Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday Cake: Harvest Spice Cake with Pineapple Filling

Healthy Natural First Birthday Cake Allergen Free Dairy Free Egg Free Vegan Sugar Free_Nom Yum & Free

Baby Girl’s Allergen Free, Sugar Free Birthday Cake – packed with veggies in every bite!


In celebration of my (multiple food allergy stricken) Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday, I vowed to give her a celebration with just as many delicious kid friendly food options that her (allergy free) Big Brother had for his first Birthday. As stated in my “About Me,” I blog not only to increase food allergy awareness but to create a world for Baby Girl where she can enjoy yummy foods safely. And since she seems to have inherited my LOVE for eating, it only seemed appropriate to surround her on her 1st Birthday with her favorite allergy friendly foods.

The biggest feat of my party prep – making my first layered cake! I knew this would be a bit trickier than making cupcakes, so I decided to make a test cake and make (and freeze) the real thing a few days before the event. Good thing I did because (see “Method (or Mistakes)”) extra time can mean the difference between a birthday cake and a bad science experiment.

Baby's 1st Cake No Sugar No Dye Allergy Friendly No Dairy No Egg No Nut_Nom Yum & FreeIn no way was this a “traditional” birthday cake – except perhaps that it was layered and had decorative icing. This fact made it hard for me to answer the parade of questions being posed by little guests when we were preparing to sing Happy Birthday. “Is it a chocolate cake?” “No.” “Is it a vanilla cake?” “Um, not really.” “Then what is it?” “Umm . . .” silence, because I knew this group of preschoolers wouldn’t be thrilled when I answered – “It’s a healthy natural, sugar free, vegan, whole wheat spice cake packed with zucchini, carrots, applesauce, and pineapples.” (Especially when these were the same kids that looked utterly disgusted when they eyed peas in the macaroni and cheese.)

Since it was my daughter’s first birthday cake, in addition to being vegan, nut free, and soy free, I also decided to make it refined sugar free – and full of some healthy FRUITS and VEGETABLES (yep, always trying to get some extra nutrients into my little ones). It even had a few flax seeds for some Omega-3s. Knowing that my daughter loves cinnamon and spices, I incorporated them into her 1st birthday cake too. I also used whole wheat flour to make it healthier, but if you are allergic, see the easy substitutions below.

FREE Ingredients            

(Makes an 8 inch 3-layer cake. Pineapple filling is optional but recommended.)

Harvest Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups shredded and “dried*” fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup shredded and “dried*” fresh carrots (about 4 regular carrots)
  • dairy free, soy free buttery spread for greasing pans (like Earth Balance)
  • whole wheat flour** for dusting pans
  • 4 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • ½ cup pineapple juice (or water)
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour**
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground all spice
  • ½ cup evaporated cane juice (like Wholesome Sweeteners)
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup natural (no sugar added) applesauce

*See “Method (or Mistakes)” for instructions on “drying” and measuring shredded vegetables.

** If you have gluten or wheat allergies, see “Method (or Mistakes)” for alternative ingredients or recipe.

Pineapple Filling:

  • 1 can pineapple slices in juice (juice drained and reserved***)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup evaporated cane juice (like Wholesome Sweeteners)
  • 4 tsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp of water

*** I used the pineapple juice from the slices in my cake, but feel free to use water if you choose to omit the pineapple filling – especially if you have any allergy restrictions.


I will share the icing recipe later this week.

Harvest Zucchini Carrot Cake with Pineapple Filling_vegan no sugar dairy free egg free_Nom Yum & Free

Can you spot where Baby Girl picked off a circle?

As is tradition in my family, we let the birthday baby grab for her first birthday cake. As such, I really wanted a cake with “traditional” buttercream icing (I did lemon buttercream). So the icing is not refined sugar free – but it is top 8 allergen free and completely dye free, using fresh berries for the shades of pink used for the whimsical pink dots and hearts and India Tree Nature’s Colors pink sugar. (I didn’t use India Tree natural dyes because I found they didn’t mix well with oil-based icings when making these top 8 allergen free chocolate cake pops.)

Method (or Mistakes)

Harvest Cake:

Zucchini Squash Carrot Cake Allergy FriendlyIf you have a gluten or wheat allergy, simply replace the whole wheat flour with 3 cups of gluten free flour mix plus 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum or simply double this recipe for top 8 allergen free zucchini and carrot cupcakes (if you want to replace the crushed pineapple with applesauce – slightly increase your flours).

Use a box grater to shred zucchini and carrots. Place shredded zucchini in between several paper towels, and then wring/squeeze out excess water as if you were wringing out a washcloth. Repeat until zucchini is “dried” a bit (I repeated about 3-4 times). Use same procedure to “dry” shredded carrots (you will not need to repeat as many times). Measure then set aside dried shredded vegetables.

Use buttery spread to “grease” three 8-inch diameter circular cake pans. Then line the bottom of each pan with a piece of parchment paper, cut in a circular shape. “Butter” bottom of pans again. Then dust each pan with flour, tapping pan gently when upside down to remove excess. Set pans aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a small saucepan, gently stir together ground flax seeds and pineapple juice. Stirring constantly, heat mixture on high heat until boiling , and then reduce to medium-high heat and cook for 3 minutes. (Mixture should resemble consistency of egg whites). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and all spice, and then set aside.

In a large bowl add oil and the flax seeds mixture. Use a hand or electric mixer to beat mixture on low speed until thickens (about 1 minute). Gradually add evaporated cane juice in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl and beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with addition of applesauce. Beat after each addition just until combined (do not overbeat).

Use a spatula to fold in zucchini and carrots until incorporated. Spoon ⅓ of mixture into each prepared cake pan. Use spatula to spread mixture evenly on the bottom of each pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 23 minutes, until a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean. Let pans cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then quickly and gently flip each pan to place cakes on rack. Remove parchment paper, and let cakes cool completely.

Pineapple Filling:

Follow the order of this filling recipe; do not try to take short cuts like crushing the pineapples before cooking in hopes to get the same result. I tried this, and it didn’t work. The results of not following my original recipe: (1) a too watery pineapple filling; (2) a too saturated cake; (3) a buttercream icing that wouldn’t stick but poured down the sides of the cake – as my husband described, like lava out of a volcano; and (4) an all-nighter two days before the party to bake another cake (thank goodness I had time to “spare” and a few remaining ingredients). Lesson learned: if it works with your test cake – stick with it!

After draining pineapple slices, cut each slice into small chunks (about 16 parts). Gently stir together cut pineapple, ½ cup pineapple juice (or water), and evaporated cane juice in a medium sauce pan.

Heat pineapple mixture on medium-high to high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Every 10 minutes, use a potato masher or spoon to mash the pineapples some.

After 30 mins “puree” mixture in a blender by pulsing until resembles applesauce. Use a strainer to strain mixture. Reserve “pineapple sauce” and discard strained pineapple.

Return pineapple sauce to saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into 3 tablespoons of water, then whisk into pineapple sauce. Return saucepan to stove and heat until boiling, stirring on occasion. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, until filling has thickened.

Set aside and let cool completely.


allergen free dairy free egg free vegan zucchini carrot cake cupcakeOnce cake layers and filling have cooled completely, place one cake layer on a cake plate or other serving dish. Then spread ½ of the pineapple filling evenly over the cake. Add another cake layer, then spread remainder of filling before placing the final layer on top of the cake.

(Tip: I placed my bottom layer on a piece of circular parchment paper cut the same size so I could add icing and freeze my cake, and then easily move the finished cake to a glass serving plate before thawing on the day of the event.)

Serve as is. Or cover with Lemon Buttercream Icing (I’ll share recipe on Thursday). Or drizzle with a Homemade Refined Sugar Free Caramel (just replace the brown sugar with evaporated cane juice).


First Birthday Cake Allergen Free Allergy Friendly Vegan Sugar Free Nom Yum & Free

Baby Girl’s approval of her 1st (vegan, allergy friendly, refined sugar free) Birthday Cake

As some of you may have seen on my Facebook page, Baby Girl approved highly of her vegetable packed Harvest Spice 1st Birthday Cake (free of dairy, eggs, nuts, soy, refined sugars, and dye). She enjoyed it so much that she even finished off Big Brother’s piece when he stepped away for a minute.

The best thing is I didn’t feel bad watching her devour it or packing it as a snack (minus the icing) in her daycare lunch bag, because I knew the cake was packed with zucchini, carrots, and whole wheat – and free of sugar and most of the top food allergens.

All of our party guests were impressed by how moist and flavorful this cake was. I told very few of them that it was vegan, allergen free, and refined sugar free. And I bet most of my friends and family won’t realize what was NOT in this cake until they read this blog post. Surprise! :)

The spice combination really added to the autumn-like harvest vegetables, making this the perfect birthday cake for the change of the seasons.

Many guests also commented on the refreshing-ness of the fruity filling. I tried tasting it several times in cake to see if I could tell that it was pineapple (really – that’s why I kept going back for more, for testing purposes 😉 ). I don’t think I would have known that it was pineapple if I hadn’t made it. My friends agreed – but then added that it was surprisingly delicious all the same. A few even told me it was their favorite part of the cake (good thing I didn’t serve the lava version).

So the good news: my “first” layered cake was a hit! This was even more exciting because it was a healthy, vegan, allergen free, refined sugar free, vegetable and fruit packed treat that I decorated myself with dye free pink icing (so maybe I got carried away a bit with this fun E-Z Deco Icing Pen I came across). And it was for my allergy-stricken Baby Girl’s 1st Birthday – creating for her a world where allergy friendly and nom yum yum coexist!!

The bad news: now that Baby Girl is 1-year old, it’s time for another round of testing at the allergist this week. After the lessons I learned from her first trip to the allergist, I will admit I’m nervous about returning for more poking and prodding. At least this time going into it, I know a bit more what to expect. Please wish us luck!

Allergy Friendly Vegan Dairy Free Egg Free Vegetable Zucchini Carrot Applesauce CakeWondering what else was on Baby Girl’s Allergy Friendly 1st Birthday plate?  On Thursday, I will try to post links to some of the “recycled” allergen free recipes on the menu, in addition to the dye free pink lemon icings that I admittedly got carried away with when playing with my icing pen.

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Featured on Gluten-Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday


Shared on {Gluten Free} Weekly Meal Plan, Gluten-Free Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Crazy Sweet Tuesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Fat Tuesday, Keep It Real Thursday, Gluten Free Friday, Whole Food Friday, Allergy Friendly Friday

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