Baby’s 1st Birthday Cake (Healthy & Refined Sugar Free!)

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

When my little boy turned one I decided I wanted to make a healthy first birthday cake for him. He’s not eaten any refined sugar since I started weaning him, and although of course he will have sugar eventually, I want to wait till he’s a bit older. He’s already an absolute fiend for fruit, so I feel like he’s inherited my sweet tooth and will go nuts when he tries sugar! This recipe for Baby’s 1st Birthday Cake is free from refined sugar, and the sponge is sweetened only with fruit. The cream cheese frosting is sweetened with agave nectar, which is a natural sweetener from the agave plant. It’s very much like a banana bread, and at his first birthday party both the kids and adults loved it! So it’s officially a kid approved healthy cake!

How to make Baby’s 1st Birthday Cake…

I made the date puree first by soaking the dates in boiling water for 15 minutes, then blending them with a stick blender. In a bowl I added the self raising flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder and cinnamon.

In another bowl I whisked together the vegetable oil, eggs and milk. To the flour mixture I added mashed bananas, the date puree and the oil mixture.

Then I added the grated apple, and divided the mixture between the tins.

I baked the 8″ cakes first, then I did the same for the 6″ mixture too.

To make the frosting I mixed together the butter and cream cheese, then mixed in the vanilla extract and agave nectar. I levelled off the cake before I stacked them.

I spread the frosting onto the first layer of cake, then added the second layer and covered the whole thingin frosting. As I was stacking another cake on top, I added dowels for support so the cake didn’t collapse.

I also used a cake board underneath the 6″ tier for extra support. I added it to the cake and also covered it in cream cheese frosting.

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

To decorate the Baby’s 1st Birthday Cake I placed berries all around the cake, and a ‘one’ sign of course!

Tips for making Baby’s 1st Birthday Cake:

  • You can also make this cake as a one layer cake, check the recipe card below as I’ve divided the cake ingredients for each layer.
  • This cake can be frozen without the frosting for up to 3 months. Wrap it up well to prevent freezer burn.
  • I grated the apple to add it to the cake, you can also dice it if you prefer. I used pink lady apple as it’s sweeter, but you can use any apple you like.
  • If you are making this into a two tier cake like I did, you’ll need to insert dowels into the bottom tier, and use a cake board between the two tiers. This is essential for maintaining the structure of the cake and will stop it from collapsing.
  • I used agave nectar to sweeten the frosting, but you could also use maple syrup. Please do not use honey if your baby will eat this cake before they are over 1 year old, or if there will be any younger babies eating it. This is because honey should not be given to babies under the age of one, as it can cause serious illness.
  • I used a mixture of self raising and wholemeal flour, if you want to use all self raising then omit the baking powder. It isn’t recommended that babies have too many whole grains, so I wouldn’t recommended making this cake with all wholemeal flour.
  • I’ve not made this cake gluten free, but I’m sure it’d work well with a gluten free flour blend. You may need to add a little bit of extra moisture as gluten free flour can be drier, but this is a very moist cake anyway.
  • You can replace the eggs for chia or flax eggs if you need the cake to be egg free, and also use a plant milk to make it vegan.

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

More refined sugar free/healthier recipes…

Healthy Cheesecake Pots Vegan Banoffee Pie Sweet Potato Brownies
Healthy Cheesecake Pots Vegan Banoffee Pie Sweet Potato Brownies
Chocolate Courgette Loaf Cake

Recommended equipment & ingredients*

8″ cake tins 6″ cake tins Dowels
Round cake tin liners Agave nectar 6″ Cake board
One Cake Topper Freeze dried raspberries

*I earn a small amount of money if you buy the products after clicking on the links. You will not be charged anything extra for this. Thank you for supporting The Baking Explorer!

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

A sugar free cake sweetened with fruit, covered in cream cheese frosting sweetened with agave nectar. Decorate with berries
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Cake
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 20
Author: thebakingexplorer


For the 6" cake

  • 85 g Dates dried
  • 75 ml Boiling water
  • 80 ml Vegetable oil
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 2 Bananas mashed
  • 1 Apple grated
  • 85 ml Milk
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 185 g Self raising flour
  • 115 g Wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder

For the 8" cake

  • 150 g Dates dried
  • 130 ml Boiling water
  • 140 ml Vegetable oil
  • 4 Eggs large
  • 4 Bananas mashed
  • 2 Apples grated
  • 150 ml Milk
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 330 g Self raising flour
  • 200 g Wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder

For the frosting

  • 400 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 200 g Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp Agave nectar or maple syrup

For decoration

  • Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries) optional
  • Freeze dried raspberries optional


  • You can make either the 8" or 6" cake first, the instructions are the same for both, or make both cakes at the same time if you have enough oven space!
  • Pre-heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line two 8" cake tins, and two 6" cake tins
  • Place the dates and boiling water into a bowl and leave them to soak for 15 minutes
  • Puree the dates using a stick blender or food processor
  • In a large mixing bowl, weigh out the self raising flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder and cinnamon
  • In a second mixing bowl, mash up the bananas then add the eggs, vegetable oil and milk. Whisk everything together
  • Pour the banana/egg mixture into the bowl of flour, along with the date puree, and mix until combined
  • Stir in the grated apple
  • Divide the mixture between the tins, using scales for accuracy
  • Bake the 8" cake for 40-45 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Bake the 6" cake for 25-30 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool fully
  • To make the cream cheese frosting mix together the butter and cream cheese until combined, then stir in the vanilla and agave nectar
  • Use a cake leveller or a knife to level off the cake if they have domed at all, or the top of them is not flat
  • Place the bottom 8" cake layer onto a cake board, plate or cake stand
  • Spread cream cheese frosting over the cake, then add the second 8" layer and cover the whole cake with the frosting
  • Insert dowels into the cake (only necessary if you are adding a second 6" tier)
  • Place the bottom layer of the 6" cake onto a cake board and spread with frosting, then add the top layer. Place the whole 6" cake on top of the 8" cake
  • Cover the entire 6" cake in cream cheese frosting, making sure to cover the join between the tiers
  • Add berries of your choice. Please note that cut berries will run their juice into the frosting so don't cut the berries in half if you're not ready to serve the cake yet
  • Chill in the fridge for 1 hour to firm up the frosting before serving
  • Store any leftovers in the fridge and eat within 3 days
Made this recipe?Share on Instagram with me @TheBakingExplorer or tag #thebakingexplorer!


Calories: 501kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 646IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg

If you like this, check out more of my Cake recipes!

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

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I’m linking this recipe up with Cook Blog Share hosted by Lost In Food, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Angie and Zoale.

Baby's 1st Birthday Cake

49 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This looks great. I have recently cut out sugar from my diet in order to lose some weight and when I get back to normal I am certainly going to ditch refined sugar. #cookblogshare

  2. Happy birthday to your little boy. So exciting! And a beautiful cake to celebrate.
    We didn’t give Miss GF any sugar before her 1st birthday and then she had a chocolate cake… Slippery slope from then on. Wait as long as you can.
    On the up side… we managed to avoid McDonalds for about 5 years. xx

  3. Looks great, I am planning on making this for my boy’s first birthday next week. Are the ingredient quantities for the 8 inch cake just for the one layer or I need to double the amounts in order to get the two 8inch layers on the bottom? Thank you!

    1. Hi JK, all of the ingredient quantities are so you can make the cake exactly as it is pictured, so two layers on bottom and two on top. I hope that helps and please do tag me on social media when you make it!

      1. Thank you! I will tag you for sure. I am planning on using buttercream icing as would like to do some piping decorating. All a first time for me but fingers crossed my boy is not disappointed!

  4. Hi,
    I’m going to make this for my sons first birthday in June! Did you use unsalted butter for the cream cheese frosting?
    Thanks x

  5. Hi planning on making this for my LG’s first birthday this month lol! Can I check is the quantity for dried dates? Thanks!

      1. Thanks! Me again though, tried it out as a 6” and it came out quite dense (delicious though!), any tips on how to make the sponge lighter? Thanks!

        1. Hi Han, this cake is quite dense so that’s how it’s meant to be. You could try adding some bicarbonate of soda, but I’ve never done this so I can’t say for sure what the result would be.

  6. Hi, I’m going to make this for my daughter 1st birthday in 2 weeks, however she can’t eat Bananas. Any suggestions on what I could use instead?

    1. Hi April, I’ve not made this cake without bananas, but there are several common replacements you can try. You can try substituting the bananas with mashed apples, mashed pears, mashed avocado or grated courgette (bear in mind for the avo and courgette it won’t be as sweet). Let me know how you get on!

  7. Hello, I am really looking forward to making this cake for my daughter next week. Do you think I could substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil?

    Many thanks,

    1. Hi Denise, yes definitely! Just melt the coconut oil down but let it cool a bit before adding to the mix 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for replying and sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to make this week. If I do a worthy job, I will give you a tag on social media = )

    1. You could try another dried fruit like raisins, apricots or cranberries. Let me know how it goes!

  8. Will the cake still be as delicious if I frost it the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight? Thanks

    1. Hi Ruth, yes, I actually did this exact thing as I made it for my son’s birthday party and I kept it in the fridge overnight. Everyone at the party raved about it! 🙂

  9. Hi,
    This recipe looks great, thank you! Is it okay if I make it in the morning, the day before Bub’s birthday? It’ll be in the fridge for about 30 hours. How long does the cake keep for?
    Lastly, we are really trying to avoid giving Bub anything like maple syrup. Can I remove the vanilla extract and syrup from the frosting? I know it won’t taste as nice but I want Bub to have some. Is there anything I can substitute? Like strawberries?

    Many thanks.

    Cheers, Shani

    1. Hi Shani, yes it will be fine in the fridge until the next day. I did the same thing and made it the day before my son’s party. Vanilla extract doesn’t contain any sugars, and it is nice to add in for extra flavour, however you can of course omit it if you like. The cream cheese frosting really isn’t tasty without any kind of sweetener. You could try using fruit juice (I’ve heard pineapple juice is good) but don’t add too much as it could make the frosting sloppy. You could reduce the juice first to avoid this. I hope that helps!

    1. Hi Sara, yes you can cover the cake in whipped cream if you prefer. I have never done this myself though so I’m not sure what the quantities would be.

  10. Hi, this cake looks great! Can you use regular dates instead of dried? And will you need a different amount?

    1. Hi, thank you! I’ve not made this recipe with fresh dates, only with dried. They provide sweetness so I would suggest using the same amount, and you will not need to soak them so you can omit the boiling water.

  11. 5 stars
    It was my sons first birthday recently and I made a promise to my self that I would always make him his birthday cakes.
    I have never made a cake before so when I googled 1st birthday cake this one popped up.
    I’m really pleased with it. We particularly liked the frosting. In fact I might just make a bowl of that on its own and eat it!

    1. I’m so happy to hear this Sarah! I think I might join you in enjoying a bowl of the frosting haha! 😀

    1. I would call it a healthy banana, apple and date cake if you’re not making it for a baby/small child 🙂

  12. Hi this sounds wonderful for our little girl’s first birthday, thank you for posting! Wee question though, would the recipe work for cupcakes?

    1. Hi Bee, I haven’t tested this recipe as cupcakes, however I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. I would suggest testing a small batch first before the big day! 🙂

      1. Sure thing thank you, will report back – although in my case the story could involve some crispy black bits 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    Hi, I just tried to make this cake as a practise before my sons birthday, but I am wondering if I chose the right cream cheese, as it came out a bit salty? I mean you can taste the saltinnes in the icing. Does it supposed to be like that? Or is there some kind of brands of cream cheese that have zero salt?? I used philadelphia soft cheese. Don’t judge if this isn’t the best one, as there was no more options, and I am begginer. Waiting for your reply, thanks. And it is delicious by the way

    1. Hi Mag, I’ve never known of a cream cheese being salty, they are usually quite bland. I use Philadelphia too and it’s never been salty. Have you checked the label on the cream cheese? Does it say it contains much salt? I’m glad you found the cake delicious! 🙂

    1. Hi, thank you! I’ve never tried it as cupcakes, but I don’t see why not. Let me know how it goes!

      1. Hi! Just wanted to let you know that the cupcakes turned out alright!! They baked in about 13 mins (my oven) but they are still soft and perfect. Thank you so much for this recipe! I feel incredibly comfortable giving this to my soon to be 1 year old!

  14. Hi, this looks amazing and just what I’m hoping to create for my little boy’s first birthday next weekend! Just wondering whether you think grated carrot could work in the recipe instead of grated apple, to make it a bit like a carrot cake? Carrot seems to be his favourite food so thought this might be fun, but perhaps it wouldn’t be sweet enough? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Hannah, thank you! I’m so glad you’re planning to make this cake! Yes I think carrot would work well. It is on the sweet side as far as vegetables go, and there should be plenty of sweetness from the dates and bananas. Please do let me know how it goes!

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