And just like that, my sweet baby is 1.
Fellow parents, I know you know how monumental this occasion feels. It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions that happen when you realize that your baby has been your baby for 365 rotations of the earth. Van’s still my baby, but he’s quickly moving on to toddlerhood.
So, we celebrated. We celebrated his first birthday and, just as importantly, the milestone as parents. The first year is rough. Motherhood has been complicated, messy and filled with self-doubt, but more importantly, the most joyous, peaceful and gratifying path I’ve ever walked. All of the cliche’s are true; it really is the most incredible kind of of love.
We hosted a big party in celebration this weekend at a local park. Our friends and parents showed up to eat, play and watch this guy eat some cake.
Of course, it’s hard to have a first birthday party without a cake to celebrate! This vegan smash cake is perfect for those of you who want the experience of doing a smash cake without having one that’s loaded with sugar, butter and artificial colors.
I went back and forth for a trying to decide if I was going to make a healthy cake or just a regular one and ultimately decided to do a healthy one.
Why? Well, for starters, Vander doesn’t know any different. I’m sure he would have loved a ‘regular’ cake but since he’s none the wiser, I didn’t feel like I needed to introduce sugar to him here.
Additionally I knew with all of the festivities, he was going to be stimulated enough. Therefore, I didn’t want to give him a ton of sugar on top of that.
Let me also preface this by saying that removing sugar from baked goods alters the texture and flavor. This cake is great and perfect for a 1st birthday smash, but it is dense and not sweet- even with using the banana and applesauce. So don’t expect fluffy white cake from the grocery store, because it’s not that.
You can add more sugar if you want a sweeter/lighter cake but since this was a first birthday cake, I decided to only use 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup for balance.
As you can tell by these photos, he loved this cake! It took him a moment to figure out that he could eat it, but then the fun began.
Healthy Vegan Smash Cake! If you’re looking for a naturally sweetened, healthy vegan smash cake THIS IS IT! Made with flax, bananas, applesauce and frosted with a sugar-free coconut frosting. Perfect for a 1st birthday party!
For the cake:
- 1 cup flour (I used an white whole wheat)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch ground ginger/nutmeg)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 very ripe banana
- 1/3 cup apple sauce (I used an unsweetened)
- 1/3 cup milk (I used oat milk as I like it for baking; soy would also work great)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water, combined until lightly gelled
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 1 can coconut cream, chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
- shredded, unsweetened coconut, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking soda/powder, pie spice and salt.
- In a blender, puree together banana, applesauce, milk, combined flax + water, maple syrup and vanilla. You can combine by hand, but I find that a blender makes the banana creamier and easier to mix into the cake.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix.
- Lightly spray and flour two 4″ cake pans (or an 8″ cake pan, or cupcakes.) Divide batter and cook for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove and set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes; then remove from pan and cool completely.
- For the frosting: Do not shake the can once you remove from the fridge! Open the can and spoon the hardened white cream into the base of a stand mixer or a bowl fitted with a hand mixer. Discard the water at the bottom, or use in another recipe. (Adding too much of the water will make a thinner frosting and won’t turn out the same.)
- Add the cream of tarter to the bowl and beat until fluffy and able to hold stiff peaks; this may take ~8 minutes. Place in the fridge until ready to frost.
- Assemble the cake! I sliced the tops off the cakes to make them flat, then sliced the cakes in half to create 4 layers. You can also just do two layers. Add a dollop of the frosting to the top of the cakes, spread out in an even layer, then add the other cake on top.
- Add the coconut whip to the rest of the cake and frost. Then, gently adhere shredded coconut to the top/sides, if desired. Eat!
- You can freeze the cake ahead of time after baking. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze, then thaw completely before frosting.
- The frosting can be made a day ahead of time, kept in the fridge.
Keywords: 1st birthday, first birthday, vegan cake, smash cake, healthy smash cake