Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Healthy Birthday Cake

As we prepared for Denver's first birthday, this mama was mainly excited about just one thing... watching my boy dive into his first cake. It's a sweet tradition, always filled with plenty of on-lookers and picture-takers. However, as we prepared for the big day, we decided to try to make Denver's first birthday cake as healthy as possible. We generally try to feed him healthy and nutritious foods, so we chose to do the same when it came to birthday cake.

I decided to make carrot cake with cream cheese icing. It is sweetened with apple juice concentrate (no cane sugar or brown sugar) in the cake OR in the icing! I found this yummy recipe on the Wholesome Baby Food website. They have a number of other healthy cake recipes if carrot cake isn't your thing.

Baby's First Birthday Cake (Carrot Cake)

(Makes 1 double-layer 9-inch round cake)

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 1/2 cups apple juice concentrate (you may use slightly less)
1 1/2 cups raisins
Vegetable Spray
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 whole eggs (we used local farm fresh eggs)
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup wheat germ (find near the oatmeal in grocery stores)
2 Tbsp low sodium baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Prep: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with vegetable spray.

1. Combine the carrots with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate in a medium size saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 15 to 20 mins. Puree in food processor until smooth.
3. Add the raisins and process until finely chopped. Let mixture cool.
4. Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups juice concentrate, the oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat just until well mixed. Fold in the carrot puree and applesauce. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
5. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 mins. Cool briefly in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sugar-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
(frosts one 2-layer cake)

½ cup apple juice concentrate
1 pound light cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup finely chopped raisins
1 ½ tsp unflavored gelatin

1. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate.
2. Process the remaining juice concentrate, the cream cheese, vanilla, and raisins in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
3. Stir the gelatin into the 2 tablespoons juice concentrate in a small saucepan; let stand 1 minute to soften. Heat to boiling and stir to dissolve gelatin.
4. Beat the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture until well blended. Refrigerate just until the frosting begins to set, about 30-60 minutes. Frost the cake.

Not sure if your baby will actually enjoy a "healthy" cake? Here's proof that Denver enjoyed it... and Fable thought it was pretty good too. :)

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