My oldest son, Judah, just turned 7 years old. It’s crazy how quickly time flies. I can still remember his birth like it was yesterday, and I certainly don’t feel like I’ve been a mother for 7 years. You’d think I’d feel a bit more confident and capable of leading and guiding these 4 little blessings I have, but instead I see how flawed my efforts are. I’m still learning and growing in every area of my life… especially in this thing called “mothering”.
Another one of those “growing” areas is in eating healthy. It definitely doesn’t come naturally to me. Knowing about nutrition for kids is one thing, but putting information into action is something completely different. I certainly have my moments of appearing like I’ve got it all figured out only to fall off the bandwagon the following week for convenience sake.
This year, Judah’s birthday cake was a nutritional challenge for me.
Eczema And Allergies
You see, my SIL has a son with SEVERE eczema. She’s tried every natural treatment and alternative therapy known to man it seems, but nothing helps this poor kid. He does really well for a while, but then he always gets worse… way worse. His flare ups are terrible. I honestly have no clue how she keeps up with everything she has going on and manages to raise, homeschool, and nurture 7 kids. She’s amazing. Anyway, he’s allergic to everything, and he’s on a pretty strict diet when it comes to the things that trigger bad reactions. Gluten and sugar are two big nos for him.
When it came time to talk to Judah about his birthday plans, he really wanted to have a birthday cake that his little cousin could eat and enjoy with everyone else so he asked me to make a gluten-free, sugar-free cake for him this year.
Did you hear that? Gluten-free and SUGAR-FREE! Talk about a guilt-free birthday cake!
I’ve heard of gluten-free cakes, but sugar-free… for a kid’s birthday cake! I knew immediately this would be a challenge, especially for me.
I mean, first off, my family eats gluten! I hate gluten-free baked goods… most of it anyway. It takes someone who’s practiced and perfected their recipes (a lot) to make something gluten-free taste good in my opinion. I’m just not used to it, and I had no clue how I was going to make this kind of cake work and taste great. I’d never baked anything gluten-free in my life! I need flour people!
And sugar… how do you make a cake that tastes good without some sort of real sugar? I had no clue.
So there it was… I needed to make a cake that had no gluten and no sugar. I knew it may not turn out at all, but I was up for the challenge!
Turns out, it is possible to bake a gluten-free, sugar-free birthday cake that tastes good. Thank goodness!
I decided to use a basic recipe that used fruit for the majority of the sweetness, tweak it a bit as far as other ingredients went, practice it a few times, and voila… bake a gluten-free, sugar-free cake from scratch that our whole family would enjoyed on Judah’s birthday. Thankfully, after a few practice cakes, it worked great. In fact, my SIL loved it so much she took the extra home with her which is saying something because she’s not that big into sweets.
In the end I decided to bake two cakes… one with gluten and one without, but both cakes were sugar free as I chose to use xylitol instead of real sugar.
Now I’m not a huge fan of sugar substitutes. I prefer real food ingredients, but I was willing to make an exception in this case. Plus, the majority of the cake is real food and there’s very little xylitol used in the end so I was happy with that. I did try to use stevia once and that was a BIG disappointment. Don’t even waste your ingredients trying it. Trust me… when making sugar-free cakes, go with xylitol.
Okay, now for the recipes.
This recipe makes an 8×8 inch cake that serves 14-16 people when cut into standard 2×2 inch pieces. It will serve more if you decide to do cake cups. Feel free to double or triple the recipe if needed.
Chocolate Banana Cake with Banana Whipped Cream
- 1 1/4 c. all-purpose gluten-free flour (feel free to substitute all-purpose flour for a non-gluten-free cake)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 2 TBSP. cacao powder
- 2 small, very ripe bananas
- 2 TBSP. plain yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 2 TBSP. xylitol
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick) melted and cooled
- 1 small, very ripe banana
- 1 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
- 1 TBSP. xylitol
- 2 TBSP. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 dish with coconut oil and lightly dust with flour.
- Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, combining well. Blend wet ingredients in a separate bowl, combining well. Gently stir wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, combining thoroughly.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and smooth. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Mash banana with a fork in a small bowl. Use an electric mixer to liquify the banana. In a separate bowl, whip cream, xylitol, and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold liquified banana gently into whipped cream.
- Spread whipped cream frosting over cooled cake and top with sliced bananas. Enjoy!
- Serve in standard 2×2 inch sheet cake slices… just be sure to have extra frosting on hand as the cake is thick and you don’t want to end up with too much cake and not enough icing. There has to be a perfect balance you know.
- You can also serve this as cake cups. Simply cut the cake and extra bananas into chunks, fill cup 1/3 full of cake chunks, followed by 1/3 banana chunks, and finish with 1/3 whipped cream frosting. This way you have the perfect amount of cake, fruit, and icing with each bite!
Enjoy, and here’s to a happy, healthy birthday… for everyone!