No sugar in this cake -- no kidding! This cake recipe is all about capturing natural sweetness from ingredients like apples, bananas, and cranberries, with no added sugar, making it great for babies and those with special dietary issues, like diabetes.
Every mama wants to have a grand celebration when her baby turns 1. It's an exciting milestone for the whole family. I wanted to enjoy my kids' first birthdays without worrying about giving them too much sugar, so I made my own cake out of fresh ingredients. This cake takes a while to assemble, but be patient and put extra love and care into it. After all, it is your baby's special day. Believe me, your love and tenderness are the most critical ingredients to the success of this cake.
Makes 14 servings
2 cups sliced carrots
3 cups unsweetened apple juice
1?2 cup spinach, chopped
1 ripe banana
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 tablespoon ground almonds
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2 tablespoons baking powder
1?2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1?2 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 cup Pure Apple Puree (cut 4 apples into one-inch pieces, steam until soft, then puree in food processor until smooth)
Optional frosting/filling idea
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 package soft cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two cake pans.
2. Combine the carrots with two cups of the apple juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
3. Place the carrot mixture in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Add the spinach, banana, cranberries, and almonds. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
4. Combine the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a separate mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup apple juice, vanilla extract, and eggs and egg whites. Mix until well blended. Fold in the apple puree and the reserved carrot/spinach puree.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
6. To make the frosting (if using): Steam the blueberries until soft.
7. Place the softened blueberries, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and agave in a food processor. Process until well blended. Spread on the cooled cake.
8. Spell "Happy Birthday" on the cake with alphabet cookies. And don't forget the candle!
Anni Daulter, a mother of four and a professional cook, is the author of "Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers" (©2010 Rodale Inc.) from which the above is excerpted.
Pick up a copy of "Organically Raised" for more ideas on how to replace processed shelf staples with flavorful, pesticide-free meals for babies. The cookbook also includes info on nutrition for children, food allergies and intolerances, and how to create joyful, lasting family mealtime rituals.