How to Looking for a healthy vegan smash cake for your baby’s first birthday? We’ve got you covered with this kid-tested, delicious recipe that’s vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free!
Caleb’s first birthday, and the vegan smash cake I made for him, were a huge success!
While we’re all about giving kids the freedom to enjoy sweets and treats, I didn’t think that his first birthday was the time to give him a sugar overdose. Especially with all of the other excitement and stimuli that day!
Instead of making the day a total sugar bomb, I decided to make my own smash cake using many of the same ingredients he’s used to, and enjoys, on a regular basis.
For instance, bananas, oats, dates, and non-dairy milk are things that Caleb eats often and enjoys. As it turns out, they also make a really nice contribution to baby’s first birthday cake.
While this came out to be more of a muffin or bread texture than a cake, he didn’t know the difference. It’s a similar texture to banana bread and tastes delicious. He wolfed it down with utter joy and I may have stolen a few bites too.
Why A Healthy Smash Cake?
Major health organizations, like the American Heart Association, recommend waiting until at least two years of age to introduce added sugar to kids. Even after age two, it’s best to limit sugar intake to less than six teaspoons (or 25 grams) per day.
Why? Research shows that eating large amounts of added sugar is linked to a heightened risk for issues like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
Since early childhood is a time when numerous health habits begin to form, we can probably all agree that this isn’t the best time to make added sugars a regular part of our kid’s diet.
That’s why we love this healthy smash cake.
So, if you’re looking for a healthy alternative for your baby’s first birthday cake, we highly recommend this recipe. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free… as well as kid-tested and delicious!
Can this smash cake be frozen?
Yes! Make the cake as directed, then freeze. Thaw before frosting and enjoy. We recommend wrapping each cooled cake layer in plastic cling wrap and then foil for best results.
What cake size should I use?
We know that not everyone has 4″ rounds, so this batter is customizable to whatever type of pan you want to use or how you want to stack your cake.
It makes enough for two 6″ round cakes, one 8″ round, or three 4″ rounds. Depending on which round you use, you may have extra batter and that’s OK. We wanted to ensure that no matter which cake pan you used, you would have enough.
What frosting is best?
We included a recipe for cashew frosting. Or, you can use whipped coconut cream. To lightly color the frosting, we recommend adding in a few teaspoons of beet juice, raspberry juice, blackberry juice or other brightly pigmented fruit. To make a juice, wrap a few berries in cheesecloth and squeeze.
How to make oat flour?
Place rolled oats in a blender or food processor and process until a fine flour forms. Store any extras in an air-tight container or bag.
Vegan Smash Cake
- 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (we like soy, almond, or cashew)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cups oat flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2-3 each dates
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease pan(s) of choice: one 8" or 7" round, or two or three 4" rounds. If using three 4" rounds, the cake will just have smaller layers.
- In a high-powered food processor or blender, add the dates, bananas, soy milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Blend until creamy and smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour with cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of the dry ingredients and mix until everything is well combined. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
- Fill 2/3 of the way into prepared pans. Depending on what size you choose, you may have excess batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
To make the frosting:
- In a high-powered blender, combine all ingredients and puree until creamy and smooth.
- Let the frosting chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
- To assemble:
- Let the cake completely cool, then slice with a serrated knife or cake knife to even the layers for even stacking. Frost, stack the layers, then continue to frost the rest of the cake as desired.
1 3/4 cups oat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (we like soy, almond, or cashew) Frosting:
1 1/2 cups cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk of choice
2-3 dates To make the cake:
In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, strawberries, vanilla, and milk. Mix wet with dry ingredients.
Pour into 3 x 4-6 inch round, greased cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
While the cake bakes, make your frosting!< To make the frosting:
In a high-powered blender, combine cashews, lemon juice, vanilla, milk, and dates until smooth. Let the frosting chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use. Let the cake completely cool, then stack the layers adding frosting in between.
Do you have any favorite birthday foods or sweet treat alternatives for your kiddos? Share below!
Paula Porter says
Your dedication and love for living a healthy lifestyle shines in Caleb’s 1st Birthday party and meal planning. Your recipe for his cake is perfectly detailed in its ingredients. You have mastered; through your educational background and professionalism, to create recipes that taste great and promote good health.
You are enhancing the lives of everyone around you.
Thank you so much for the kind words Paula!
Sorry, what is the size of the cake pans? Thank you!
Silvia Pinho says
Is there any other food I can use instead of banana? My son is allergic.
Hi Silvia. Sorry to hear about this– I’m not sure if there is something different than banana that will work the same way; maybe applesauce?
Hi! My sons first birthday is this Sunday and I’m looking forward to making this. I wanted to know if almond flour would work?!
Plant-Based Juniors says
NOt sure if almond flour would work the same as we haven’t tried it. If you do try it and it works, let us know!
This post and recipe was shared with me on Facebook. The cake is adorable.. I am being recruited to “attempt” to make this for my grand-daughters first birthday.. How did you make the giraffe and tree?
Those were purchased!
John Greene says
Hello, I love your book and website.
Do you recommend unsweetened non dairy milk or sweetened?
We recommend unsweetened. Thanks!
I only have a 9 inch pan .. will this change baking time ?
Yes, check it earlier and see when it’s done.
I am also thinking of trying this with a 9 inch pan. Did it work out for you? For a second layer, does it need to be doubled?
This cake is amazing. I just did a test before my daughter’s first birthday and I couldn’t believe the texture of the frosting! If I’d like it a bit sweeter so you think it’d be fine to add 2 more dates to the frosting and a some to the cake too?
So glad you liked it!
First time making a vegan cake. Will it be okay to make ahead of the birthday?
Yes! Shouldn’t be a problem. Freeze, then defrost before frosting!
Is it possible to use all purpose flour in place of the oat flour for this recipe? Would ratios be the same?
It should work– but we haven’t tried to confirm
I want to make it for my little girl’s 1st birthday.
Is the giraffe edible? And where did you buy it from?
Thanks a lot
It’s from Etsy!
Hi! Just wondering if there are any recipe options that you know of for a baby with cashew and peanut allergy! Thank you!
You can make the cake, but the icing would have to be cashew free. What about whipped coconut cream? That’s what Alex did for her son’s birthday cake: https://www.delishknowledge.com/vegan-healthy-smash-cake/
Rosie Burdon says
Would coconut or all purpose flour work instead of oat?
Teri Walker says
I have just tried to make this cake for my grandsons 1st birthday. Unfortunately the cake didn’t look properly or rise. Is this 1 and 3/4 of flour or 1 x a 3/4 cup of flour?
Anamika Kak says
I had the same issue too. I used 1 and 3/4 cups of oat flour. The 3 layers of the cake rose somewhat but not as was much as shown in the photo (cake layers are partially covered with frosting in that photo) on this page. I even used extra baking powder because I had read your comment prior to baking. I have 1 tsp, 1tbsp marked utensils that I like to use for recipes that are new to me such as this vegan smash cake.
How did u manage to do giraffe and number 1 ?
We ordered them from Etsy!
I love the recipe and can’t wait to make it for my son’s birthday in two days. Would this cake fare well in the fridge if I make it the night before or is it better eaten on the day it was made?
It’s best eaten the day of, but you can make it the day before. I’ve made it ahead of time and popped it in the freezer, then thawed the day of.
Hi there so excited to make this cake! Can you tell me if the 2 bananas is for all three cakes? And is it 1 cup plus 3/4 of a cup of oat flour? Thank you!
What can i use instead of banana and strawberries? My baby is allergic
Megan R. says
Probably apple sauce instead of bananas (I’ve noticed they can be interchangeable in most recipes) and other types of berries (if he’s not allergic to those as well!)
My little one is only 4 months old but I’m already imagining his first birthday. I knew when I was pregnant I was not going to do any sugar/dairy/gluten/meat for his first 3 years. I can’t wait to make this for his smash cake. I’ll bake it for myself now so I can “test” it out …yummy!!!! Thank you!
Looks amazing I’m planning to make this for my sons 2nd birthday (he’s still off sugar!) if I can’t get any strawberries can I use other berries/fruit to substitute?
Hey Nikki- yes, that should still work!
Can I give soy milk to my baby when she’s 12 month even though she’s breastfeeding still? I’ve been thinking on making oat milk at home but not as a breastmilk substitute, however I would love to make this recipe but she won’t try milk yet. Should it be ok?
Yes! Soy milk is OK in baking/cooking before 12 months and OK to drink after 12 months– even if still breastfeeding!
Hi, can’t wait to make this for my son’s bday coming up. We make homemade oat milk with out almond cow, is that okay?
Yes, that will work
I just made the cake with all purpose flour and it didn’t rise :/
You probably needed more baking powder.
So excited to try this! We’re vegan and I love to cook, but I’m not a baker AT ALL. If I wanted the frosting to be pink, would recommend adding strawberries, would it still work, or just using a food dye?
Yes! You can use a natural food dye OR pulverized, freeze-dried strawberries/raspberries!
Are you supposed to mash the strawberries or puree them first?
For the cake, you will want to mash them with the bananas!
Oh no! My cake is in the oven I only sliced them as I followed the instructions 😂 fingers crossed! Thanks for the recipe will review properly when it’s done 😁😍
Thanks so much for this recipe!
I attempted to make this cake before making it for my little girls 1st birthday. I completely messed up the frosting because I don’t know exactly what to do with the cashews. I soak them and then remove from the water and blend with the rest of the frosting ingredients?
Sorry to hear it didn’t work out! Yes, you soak the cashews and then drain the soaking water before combining them with the remaining frosting ingredients. Hope your little one had a great birthday anyway!
For the forsting, the cashew nuts I bought was natural raw cashew (not roasted) comes in a packet from Aldi, is it okay or do I need to roast it first before soaking?
Raw is great– that’s what I use!
Thank you for the vegan Smash recipe!! I was wondering what else can I use in place of dates? I will try to make it for my daughter’s first birthday.
Hi Maria! You can use any sweetener; though we’ve only tested this with dates!
I was wondering if I made them into cupcakes how long would I jave to bake them for?
Hi Kim– not sure as we haven’t made them for cupcakes before. but I’d recommend checking them after 15 minutes.
Hi Kim, did you end up making these as cupcakes, and if so, how did they turn out? How long did you bake? I am planning to bake this recipe as a 4″ cake. Thanks!
Sara Ferne says
I made them at 45 mins
Hi! I’m looking forward to making this for our daughters first birthday next week. I had a question about the dates. The instructions say 2-3 dates each. I’m unsure about what the each is referring to, or is it 2-3 dates total.
Hi David! 2-3 dates total. Let us know how it turns out!
I’m not a baker but I’m determined to bake this cake for my son’s 1st birthday. I was wondering what does 2 each bananas mean? is the recipe for 1 layer or all 3? Can I make them into cupcakes?
Hi Kim, 2 large bananas. And the recipe is for the entire cake, 3 small layers. Not sure about the cupcakes as we haven’t tried that yet!
Hi Kim, I know this was awhile ago,, but curious if you ended up making this into cupcakes and how it worked out. My girl’s first birthday is tomorrow and of course I waited until the last minute and don’t have the right cake pans…Thanks if you see this!
Love this recipe! I can’t find any oat flour. Can I use any all purpose flour? Would that work?
That should work!
I want to make this for my son in Nov for his first bday. Can you use oat milk? Also what did you use to grease the pan?
Also forgot to ask, if I only have one pan, do you bake each layer for 20-25 minutes?
Oat milk should work! I used a spray from chosen foods, but any oil/butter/flour combo will work.
I only have cashew pieces and not whole cashews. Does this change the measurement? Do you have the measurement in weight?
Will frozen blueberries work instead of the strawberries?
It should! Though we haven’t tried yet to confirm.
Can this frosting be piped using an icing bag? To make flowers, for example.
Plant-Based Juniors Team says
It worked pretty well, but I had to bake it 15mins longer. Even then it seemed a little undone. On cutting it after it cooled, it seems a little wet and dense on the inside. Any suggestions?
I made this cake as a tester for my daughter’s 1 year old birthday next weekend. I absolutely love the cashew frosting!! I used 4 dates instead and it’s delicious.
However, I only had 9 inch pans so I divided the batter into 2 9 inch thinking I would cut it smaller afterward to stack (to ensure I have enough icing), but both cakes were quite flat. I only baked it for 15 mins due to thinner layers 🙁 I’ll try again tomorrow.
Can you freeze the cashew frosting and thaw it before applying it on the thawed cake on the day of the birthday? Thanks
Plant-Based Juniors Team says
We wouldn’t recommend freezing it. YOu can keep it in the fridge though until you’re ready to use.
Can this be left on the counter for about 18 hours before frosting and consuming? I’m hesitant to put it in the refrigerator because the last time I did, it seemed to change the texture on the inside.
Plant-Based Juniors Team says
Yes, you should be able to. Don’t leave the frosting out though.
Ines Kusturica says
Is it possible to use almonds instead of cashews?
Hi Ines, I’m not sure about almonds, but if you do then I’d recommend blanched almonds.
I am making this cake for my little sisters first birthday. I was wondering if the cashew frosting hardens.
Hi Sage, the frosting gets a little hard but it never hardens like a buttercream frosting.
Bethanie Coleman says
Prepping to make this but have a few questions first
1. Do you have ingredients in weights?
2. Are the cashews unsalted and raw I assume?
3. Type of dates? Medjool or the smaller ones?
4. Can you freeze the frosting in advance?
Thank you! I’m really hoping to make this for my little ones first birthday in a month
Hi Bethanie, thanks for the email! We don’t have the ingredients in weights yet, and the cashews are unsalted and raw if you can find them (we usually grab them at Trader Joe’s) Medjool dates are our favorites and not sure about freezing the frosting.
Please I need a response soon, on the cashews do I buy raw or roasted ? And the dates any kind? Sorry I’ve never used dates for any recipe. Thank you
Hi Jazmine, raw cashews are best and the dates that we like best are medjool.
I made a test for my allergic baby’s 1st birthdate with all purpose vegan and gluten free flour and it was pretty flat any suggestions?
Hi Jazmine, we haven’t tested this with gluten-free flour blend, which may not work the same as the oat flour.
Any chance it would work with almond flour, my baby is allergic to oat?
Not sure as we haven’t tested it yet– but we are planning to update this post next month with more tested options for ingredient substitutions and cooking methods.
Julie McFarland says
I love your cake concept but my we ones have high histamine and don’t really like oats, could I replace the bananas with apple sauce?? Strawberries with pear?
Sorry I know it changes the recipe and I’m struggling to get a cake recipe that suit’s their needs for this wknd.
Hi. On the photo there are 3 cakes did you make triple the recipe? Is the recipe for 1 cake only? Thank you
This is for one recipe using smaller cake pans to get three cakes!
I’ve been on the hunt for a recipe for my daughter’s first birthday! This recipe looks awesome! She has dairy and egg allergies so the vegan is great, but she also has a tree-nut allergy. Do you have any suggestions on how to alter the frosting recipe without cashews?
Thanks so much!! 🙂
Thank you so much for this recipe.
I will be making a sample today for my daughters first birthday . She has severe allergies to eggs and milk and have not tried nuts or coconut. Could I use oatmeal milk instead of coconut or almond. How can I make the frosting without cashews ? I just don’t know how would she react to nuts and i don’t have tine to trial it
Hi Natali– yes, you can do oat milk instead of coconut or almond. I’m not sure of frosting option that don’t include nuts, dairy or coconut. I’ve made a frosting using non-dairy butter and powdered sugar, but not sure if you want to go that route for her. You can also decorate with fresh fruit!
Followed the recipe exactly and the cakes came out very dense and not fluffy at all. Not sure why. I also only made two cakes and I think they would have been even more flat if I made 3. Any pointers?
I have a question… can I pre-make the frosting and keep it in the refrigerator to apply it on the cake a day after?
We loooooved the original recipe and have made it twice already! Any way we can get the original since it’s been changed?
It’s below in the notes.
Do you mean one tablespoon tbsp of vanilla extract? That’s loads?
Hi Christy– we do mean 1 tablespoon but you are welcome to use less! I’ve made it with just a teaspoon before and it still tastes great, just more vanilla flavor in the tablespoon.
I had the same question about vanilla extract amounts for the cake and didn’t think to read the comments so I only used one teaspoon and it turned out great! Now I’m excited to try it again with a tablespoon!
First birthday was yesterday and she loved it as did everyone else. Thank you!
I saved this recipe a couple of months ago and have just come back to it as I am going to try it…has it changed to not include strawberries now? Just wondering as I thought I’d seen them on the recipe before. Is it better without? Thanks! 🙂
Hi Danielle– the old recipe is below in the notes section!
Ahhhh yes I see it, thank you!
Can one use an alternative flour to oats, if so which nut free flour would work best?
Hi Dominque– yes, though we haven’t tried it but I would assume an all purpose flour would work as well!
Thank you firvyour reply, we’re a gluten and nut free family and I have my son Jackson’s 1st birthday coming up. Would buckwheat flour work?
It may… we haven’t tried this with buckwheat flour so can’t say it definitely. Let us know if it works for you!
I saved this recipe and was about to make it today and see the new version has No strawberries and No flour at all? If you could comment on old v new version, that would be so helpful! I was set to
make the first version and +/- strawberries could work but 1 3/4 cup flour v No flour.., ahh!
Hi El! There’s still flour in the update version. If you want the old recipe, it’s in the “notes” section at the bottom of the recipe. Let me know if you can’t find it.
Made the updated version of this but with no coconut oil in frosting (had been going off previously saved version that didn’t include it ) and it was delicious! Used a lot more lemon – juice from 2.5 lemons. Colored with blackberry juice. I knew my baby wouldn’t want a cake topper that wasn’t edible so I did toast in the shape of a #1 with a cookie cutter and put blueberries on it. I used 4” springform pans filled 2/3 full and at 350c it was Done (knife came out clean) at just 35 minutes and cake was very moist.
Would this recipe be enjoyable as cupcakes as well? I’m sure baking for less time would be necessary but hoping to give my son a cupcake and have some for others to enjoy as well. Thanks!
Haven’t made these as cupcakes yet! If you try them, let us know how they work!
Thank you so much for this recipe and for leaving up the old one…I made it last year for my girl’s first birthday and she loved it, came back to make it again this year and thought I’d lost my mind I could’ve sworn there were strawberries!! 😂 Excited to try this version I’ll eat the strawberries in my own time
What does the lemon contribute? Wondering if I can leave out the lemon for the frosting… My baby may have an allergy to lemon.
Makes it tangy– you can omit it!
I tried making this yesterday for my daughter’s first birthday party today. Looked great yesterday then today I look at it and the frosting has brown discoloration marks in certain areas. What would cause this? Is it safe to eat? I followed the directions exactly..
My son has a banana allergy. Could I make this with pumpkin purée or sweet potato ?
I haven’t tried it with pumpkin or sweet potato puree so can’t say for certain but it SHOULD work!
How long would the icing keep in the fridge?
Not long– probably a few days at best as it can become watery if sitting for too long.
I made this successfully for my nieces first birthday and it was a hit. She wasn’t very aggressive with the cake so we ended up cutting a chunk off for her to try due to its density- but the frosting and the cake are delicious and so nutritious. Her mom and myself want to just make this for ourselves moving forward as a healthy dessert/snack- okay I guess the kiddos can have some too 😉 Thank you PBJ!!!
Can you use vanilla bean instead of extract? Is it safe for baby? How much would you use? Thanks!
Hi Sarah, the alcohol in the extract is removed as it’s baked, but also OK to use a vanilla bean instead of the extract
This is so good. I baked cupcakes at 310 degrees for 15 minutes and they came out delicious. Moist, fluffy and light at the same time. I have a question about the frosting. Mine was so thick snd spike the blend. Obviously when you soak her cashews they expand a lot so maybe I should measure them after as opposed to before? I ended up adding a lot of water to blend so they wasn’t great. Any tips on frosting would be appreciated. Thank you!
Love this recipe, made a preview for my daughters first birthday. Is there anything that might be a healthy substitute for the coconut oil in the frosting?
I plan to either omit oil, or sub with coconut butter
We made this twice, once as a test and once for my daughter’s first birthday. We used applesauce instead of bananas on the second try. I just googled how many cups equals the mashed bananas. Bananas worked fine in the first cake and she loved it, but i personally don’t like the banana taste, so i experimented using applesauce instead next and it was very tasty. The frosting is so good too! I think I’m going to make these into muffins year round because they’re so tasty and healthy.
I am a terrible baker but I’m going to give this a try… do you recommend a 4″ or 6″ pan – I don’t have either so going to purchase new, open to either. Also, did you use an icing spreader tool and a spin table to decorate and did you stick a straw in the middle to stabilize? Watching this video and wondering if I need to do all these things – https://www.amazon.com/vdp/c2b0d868a9444f2abb57c23ad608a533?product=B08J7RM95P&ref=cm_sw_tw_r_ib_dt_L7tmUL0nJfove – thanks so much!
You don’t need a spreader or any fancy frosting equipment! An offset spatula will make things easier, but not necessary. And this frosting is light and not very glue-like and forgivable; but you won’t be able to pipe it like a buttercream.
My little one liked it but the adults liked it even more!
If I just have a nutribullet, could I soak the dates before to help with blending?
My daughter loved it!!
Made two mini layered cakes for my twins’ Made four 4” cakes with this recipe.
Looks great! Would vegan food colouring be safe to use in the frosting?
Plant-Based Juniors says