I realise this may make me seem like some sort of health-crazy kill-joy mama... but I wanted Reu's first taste of cake to be one that would actually be a nourishing meal... not that I am against sugary cake (or the loveliness of indulging in a sweet treat on one's birthday) but that I do feel quite passionate about bringing my little one up on wholesome foods, and refined sugars and flours aren't really what his body needs at this young age, especially with him getting sugars already in the form of fruit, breastmilk and even some vegetables... that and I liked the idea of making a cake he could continue to eat on the days after his birthday as a little mid-morning or afternoon snack. So I invented a cake without added sugar, that is actually rather delicious, and not only the babe thinks so - we adults do too!
It is essentially a carrot cake with the addition of almond meal, banana (Reu's fav) and pineapple too - along with wholemeal flour, wheatgerm, spices, vanilla, real butter and eggs. Reu has been happily eating eggs for the past few months so I didn't worry about him being allergic to them though I realise some babies are and so maybe finding vegan alternatives would be necessary...
I've listed the recipe below including the various known health-incentives (though I am in no way a dietary expert) of the different ingredients for those of you who are interested -
- baby's first (healthy) cake -
1 1/2 cup wholewheat flour (fibre, manganese, magnesium)
1/2 cup ground almond meal (vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, protein, fibre)
1/3 cup wheat germ (vitamin E, folate, thiamin, zinc, magnesium, fibre)
1 large carrot, grated (vitamin A, B, C, E, K, folate, manganese, potassium, fibre)
1 ripe banana, mashed (vitamin B & C, potassium, manganese, fibre)
1/2 cup of un-sweetened crushed pineapple (vitamin B & C, folate, manganese, fibre)
zest & juice of 1 orange (vitamin B & C, antioxidants, calcium, fibre)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (manganese, fibre, calcium)
pinch of ground allspice
1 tsp vanilla bean
4 eggs, separated (protein, selenium, choline, vitamin B & D, iodine)
200g real butter, softened (vitamin A, D, E & K, iodine, antioxidants, selenium, essential saturated fat)
**optional** handful of blanched whole almonds for decorating the top
Preheat oven to 180'c. In a bowl mix together flour, almond meal, wheat germ, baking powder and spices.
In another bowl beat butter vigorously with a spoon (or mixer) for a few minutes, then beat in egg yolks one at a time, followed by grated carrot, banana, pineapple, orange zest and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until firm peaks form, fold egg whites gently into main mixture. Grease and line a cake tin such as a loaf tin, pour in cake mixture and decorate top with blanched almonds (if you are going to leave the top un-iced) and bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes or until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin.
And while I think this cake is marvellous just as it is... it is also super toasted with a bit of butter or iced fancy-style with cream cheese and dotted with sliced fresh bananas - a drizzle of honey would be nice too!