I’m in two minds about using sugar in a cake made specifically for a baby. On the one hand, it’s their birthday, and the only time they have cake, so a little bit of sugar isn’t going to do any harm. But on the other hand, they’re a baby, they don’t need, want or crave the sugar so why get them hooked on it?
I think this cake is a perfect compromise. The dates are nice and sweet, so it doesn’t taste like you’re missing out on anything when you have a piece, and everything in the cake is good for babies, so you don’t have to feel guilty if they eat the whole thing. This cake is ideal for smash cakes, or a healthy cake for your baby’s 1st birthday, or any other time.
I made up this cake to use as Roman’s Smash Cake. It is based on a recipe from Gill Rapley’s Baby-led Weaning Cookbook. The cake turned out really well and tasted even better the next day. The dates had melted into the cake, so it just tasted like a regular, sweet and delicious carrot cake.
Sugar-free Carrot and Date Cake
makes 8″ cake or 12 cupcakes
200g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
130g dates, stones removed, and finely chopped
50g shredded coconut*
110g butter, melted
110g sultanas (golden raisins)
1 cup grated carrot (about 1 large carrot)
2 tbsp milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
whipped cream and sprinkles to decorate (optional)
Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Lightly grease an 8″ round cake tin** and line the bottom with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and ground spices together. Give it a good stir to make sure it’s evenly combined. Stir through the dates and coconut.
Combine the melted butter, sultanas, carrot and milk (I use the saucepan I melted the butter in). Add to the dry ingredients and mix gently until evenly combined. You should have a very thick mixture. Add the eggs and give it a good stir.
Spoon into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 45 – 60 minutes (about 30 mins for cupcakes) until done when tested with a skewer.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack, removing the baking paper, to cool completely. Store in a tin or wrapped in foil until ready to use. Decorate just before serving. The whipped cream is a great frosting if you’re using this for a smash cake. It can be tinted to any colour, and is much better for your baby then buttercream or fondant.
*I prefer to use shredded coconut as I think it doesn’t catch in your throat the way desiccated coconut does, but feel free to use desiccated coconut if that’s what you have.