starch (can also use tapioca starch)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
*If your coconut oil has hardened, heat it in a small saucepan to return it to liquid form. But, let it then cool for a few minutes before combining with eggs, otherwise you’ll end up with an omelet.
¾ cup almond butter
4 tbsp coconut oil, solid
2 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a 9-inch square or round baking dish. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan or line with parchment paper.
In a plate or wide bowl, mash up the bananas using the back of a fork.
Toss the bananas and all of the remaining ingredients into an electric mixer and blend the batter until it’s smooth. If you don’t have a mixer, use a large mixing bowl and sturdy wooden spoon to combine all ingredients until you get a unified batter.
Transfer the batter to your baking dish. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pop the cake into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let the cake cool completely. In the meantime, prepare the frosting by mixing the ingredients in a small bowl. I find that the easiest way to mix is by using the back of a spoon and pressing down and outward (instead of circular motions).
Spread an even layer of frosting across the top of the cake, either with a knife or special frosting spatula. You can also top off with some sprinkles or berries.
Want to take it up a notch?
To make the 2-tiered cake pictured above, double the recipe & bake in two pans. Also make sure to double the frosting. And, if you want to get funky with some colored frosting, you can create natural food dye, using the guide here. I used beets to get a beautiful pink color. Just take note – you only need a few drops of the dye to get a vibrant hue, and actually, adding too much will make the frosting too watery.
Happy birthday to all the little ones and happy baking!