Last Saturday was Peanut’s first birthday (Yay Peanut!) and I wanted to make her a cake. I’ve always loved those pictures of a baby diving into their first birthday cake, but I didn’t like the idea of giving Peanut all of that processed sugar—not to mention the other unhealthy ingredients in store-bought cake and frosting.
It seems like every Baby-led Weaning parent has a different philosophy on sweets. I know some that only give their blw-ers fruits as sweets. I know some that let their kids have anything. Personally, we do the “tastes” method. Basically, anything that I’m eating or drinking (so long as it’s not entirely out of the question like soda, alcohol, and really processed food) I’ll give Peanut at least a taste of what I’m eating. So yes, she’s had that overly-processed, make-my-teeth-hurt, give-me-a-headache store-bought cake and believe me, the little tastes she had she loooooved and would scream when I stopped giving it to her. She’s also had tastes of cookies, brownies, muffins, ice cream (well, more than a taste of ice cream) and many other sweets because her mama has a sweet tooth.
Even with all the tastes, I wanted to make a cake that I would feel okay with giving her an entire piece of because it’s her birthday. So I went in search of a cake that was made of whole food and sweet without the use of processed sugar. After literally months of searching on the internet, I was ready to give up. Then a friend of mine suggested Feast Without Yeast. While I can’t see myself actually trying to do any sort of plan like this, I love a lot of the recipes in it. So I made a Honey Cake for Peanut for her birthday.
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups unprocessed clover honey
- 1/3 cup expeller pressed safflower oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular wheat flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Preheat oven to 325F. Oil two loaf pans (see below) and set aside. Separate the eggs, placing yolks in a large bowl and the whites in a medium bowl (let the whites warm to room temperature). Using an electric mixer, beat the yolks with honey until creamy. Add oil and water; beat. Sift the dry ingredients, then gradually add to the honey mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon after each addition. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, then carefully fold them into the batter. Pour into oiled loaf pans. Bake at 325F for 45-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out dry. Allow cake to cool, then wrap in foil and place in a plastic bag.
I didn’t do two loaf pans. When I tested it a week beforehand, I did a big round pan. Then when I made her real birthday cake, I decided to do two square pans because the party plans had changed. With both sizes, I cooked it for 25 minutes and checked with a toothpick, then checked every 5 minutes with a toothpick. I believe they both took about 30-35 minutes. For frosting (or really a glaze) I used equal parts honey and butter.
The cake was actually good. It certainly tasted like a “healthy cake,” but my sister-in-law said it was the best “healthy cake” she had ever had. People compared it to bran muffins and you could definitely taste the wheat, but I like it. I will definitely be making it again.
I also felt happy giving Peanut a full slice of it—twice! We didn’t get the baby-smushing-frosting-all-over-her-face pictures, but honestly I don’t think that would have happened even with a store-bought cake. That’s the whole point of Baby-led Weaning—she knows how to eat food. She got not-so-surprising sticky from the honey, but other than that it was a relatively clean food experiment. The important part is that she was able to enjoy her birthday cake and I was able to give it to her guilt-free.
Honey (even cooked) isn’t recommended for babies under one because of the risk of botulism.