Well hello there! It has been a busy few weeks for us with potty training, second birthday celebrations and family visits, so apologies for the radio silence. A lot of that time was also spent researching and testing a healthy second birthday cake which I am delighted to be able to share with you now, scroll down if you can’t wait for the recipe.
After letting her first birthday pass by without much celebration, we decided to throw souper-baby a second birthday party complete with bouncy castle. We were SO lucky with the weather as there were thunderstorms on the days before and after but at the party we basked in glorious sunshine. There were around 8 kids and 20 adults and (I think) a great time was had by all.
I had slightly underestimated the level of work involved with preparing lunch but it was worth it in the end (I didn’t make it easy for myself by having to do the pineapple flowers twice, see below). Other than that, the only really upsetting thing was that for some reason the soup I made didn’t taste very good and I didn’t have time to fix it – kind of embarrassing when you have a soup blog!
Almost all of the food apart from the borderline-obligatory party rings was baby-friendly and sugar-free. We had simple sandwiches for little ones, baguettes with soft cheese and pate (TORTURE for a 6 months pregnant woman), crudites and dips, a fruit rainbow and, of course, a healthy birthday cake! To drink there were mini water bottles for the children and a few stronger options for the grown ups.
Now, I am fully aware that there are people who roll their eyes when I don’t let souper-baby have the refined-sugar-laden treats at parties and when I’m fussy about her eating unnatural food. I do know that I am “boring-healthy-eating mummy” but that’s just the way things are and I can’t see it changing! That said, even the non-healthy eaters enjoyed this birthday cake – it is moist and delicious and even ended up looking pretty good despite my lack of cake-decorating skills.
I used three batches of this muffin recipe to make two cake layers (1 batch of mixture fills a 9″ cake tin) and a batch of 12 muffins. I substituted coconut oil for the olive oil with great results and I also used the coconut oil to grease the cake tins.
Muffins were for the small people as they are easier to manage on the go than a slice of cake. I made all the cakes a day in advance and kept them in an airtight tin.
I decorated the cakes and muffins with a cream cheese “frosting”, pineapple flowers and some pretty gold candles in the shape of a number 2. The flowers were made in advance as they are really time consuming and keep well but the actual decorating was done on the morning of the party as I was using cream cheese.
Any leftovers (!) should really be kept in the fridge as cakes with this much fruit in them have a tendency to go mouldy if kept at room temperature. Even in the fridge they won’t last more than 4-5 days, although I can’t see that being a problem.
Cream cheese frosting
2 x 200g packs full-fat soft cheese
1 to 2 tbs pineapple juice (reserved from the pineapple chunks or flowers)
Stevia-based sweetener to taste (optional – I ended up using only around 1 tbs of Tesco’s stevia sugar substitute)
Mix the cheese and pineapple juice well in a large bowl and gradually add sweetener of choice if desired, tasting as you go. Spread on your cakes with a spoon, knife or spatula.
This made just enough to cover all of the muffins, sandwich and top the cake. If you plan to cover the sides of the cake too I would add another pack of cream cheese and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
Pineapple flowers –
1 large, ripe pineapple will easily make 24 flowers with some leftover
I used THIS method after spotting the pretty flowers on pinterest. In the end it took me around 4 hours in a 50 degree oven*, turning them every 45 minutes or so. I kept them in an airtight tub in the fridge until ready to use. I found they weren’t crisp (the humidity/thunderstorms probably didn’t help with that) but the flavour really concentrated to make them absolutely delicious and I think they look great.
I feel I’m quite the expert now as I have made these THREE times (one practice run, one lapse in concentration and then the final version), so please heed my top tips:
- Use a nice, ripe, juicy pineapple
- Use a serrated bread knife for slicing and removing eyes
- Cut quite deep “v”s in the edges to get a good shape to your flowers
- Watch what you’re doing with that serrated bread knife and don’t cut into your other hand while you’re concentrating on the pineapple
- If your baking sheet has seen better days use a layer of foil to make sure the flowers are easy to turn
- Do NOT do what I did the second time and leave your flowers in the oven overnight, then turn the oven on in the morning to bake your cakes and burn your beautiful, labour-intensive creation to a crisp. I swore. Loudly. And souper-baby cried. It was a difficult period for all involved but we survived to tell the tale.
So there you have it! I was pleasantly surprised that you can make a “proper” cake complete with decorations without adding any sugar, using wholemeal flour and with only coconut oil as fat. I hope you like it.
Please let me know in the comments below or on my facebook page if you try this or something similar. I love to hear that people are actually reading/finding my recipes useful and it spurs me on to find new ones.
With love, Julia x