2 Healthy Baby (and Toddler and beyond!) Birthday Cake Recipes
When my daughter’s first birthday rolled around, I wanted to make her a cake that was special and healthy. Her absolute favorite food in the world was fruit, so a watermelon cake made sense!! When her second birthday rolled around, she was (and is) still a fruit lover. I created a vegan fruit jelly cake, with all the colors of the rainbow.
These cakes are great if you have a child with allergies or special dietary needs. They are nutritious and won’t leave your child, or party of children, in a sugar and food coloring hyper high.
Fresh Watermelon Cake
Select 1 large watermelon and variety of seasonal fruit. From the middle part of watermelon, cut one large cake round. Cut additional layers from smaller sections of watermelon, if desired. Decorate with fruit. My cake didn’t need to be transported so I didn’t stick the decorative fruit down at all. There are some fruit-fixing ideas below.
Ideas for variations
- Use cookie cutters to make fancy fruit shapes. Attach to your cakes with toothpicks
- Make fruit kabobs out of bamboo skewers to stick on top of the cake
- Cream, yogurt or coconut yogurt can be used as ‘icing’, and can help hold fruit in place
- Google ‘fresh watermelon cake’ and look at the image results – there is a lot of inspiration there!
Rainbow Agar Jelly Fruit Cake
Agar is made from extracted carbohydrates from seaweed! These carbs are 80% fiber. A benefit of using agar powder to set this jelly instead of gelatin is that it sets very quickly! It will also stay firm in hotter weather. Jelly from gelatin will melt at 35°C/ 95°F. Agar jellies will become liquid again at 80°C – 90°C/175°F – 195°F.
- Seasonal fruit. You can make a jelly cake out a single fruit or multiple for different layers.
- Agar agar powder
- Coconut milk, if you wish to create white layers in between
- Liquid sweetener of your choice. Stevia drops, maple syrup or honey work well.
Select a jelly mold. I used this one from Amazon. Measure the volume of the mold by filling it with water and pouring the water into a measuring jug. This mold held 2000mL water.
Divide the volume of your mold by the numbers of layers you want. I wanted to do 7 colours (of the rainbow), with a thin layer of white in between. Keep in mind that for fluted mold you need to add smaller layers at the thinner end to make it look even.
For my cake I used:
- Red layer – strawberries – 200mL
- Yellow layer – canary melon – 200mL
- Pink layer – watermelon – 200mL
- Green layer – honey dew melon – 200mL
- Purple layer – blueberries – 200mL
- Orange layer – oranges with a pinch of turmeric – 200mL
- Blue – purple cabbage (see Notes below) – 200mL
- Coconut layers – 100mL each
To make each layer:
- Puree fruit in a blender, food processor or Thermomix until liquid consistency. For 200mL layers, I used approx 1 cup of fruit before blending.
- Strain liquid to remove seeds and pulp.
- Measure out the desired quantity for the layer into a small saucepan.
- Add liquid sweetener, if desired, to reach sweetness to your taste. Take into account that the addition of agar powder will reduce the sweet taste, slightly.
- Add agar powder – 1 tsp for every cup of liquid. For my 200mL layers, I used a scant teaspoon.
- Heat the liquid to boiling and boil for approx 5 mins, whisking in the agar until dissolved.
- Allow to cool to from hot to warm before pouring layer in the mold
- To help each layer set faster you can pop the mold in the fridge (use tray if using silicone mold) between layering.
- Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Unmould, and enjoy!
- If, like me, you use the same layer more than once, you can keep the entire amount liquid for these layers in a saucepan on the stove on a low temp to keep it liquid.
- To make my blue layer, I boiled some chopped purple cabbage in water to extract color. I added this water to some pureed honey dew melon. Then I added small amounts of bicarb soda at a time, until the solution turned blue. More info on this natural food dye method on this video. I then added honey and vanilla stevia drops to reach a palatable flavor.
- If working with a silicone mold, place your mold on a tray before you start. Move the jelly mold only by lifting the tray. I did not do this and picked up the mold directly to move in and out of the fridge. Some of the liquids spilled between the layers. I had to cut some spilled disrupted layers off my cake before serving, hence it’s imperfect appearance!
- If you desire a deeper color jelly, you can find avoid artificial ingredients by using natural food coloring drops like these, made from plant pigments from turmeric and beets etc.
- If your jelly mixture starts to let before you have poured, never fear! Jelly made from agar can be reheated to melt and set again.
Do you have a favorite birthday cake recipe? Let me know in the comments! I’d love some ideas for birthday number three..