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Baking for Special Diets: First Birthdays and Other Low-Sugar Occasions

Whitney M.


Ah, the first birthday. Baby’s first bite of cake... her first frosting mohawk... her very first sugar crash. Wait, could we skip that last part??

Many a modern parent is concerned with making sure that their little punkin devours only food that is one hundred percent nutritionally beneficial. Maybe that’s you, or maybe it’s a dear friend or potential customer that wants to know: can you, the most talented baker they know, come up with a first-birthday cake that is both healthy and delicious?

Goal #1: Make it Good

You need a delicious cake that contains no refined sugar, no artificial anything, and a whole lot of whole foods. It doesn’t have to be low-calorie or low-fat; we’re talking about a celebratory dessert, after all, not a diet food. We’re just trying to make sure those calories come from good, healthy, whole sources.

...and you’re in luck, because I just so happen to have a list of recipes for you right here.

Most of these are along the lines of a spice/carrot cake, dense and moist and perfect with cream cheese icing.

Baby’s First Cake from The Kitchn

Carrot and Date Cake

The Mother Lode

Goal #2: Make it Fun

So... how do you decorate a healthy cake? You may be surprised to learn that this is the easier of your two main goals. Check out my list here, and if you need more ideas, run an image search for “bento box fruit”.

Natural Food Coloring and Sprinkles

Watermelon Flowers

Strawberry Ladybugs

Carrot Flowers

Dried Pineapple Flowers

Lots of Fun Fruit Ideas



Sidebar: Baking for Diabetics

In researching for this post, I ran across an interesting book called Eating for Diabetes. According to the author, the modern diabetic is advised to eat pretty much the same way everybody else is advised to eat: fruits and veggies, complex carbs, and portion control.

If you’re baking for diabetes, you don’t have to switch to artificial sweeteners. The important things are to avoid refined sugars, keep carbohydrates down, and keep portions to a reasonable size. To meet this standard, look into whole wheat pastry flour, almond flour, and gluten-free flours; sweeten with applesauce, agave nectar, or fruit whenever possible.

Diabetic nutrition is an enormous topic I could never cover in a tiny sidebar, so for more reading, I refer you to the American Diabetes Association ...and that really good book I just mentioned.

Happy baking!

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