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Best No Added Sugar Smash Cake for Baby's First Birthday

Updated: Jan 31

Looking for a fun and photo-worthy smash cake with no added sugar? Try this healthful, easy, all-natural, and adorable paleo cake for a first-birthday to remember!

Paleo no-added sugar smash cake for baby

For the printable recipe PDF click here.

A reluctant convert to the smash cake trend

Monsters 1-4 never had the smash-cake experience. Having grown up with a severe sugar addiction myself, I couldn't shake the notion that introducing them to sugary treats just because I wanted to was like passing them a pack of cigarettes and saying, "Here buddy, go to town."

A little intense, I know--I'm totally that mom. We've always done a lot of fruit, but my rule was to hold off on other sugary treats at least until they could ask for them by name. I figured that as long as they didn't know what they were missing, I shouldn't introduce them something yummy just to turn around and restrict it.

Since all my monsters had been summer babies, our tradition for baby's first birthday was always a watermelon cake--actual watermelon, sliced to look like a cake, sometimes layered with other sliced fruit, always decked out with candles--and so far, it had been a hit.

Watermelon Cake for baby's 1st birthday

But Monster 5, our glorious outlier, was born solidly in the fall, when watermelons are hit-or-miss at best.

By the time his first birthday rolled around, we had been making no-sweetener-added banana muffins for quite a while, so I figured why not use that as a base?

Perfection! It turned out better than I ever imagined.

Not just a healthy smash cake recipe--it's paleo!

There are lots of recipes for healthy smash cakes that contain things like whole wheat flour, oat flour, milk, or cream cheese frosting. And many of them are similar in that they are some form of banana bread. But this paleo recipe is gluten free, grain free, and dairy free, making it the perfect choice for families that follow a paleo, gluten-free, or dairy-free diet.

Let's talk about sweeteners!

While traditional cake is laden with loads of refined sugar, you're here because you're looking for something better for your baby's first birthday,

One great thing about this healthy cake is that it's not only all-natural with no refined sugar, but it has no added sweeteners of any kind.

So while some recipes rely on a natural sweetener like maple syrup, or noncaloric sweeteners like stevia, this recipe relies exclusively on the sweetness of ripe banana.

In fact, while making a cake is a clear violation of the Pancake Rule, this cake is contains only Whole30-compliant ingredients, meaning that you could be on a Whole30 and let your little one have her big day without navigating noncompliant ingredients.

No fancy pans needed!

I've seen some recipe call for mini springform pans or little cake pans. And while those methods are great for those who have these items in their cabinets already, my method relies on items you likely already have.

To make my small cake layers, I whip up a double batch of my gluten-free, dairy-free paleo banana-muffin batter, bake it in a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet (aka jellyroll pan, or half sheet pan in restaurant lingo), and use a 4-inch round cookie/biscuit cutter to cut out four layers.

Biscuit cutters to cut layers for smash cake

smash cake layers, with extra

The scraps are cut into bite-sized pieces and placed in an airtight container in the fridge for snacking monsters. You could also crumble the scraps up and make cake balls later if you want to get creative.

Frosting your no added sugar smash cake

The frosting is simply unsweetened whipped coconut cream. One 13.5-ounce can is more than enough to fill, frost, and decorate a four-layer, four-inch smash cake. Just be aware that coconut cream is sometimes sold in smaller cans; so if that is what you go for, get a few.

You can also use full-fat canned coconut milk, but keep in mind that it will have a higher percentage of coconut water that will need to be drained off for the cream to whip into the desired fluffy texture, so you will probably need two cans. Always place your coconut cream or milk in the fridge overnight before whipping so that the clear water will be easier to drain off.

While it should come together super easily, coconut cream can be a little more finicky to make than regular whipped cream. If you want to watch us make whipped coconut cream straight from the can (and talk and talk and talk, haha) check out our YouTube video.

When assembling the mini layer cake, I recommend placing two slightly overlapping pieces of parchment paper on the serving plate or cake stand before beginning. These can be easily removed when done, leaving clean edges on the platter. It may be helpful to place the filled cake in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up before frosting the outside, or even in between adding layers if things get too squishy.

Assembling paleo no-added sugar smash cake for baby

Generally, I fill completely and do a thin layer of frosting (aka a crumb coat), place the filled cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes, and then come back for a cleaner, final coat of the whipped coconut cream.

To naturally color the leftover whipped coconut cream for decorating, I use about a half teaspoon of powdered blue spirulina, which has amazing health benefits of its own in addition to being the monsters' favorite coloring agent.

Naturally color the coconut cream with blue spirulina!

To pipe my decorations, I whisk my blue spirulina powder into the remaining whipped coconut cream and transfer the colored cream to a quart-sized zip-top bag with a piping tip nestled in one corner. I like to keep it somewhat simple, but you can go as fancy as you fancy.

If you're interested in other wats to naturally color whipped coconut cream, you can watch us experiment with colorful pantry items below!

Store the assembled cake in the fridge for a day or two or in the freezer for longer--just don't forget to thaw to room temperature in time for smashing! The assembled cake can be out at room temperature for a couple of hours, but the whipped coconut cream will hold up best in the fridge.

Gluten free, dairy free, no-added-sugar smash cake for baby's first birthday!

And there you have it: an adorable, no-added sweetener, paleo smash cake fit for first birthdays and beyond. So if you're that mom like me, or maybe you're on a Whole30 and want the baby to have his cake but only want compliant ingredients in the house, or whatever your situation may be, you can smash it up, scarf it down, lick your lips, and never veer from your diet.

If you like things a little sweeter, throw some chocolate or carob chips into the batter, mix your sweetener of choice into the frosting, and satisfy that sweeter tooth, too!

Here's what you'll need:

For the cake:

  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 8 bananas (ripe is best)

  • 8 eggs

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 2 tsp kosher salt (such as Morton)

  • 2 T ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional)

For decorating:

  • 1 13.5oz can coconut cream, chilled

  • 1/2 tsp powdered blue spirulina

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a half sheet pan (18x13x1-inch rimmed baking sheet) with parchment so that the parchment extends over the edges of the pan.

  2. Use a masher to thoroughly mash the bananas before thoroughly whisking the cake ingredients together in a bowl, or place all the cake ingredients in a food processor and process till smooth (my preferred method).

  3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the very center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

  4. Lift the cake out using the edges of the parchment, and use a 4-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out four layers, or more if desired. Stash the scraps in the fridge for snacking--or mix up some buttercream and make cake balls for your guests if you're feeling ambitious! The cake layers can be made a few days in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the fridge until ready to assemble if desired.

  5. For the frosting: Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, scoop the chilled coconut cream into the bowl of a stand mixer, being careful to leave any clear liquid behind--stash that coconut water in an airtight container in the fridge and add it to a smoothie within the next day or two!

  6. Whip the coconut cream till thick and voluminous--it should hold soft peaks when the beater is lifted up--scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  7. Fill and frost the cake with the whipped coconut cream, reserving some for embellishments. Place the frosted cake in the freezer while you color the remaining frosting.

  8. Whisk the blue spirulina powder into the remaining whipped coconut cream. Snip off the tip of a quart-sized zip-top bag or piping bag and nestle a piping tip into the hole. Transfer the colored coconut cream to the baggy, and you are ready to pipe!

  9. Store the assembled cake in the fridge till smash time!

Dairy free, gluten free, no-added-sweeteners smash cake for baby's first birthday!

For the printable recipe PDF click here.

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1 Comment

What a great idea!!

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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