Whip up a healthy alternative to a sugary birthday cake for your kid's next party.
Satisfy your child's sweet tooth with these surprisingly delicious and healthy birthday cake recipes.
A fun, delicious birthday cake is something every kid looks forward to, but how can you keep your child's birthday cake excitement going and keep things healthy?
According to Christine Palumbo, a registered dietician and columnist with "Chicago Parent," making a healthy cake is all about substitutions and reducing certain ingredients -- like sugar, butter, oil and shortening, as well as using less frosting or glaze -- by making the cake yourself. "You could swap about 1/4 or 1/3 whole wheat flour or oatmeal flour (whirl rolled oats in the blender) for the white flour," she suggests.
And you don't almost have to be completely 100 percent honest. "If you go this route, mention it to no one! If you mention healthier ingredients or a more healthful cake, people will try to find fault with it. Mum's the word."
Here are 15 healthy alternatives for birthday dessert kids and adults will rave about.
Not only is a cake made entirely of fruit the healthiest option, but it can look pretty fabulous, too. Over on See My Footprints, one mom shows eating -- and making -- a healthy cake can be easy. With some toothpicks, cookie cutters and fresh fruit, you too can make a fabulous-looking cake your kids will love.
Amanda Nelson, a mom in DeKalb, Ill., makes a "cupcake" of fruit topped with yogurt, which she then freezes, for daughter. That way it still looks like a sugary treat, but it's much healthier.
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Key substitutions in your child's birthday cake recipe can go a long way toward making a healthier version, such as Bettina Johnson's first birthday banana cake recipe, which uses no-sugar added applesauce.
Chocolate Yogurt Cake
For a simple yet tasty recipe, try Sonia's chocolate cake recipe on Natural New Age Mum. It uses gluten-free flour, as well as yogurt.
Healthy Smash Cake
Smash cakes are hugely popular for first birthdays, but this twist on the classic from Rachel at Our Havenill makes it a tad bit healthier -- while still being just as much fun.
Pineapple Honey Carrot Cake
Sweeten a carrot cake with canned pineapple and honey, according to Sally at Tasty Easy Healthy Green. The honey helps, too, with the cream cheese frosting.
Girl Scout Cookies are a long-standing tradition, but they're packed with trans fats and calories. Katie at Chocolate-Covered Katie: The Healthy Dessert Blog takes the classic cookie and makes it whole-grain, vegan, gluten-free and without those horrible-for-you trans fats, while still keeping it mouth-wateringly good.
Banana Layer Cake with Fudgy Frosting
Kristina, of Whipped Baking, took her favorite cake and made it a bit more low calorie by getting rid of a lot of the butter, milk and cream. It alters the fudgy frosting, but keeps it as delicious as ever.
Ice Cream Cake
Even an ice cream cake can have a slightly healthy bent if you make it from scratch. Kristin at Mamacino tops her cake with loads of different fruits.
This cake will become your kid's new favorite, even though it requires no sugar! Instead, the family behind the website A girl, a guy, furkids, and food, uses almonds (or almond meal) as well as honey and plenty of strawberries.
Chocolate Banana Mousse Torte
Alica Howe proves you can still serve a rich dessert on For the Health of It Coaching. It looks like a mousse, it tastes like a mousse, but it uses a surprising -- and very healthy -- ingredient: avocado.
Vegan Fig and Rhubarb Cake
Sweetness can come from sources other than sugar. Meg Thompson of My Wholefood Romance proves that with this birthday cake recipe inspired by Jude Blereau. She uses seasonal ingredients that have a wonderful sweetness all their own, such as fig and rhubarb, thus requiring very little sugar.
Ginger Pear Upside Down Cake with Lime Zest
This fancy-looking cake from Sally at Good Dinner Mom has minimal sugar, due to the use of pears. Even better, while your kids might not care, it's just 190 calories per serving.
Oatmeal Banana Cookies
Forgo the cake all together and make cookies with this recipe from Crafty Healthy Mommy. It limits the serving size and, with oats and bananas, it's also a wonderful treat.
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
There's no better way to hide vegetables in your kid's meal than by combining them with chocolate! This Bundt cake is still made with sugar, but also with unsweetened applesauce and cocoa. Natalie over at SuperHealthyKids says her kids compare the taste to a donut.
Go gluten-free with this surprising -- but tasty -- recipe from Shelby Barone at OC Mom Blog.
Looking for more ways to make your child's birthday party healthy? Lara Field, a specialist in pediatric nutrition and owner of FEED, advises a complete overhaul of party's "nutritional nightmares." Substitute sandwiches on whole grain bread instead of pizza, serve low-calorie juices instead of soda, decorate tables with games rather than candy, serve fruit and veggies in fun designs and forget the treat bag.
For more healthy alternatives, check out Care.com's Pinterest board. With a few key substitutions, you can still make a cake that your child will enjoy -- without the sugar high!
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer in Chicago, Ill. Her work can be found here.