Healthy Birthday Cakes for Toddlersby Peggy Epstein
It's tempting: your local supermarket can bake your toddler a dazzling cake with fancy icing and have it ready to go the morning of the big party. However, if you can't picture yourself feeding your little one a product containing a variety of less-than-wholesome ingredients, you might want to rethink that order. Instead, bake your toddler a healthy cake with appealing toppings and he'll never even know what he's missing.
Carrot cake is a popular first cake for toddlers. To prepare a healthy version, begin by cooking 1 1/3 cups shredded carrots in 3 cups boiling water for 5 minutes; drain and let cool. In a bowl, mix ½ cup corn oil, ½ cup applesauce, 2 tsp. vanilla and 5 egg whites. Add 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Mix in ½ cup drained crushed pineapple and the cooked carrots. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. After the cake cools, spread on icing made from 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese, ¾ cup powdered sugar and ¾ tsp. vanilla. Use a butter knife to mark off squares; decorate each square with a little plastic bunny and tiny carrots cut out of canned carrots.
Apple Swirl Cake
Lots of apples are the basis for this Apple Swirl Cake, another healthy cake for your toddler. Start by peeling, coring and chopping 2 cups of apples into small pieces. Mix these together with 3 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. In another bowl, mix 2 cups sugar, 1 cup cooking oil, 4 eggs, ¼ cup orange juice and 2 tsp. vanilla. Sift together 3 cups flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder and ½ tsp. salt; add this to the creamed mixture. Grease an angel food cake pan and then, starting and ending with batter, alternate layers of apples and batter. Bake the cake for an hour at 325 degrees. If you mash half a banana, and then add some lemon juice and powdered sugar to the right consistency, you'll have some icing for the top of the cake. Before it dries, make a circle of thin slices of apple around the top, alternating them with animal crackers.
Angel Food Cakes
You can also buy a bakery or grocery store angel food cake for your toddler's birthday as these cakes usually have less sugar than other cakes and are often made from just a few natural ingredients -- mostly egg whites. Top the cake with a colorful arrangement of blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries.
Ice Cream Cakes
Ice cream shops can make a birthday cake to order from layers of all-natural frozen yogurt or ice cream. You can also make these yourself by slightly thawing two or more flavors of frozen yogurt or ice cream and refreezing them in round cake pans lined with waxed paper. Take them out of the freezer, peel away the waxed paper, stack and serve. Upside down pointed-end ice cream cones decorated like clowns make appropriate decorations and they can be pressed into service if your little one want his "cake" served in a cone.