363 Days

Although he doesn’t officially turn one until Monday, this Saturday we celebrated Little Man’s first birthday.  You know those parties you see on Pinterest where the supermom whips up an elaborately piped cake and intricate handmade decorations?  This was not one of those parties.  At our casa, a shindig is all about the hastily made sign, the tidy but not spotless house and the incredibly loud laugh of the Dreamboat and other loved ones.  After all, getting together with family and friends is supposed to be fun, right?

I spent most of the past week slowly puttering away in preparation for the arrival of our guests. Little Man’s great-aunt M came on Friday and we got started prepping the sugar-free birthday cake for the party.  [Check out the recipe at the end of the post!]

I was really excited about this recipe because we have tried hard to keep salt and sugar out of Little Man’s diet.  Although a lot of parents like to celebrate birthdays with colourful, sugary cakes, we wanted something tasty that wasn’t going to put him in a sugar coma at the end of the day.  No, we can’t keep him from sugar, and yes one day he will be introduced to the wonderful world of Pixie Sticks.  But today is not that day.

Not to say that we ended up with this sad-looking, boring cake at the end.  As you can see in the pictures, the cake was an incredibly awesome shade of purple, courtesy of the blueberries Grampa A picked for us last summer.  The cake itself has a lot of yummy, healthy ingredients such as carrot, spinach and apple purée that makes an incredibly moist cake with the texture and look of carrot cake.  The frosting is basically steamed blueberries, whipped together with cream cheese, agave nectar and vanilla.  In the book, the frosting is listed as optional.  When it comes to frosting, I don’t do optional.

Instead of one two-layer cake, we made a one-layer cake and twelve cupcakes.  I wanted to give Little Man the chance to investigate the cake on his own, and I was pretty sure that meant it would end up on the smashy smashy side.  When we first put it in front of him, Little Man was very hesitant.  He wasn’t quite sure what to do.  Once he got the hang of it, he flashed us a little grin and dove in.

As far as flavour is concerned, the majority of our party guests really liked the cake.  Two girls, who were expecting something sugary, didn’t finish their cupcakes, but they were the exception.  I really liked it, and will probably make it without the frosting as a snack food for Little Man.  He absolutely loved it!

The rest of the party went really well.  Everything was super laid-back.  Our guests got the chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company.  I got a chance to see my little brother, his fiancé and a lot of other great people I don’t see often enough.  Little Man got spoiled rotten, with a lot of very cool gifts (both organic and not).  All-in-all it was a great success.

With Little Man in bed, and the kitchen finally clean, it is time to sit back, relax and convince myself that it has really been 363 days with my incredible son in my life.

Baby Turns 1 No-Sugar Birthday Cake

(By: Anni Daulter, Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers)

Cake

  • 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
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup apple purée

Optional frosting

  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 package soft cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  1. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 2 cake pans.
  2. Combine the carrots with 2 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 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, oil, eggs, and egg whites.  Mix until well blended.  Fold into the apple purée and reserved carrot/spinach purée.
  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.
(Reprinted with permission from the author)
*I opted to whip the frosting together with the whisk attachment of my mixer.  It ended up nice and fluffy.
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10 thoughts on “363 Days

  1. We too did a sugerless bday cake for our son’s 1st & 2nd bday. For his 3rd birthday I used maple syrup in the “icing”. I must say I’m usually the only one who does this. When we go to bday parties it’s always the sugar filled cakes. I’m the crazy mom who brings her own sugar free cupcake or removes the icing before giving my son the cake. I get looks of all sorts. But I don’t care. Though it is getting harder because now he notices that he’s getting something different and he wants the what all the other kids are having. I feel bad but how do you explain to 3yr old that sugar is bad for you when it’s so tasty and usually very colourful.

    • Good for you for doing what you can to stick with your ideals. It’s not always easy to keep from conforming in social situations. It’s too bad that you get looks from other parents sometimes. I feel like parenting is often just another version of high school where there is a lot of pressure to go along with the crowd. It takes a stronger person to fight that mentality.

      Perhaps we just need to stick together. I say there is power in numbers. We should attend the same parties so that there can be two crazy moms wiping sugary icing off of cupcakes. 🙂 Thanks for the comment Chantal.

  2. Hey NOM!
    I too wish I could have been there. I hope that your family had an amazing time and I am hopeful to see you in the near future.

  3. I will try the recipe, although I was surprised about the Tbsp of cinnamon as I didn’t taste it very much in the cake. But the cake was tasty and incredibly moist.
    Another interesting read; Do enjoy your style.

    Must talk with you about a book to read with the title “Corn every Sunday”. Nancy should remember that one. It was a title Mom threatened to use on a book exposing us (as what I don’t know).

    • Thanks for the compliment. I think the great thing about that cake recipe is that it leaves you a little room to add your own personal touch. You could add more cinnamon to give it a deeper flavour, but nutmeg might also give it a little something extra. I usually double the vanilla when I bake, but I was sticking to the recipe when I made Little Man’s cake. I love the possibilities.

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