Friday, April 19, 2013

|guest post| birthday cake alternatives for a first birthday party...

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Today's post is brought to you by Bridget Sandorford! She is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching pastry schools in NYC! In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook. How exciting!!!

Take it away, Bridget!

A first birthday is a milestone and many parents celebrate with a huge party. However, health-conscious parents may hesitate to introduce a giant, sugary cake as part of the celebration. After all, refined sugar can be addictive and can encourage other unhealthy eating habits. Young tummies that have not had time to develop are even more sensitive to refined sugars. It's best to wait a few years for children to have stronger digestion and to have learned better eating habits before introducing sweet treats.

So how do you celebrate a birthday without a birthday cake? If you are trying to wait to introduce refined sugars into your young one's diet, you can still create a "cake" or other treat that everyone will love for a first birthday party. Here are a few birthday cake alternatives you might consider for a first birthday party:
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Fruit is naturally sweet and is loaded with vitamins and other  nutrients. There are a number of delicious desserts you can make with fruit, but the fruit torte is one of the most popular. It also makes for a lovely presentation, so you can make one as a centerpiece for your first birthday party. 
Try out this recipe for a fresh summer fruit torte using blueberries and strawberries. Just swap out the refined sugar with honey or another alternative. Experiment with recipes that use other fruits to make something everyone will love.
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You don't have to bake to have a delicious cake. Fruit can be the main course, providing a delicious and nutritious treat. To make it more celebratory, you can construct the fruit into the shape of a cake. Many people use watermelon as the base and then use smaller fruits like strawberries and blueberries to garnish and "frost" it. Check out these numerous examples on Pinterest for some great ideas!
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The Paleo Diet emphasizes a natural way of eating that eschews refined sugars. You can find many Paleo recipes for cakes that use only natural sugars and that also have more healthy flour choices, such as coconut or almond flour.  Check out this recipe for a basic yellow cake using almond flour and honey. You can search online for other Paleo cake recipes for other ideas.
Molasses is a natural sweetener that is low on the glycemic index and that has many essential nutrients, such as iron and magnesium. You can create a simple cake that uses molasses as a sweetener, and leave it unfrosted or garnish it with fruit. Check out this recipe for an Applesauce Molasses cake from Yummly that is both low in fat and low in sugar (and also gluten free!). Try Pinterest or Google to search for other variations.
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Your cake doesn't have to be sweet at all. You can create a festive centerpiece that looks like a cake but that is savory. Consider stacking up a variety of cheeses and garnishing the "cake" with grapes and other fruits. Guests can cut off slices to enjoy with crackers or crostini. Check out these awesome ideas on Pinterest to see what's possible.
Celebrating a first birthday -- or any other birthday, for that matter -- doesn't have to mean indulging in unhealthful refined sugars. You can create low-sugar or alternative cakes that will be just as festive and that will offer more nutritional benefits. This can help you to set the foundation for healthy eating for years to come.
What do you think about having an alternative birthday cake for a first birthday? Did you choose a low-sugar option for your celebration? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Wow! Thanks so much Bridget! Love ALL of these ideas!


  1. I always love outside of the box idea. The cheese cake is the coolest!

    1. Right??? And that Paleo cake looks amazing too!


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