For birthday cakes, I use sugar. My cakes are already gluten free, dairy free, grain free, soy free and egg free. So I figure, if I want kids who are used to “normal” cakes to eat my kids’ birthday cakes, I better put at least one familiar ingredient in there. And it usually works. Kids who are used to some home baking or gluten free, love this cake. It is moist and doesn’t crumble too much, so it slices really well for birthdays.
Best types of sugar
Having said that, I do try to use a less processed form of sugar, such as rapadura, panella or coconut sugar, as these types retain a lot of healthy nutrients and don’t upset sensitive tummies. Maple syrup and raw honey are other great sugar alternatives that are from whole, natural sources that haven’t undergone any processing to remove nutrients. By eating sugar that still contains vitamins and minerals, our bodies are better able to absorb the goodness and can slowly use the energy, thus reducing blood sugar spikes too. Xylitol and Natvia work well too, and are another healthier option than processed, white sugar.
Cup cakes to birthday cakes
This recipe began as cupcakes, and works really well plain or with some chocolate avocado frosting as a healthier treat for you and the kids. I tripled the recipe to make a double layered birthday cake and made a dairy free butter cream – a delicious, decadent and not-in-the-least healthy topping. But birthdays are only once a year and if you can’t have sugar on your birthday, when can you, I ask!?! So in the spirit of flexibility and moderation, here are my vanilla cakes or cupcakes, with two frosting options. One for everyday, and one for special occasions! And I’m happy to say the cake was well received by my kids, their friends and adults alike.
Sofia’s serving suggestions
And to serve, as per the birthday girl’s request, two scoops of ice cream – mango gelato and chocolate (which ended up salted caramel, because that’s what Aldi had in coconut ice cream). It was delicious and very decadent.
Lose the artificial additives too
The decorations are also Sofia’s idea – she watches a lot of fancy cooking and baking shows – and wanted a cake covered in candy. I bought the most expensive lollies available, from the health food shop – to avoid artificial colours and flavours – because that’s what I do. (Except the freckles – they were a carob, whole food version.)
A sugar rush is actually much milder than people think – kids are usually reacting to all the chemical additives in party food, not the sugar. If you want to learn more, check out Sue Dengate’s Food Intolerance Network or 15k strong Facebook group. If you just want to know which additives are the worst for reactions, check out my post on additives here.
Vanilla Cupcakes or Birthday Cakes
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, grain free
Ingredients – cakes
Cupcake quantities (in brackets: 2-layer Birthday Cake quantities, as pictured)
1/2 cup oil – coconut / refined olive / rice bran (1 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup sugar – raw / panella / rapadura / coconut (2 cups)
2 eggs or 2 flax eggs* (6 eggs)
* 2 tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 6 tbsp water = 2 eggs
* note I used separated egg yolks plus flax eggs, as our intolerance is to egg white only, which makes a richer, yummier cake
1 cup gluten free flour^ mix (3 cups)
^ I use 2/3 buckwheat and 1/3 tapioca flour, not starch
2 tsp baking powder, gluten free (6 tsp)
1 tsp baking soda (3 tsp)
3 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (9 tsp)
1/2 cup milk – almond / soy / rice / coconut (1 1/2 cups)
Ingredients – choc avo healthy frosting for cupcakes
1 large avocado
2 tbsp cacao powder, sifted
4 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp apple cider / white vinegar or lemon juice (to prevent oxidation of avocado)
Ingredients – dairy free “butter cream” frosting
250g Nuttelex (Buttery has the best flavour) (would probably work with coconut oil too, but I haven’t tried it. Yummy especially if you used coconut milk in the cake.)
3 – 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
For cupcakes, fill 1 muffin tray with patty pans. For cakes, use coconut oil and paper towel, or spray oil, to grease and then flour 2 x 20cm / 8 inch round tins.
Mix up you flax eggs, if using.
Add sugar and oil to mixer and whip up for a few minutes. Add eggs if using or flax eggs with or without egg yolks (depending on your intolerance). Mix till combined.
Add sifted flours, baking powder and baking soda and mix gently. Add milk of choice and vanilla paste/extract and fold until combined.
Pour cake mix into muffin tray or evenly into 2 cake tins. Bake cupcakes for 17-20 mins or cakes for 40-50 mins. Cool in pan for 10 mins before turning onto wire rack to cool completely before icing.
Prepare frosting. For cupcakes, I use a stick blender for best results. Add avocado, cacao, vinegar and vanilla and blend until smooth.
For cake frosting, use mixer to soften Nuttelex or coconut oil, add vanilla. Gradually add sifted icing sugar and keep mixing as you blend to a smooth paste.
Ice cakes once fully cooled. Enjoy your delicious cakes!