The best celebratory gluten free Healthy Birthday Cake with homemade frosting. This beautiful layer cake is moist, loaded with colorful sprinkles and easy to make using wholesome ingredients and no refined sugar!
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Not to toot my own horn, but the satisfaction I get from everyone devouring healthy birthday cake with almond flour and asking for seconds is everything! The same thing happens when I serve healthy vanilla cupcakes or whole wheat healthy chocolate cake.
You don’t need to follow a gluten free diet to enjoy a slice, but it’s a great one to have for kids’ birthday parties. It’s nice knowing that kids who follow a gluten free diet won’t feel left out and can have a piece too!
Healthy birthday cake is made with wholesome ingredients, no refined sugar in the batter, and yogurt keeps it nice and moist. I like to fill mine with a layer of luscious healthy buttercream frosting because it’s the stuff dreams are made of!
What Makes This a Healthier Cake Recipe?
- Wholesome ingredients: It’s not loaded with low carb veggies or anything, but we are using good quality, healthier ingredients than store bought or boxed cakes.
- Gluten free: Eliminating wheat flour is great for people with celiac or who find it causes inflammation.
- Protein: The yogurt, eggs, and almond flour provide plenty of protein! See, healthy cake 😀
- Non refined sugar: Sweetened with the ever-versatile maple syrup giving us antioxidants and vitamins!
Ingredients You’ll Need
This simple yet elegant gluten free healthy birthday cake will be ready in an hour and a half! Top it with my healthy buttercream frosting as listed below, or your favorite kind of frosting in whatever flavor you choose!
- Eggs: We’re using a few eggs for binding this cake because there is no gluten. We need the extra support to hold it all together!
- Maple syrup: A natural sweetener that adds incredible maple flavor. Honey works but the flavor will be altered in an obvious way.
- Plain yogurt: Delivering a nice rich tang and added moisture. The acid reacts with the leavening agents making it soft and fluffy!
- Oil: Use any neutral-tasting oil.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will be used in both the cake batter and the healthy buttercream.
- Baking powder & baking soda: We use both in this cake to deliver a beautiful rise. Nothing flat or dense here!
- Salt: Used to enhance the flavors of the rest of the ingredients to result in the best tasting cake!
- Gluten free flours: For this cake, we’re using both almond flour and coconut flour. They both provide a different texture, but work together nicely in a cake!
- Sprinkles: Optional in the batter, but if you do use them, use whatever festive colors you want. The flecks of colorful sprinkles are so much fun to eat and they photograph well for cake smash pictures too!
- Cooking spray: I use misto. Using a nonstick spray helps with the removal of the cakes from the pans.
- All-purpose flour: The start of the buttercream is made with a roux. This helps to thicken it up and make it pipeable and spreadable. Don’t use whole wheat flour for the frosting. It’s heavier and has a deeper flavor, but also the flecks of bran aren’t cute.
- Sugar: Regular white granulated sugar will be incorporated as part of the roux. This gives it a chance to dissolve into a smooth consistency.
- Milk: The liquid portion of the buttercream frosting. Brings the dry ingredients together and helps to dissolve the lumps in the roux.
- Butter: Softened but not too soft. You don’t want to be adding any melted butter in there!
- Pinch of salt: If the butter isn’t salted. This way you can control the amount you’re using.
Gluten free frosting: Although it has not been tested, I think a 1:1 all-purpose gluten free flour could be used in my buttercream recipe. Try it and let me know. See below for more frosting inspiration!
How to Make Healthy Birthday Cake
To bake the cake
Lining the bottom of circle pans gets a little tricky and to help you out, I’m going to get you to turn over the two cake pans upside down onto a sheet of parchment paper. Trace the circles, cut them out, then bam! You’ve got two liners for the bottoms of your pans.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine and whisk until smooth and lump free.
To this same bowl, add both almond flour and coconut flour. For accurate amounts, measure flour using the spoon and level method. Mix with a spatula, folding everything until it’s all combined. If you’re using sprinkles, add those in now! Don’t be afraid to be generous with them.
Transfer cake batter to the prepared cake pans, dividing it equally between the two. Bake on the middle rack for 20-25. Test it out by sticking a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done!
Removing the cakes from the pans: Let them cool for 2 hours before trying to remove them from the pans. When you do, gently circle the edge with a spatula and carefully remove the cakes to separate plates. They are delicate!
To make healthy buttercream frosting
Heat flour and sugar in a small pot for 30 seconds over medium heat, while whisking constantly. Then, slowly add the milk and cook, and whisk until the mixture thickens. Never stop stirring!
Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool uncovered for 20 minutes. Transfer the roux to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and chill it for 30 minutes in the fridge.
In a large bowl, beat softened butter for 3 minutes. The butter will become lighter in color. Once it does, turn it on high speed and add the roux a heaping Tbsp at a time until it’s all been incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and salt and continue beating for 2-3 more minutes until the buttercream has stiff peaks.
Fold in any extra sprinkles you want to add!
Wait for the cake to cool: If you frost it while it’s still warm, the buttercream will melt and become runny.
Assemble healthy birthday cake
Put together 4 pieces of square parchment paper into 1 big square. This is to protect your plate from getting icing all over it! Place a dollop of icing in the middle and place one of the slabs on top.
Spread the frosting evenly using almost all of it, reserving just 3/4 of a cup. Place the second cake on top of the first one and use the rest of the frosting to cover the top, coat the sides and cover the middle gap.
Sprinkle with any additional sprinkles, then remove the four pieces of parchment paper underneath, then voila a clean surface! Easy sprinkle and icing clean up tip 🙂
This healthy birthday cake can be sliced into as thick or as thin slices as you’d like. I usually slice about 16 pieces. Serve immediately or chilled and enjoy!
Healthy birthday cake needs frosting, that is what it makes it perfect for any celebration. I think we can all agree that everyone from kids to adults loves a frosted layered cake.
- Healthy chocolate frosting is ganache in texture, gluten free, chocolatey, and so simple! It’s made with your choice of chocolate chips and coconut milk.
- Make a healthy chocolate buttercream frosting by adding some cocoa powder to healthy buttercream frosting. Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting is not only a great contrast in color, but delicious.
- Cream cheese frosting is always a hit and not just for red velvet. Follow instructions for a lighter cream cheese frosting with cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and powdered sugar that I use on my almond flour carrot cake. Or try this whipped healthy cream cheese frosting with Greek yogurt!
- Greek yogurt icing is easy with only 3 ingredients! I use this icing on healthy carrot cake and it is light and creamy.
- Coconut whipped cream is a simple icing I use on almond flour cake. With only two ingredients, powdered sugar and chilled coconut milk, it’s easy to whip up. Top your cake with fresh berries for a light and refreshing healthy birthday cake!
For a taller, but smaller cake, use 3-4 4″ cake pans. You’ll have enough frosting for multiple layers!
To make a larger sheet cake, use a 9×13 baking dish and bake it for 30-40 minutes. Spread the buttercream frosting right on top.
All you need to do to make this a dairy free cake is to swap the plain yogurt with coconut yogurt. Use a dairy free frosting, slice it up, and share with me 🙂
I have not tested the recipe as such but you may be able to substitute an egg replacer, but the results will be a bit more flat and dense. With the amount of eggs called for (4 total), I am hesitant to suggest how to make a flax egg or how to make a chia egg, but if you try let us know in the comments.
Unfortunately that will change the texture and taste of the cake. For a sugar free option, I would try a liquid monk fruit maple syrup.
No. Unfortunately, the sweet spot for this gluten free cake is a combination of both.
Can I Make This Cake Ahead of Time?
Bake healthy birthday cake and allow it to cool before placing it in plastic wrap. Keep it in a cool dry area for up to 2 days. Make the frosting up to 2 days earlier as well. Then, combine when you’re ready to assemble and eat.
How to Store Leftovers
Keep any leftover birthday cake stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Make sure it’s covered so that it stays moist.
Sometimes I’ll spend a weekend baking so I can freeze a lot of it. This gluten free healthy birthday cake freezes quite well for up to 2 months, whether whole or in pieces.
Thaw on the counter or in the fridge overnight.
More Cake Recipes To Try
- Healthy blueberry breakfast cake
- Healthy coffee cake
- Healthy pumpkin cake
- Healthy carrot cake
- Greek Yogurt cheesecake
Best Gluten Free Healthy Birthday Cake
For the Cake:
To bake the cake:
- Place two 8 inch cake pans bottoms down on parchment paper, circle around with a pen and cut out each circle with scissors. Place inside each cake pan and spray well with cooking spray, coating the sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add eggs, maple syrup, yogurt, oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk very well until combined and no lumps.
- Add almond flour and coconut flour (make sure to level the top with the knife and do not pack) and mix with spatula until combined. Stir in sprinkles.
- Divide cake batter between 2 cake pans and bake on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and cakes are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool 2 hours. Then carefully cut around the edge with spatula and transfer cakes onto separate plates to cool off completely. Be careful, they are delicate.
To make healthy buttercream frosting:
- In a small pot, add flour and sugar. Place on medium heat and cook for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. While whisking, slowly add the milk to avoid the lumps. Keep whisking all the time. Cook until the mixture thickens into a smooth thick roux, stirring all the time.
- Then turn off heat and let cool in the pot uncovered for 20 minutes. Transfer into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add softened butter and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes, until butter becomes more pale and white. Then while running the mixer on highest speed start adding the roux 1 heaping tablespoon at a time until all added. Then add vanilla and salt (if using) and beat for 2-3 more minutes or until buttercream is thick and holds the peaks. Stir in sprinkles.
To assemble the cake:
- Place 4 pieces of parchment paper on the edges and a dab of frosting in the middle. This will protect your plate from an icing mess.
- Then add one cake, spread almost all of buttercream evenly, reserving about 3/4 cup. Place second cake on top, frost the top and sides with remaining frosting, filling the middle gap and thinly covering the sides. Can sprinkle with more sprinkles.
- Remove the parchment paper pieces. Cut into 16 slices and serve cake immediately or chilled.
Store: Refrigerate covered for up to 5 days.
Freeze: You can freeze leftovers in one piece or as individual slices in an airtight storage container for up to 2 months. Remove and thaw slices as desired on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge overnight. You can also freeze wrapped in plastic cake layers.
Make ahead: Bake, cool and wrap cake layers in plastic. Store in a cool dry place for up to 2 days. Frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days as well. Assemble the cake a few hours before serving.
- Almond flour and coconut flour: I do not recommend to use any other flours because recipe will not work.
- Flour in the frosting: You might be able to use 1:1 all-purpose gluten free flour and less amount of coconut flour, I haven’t tried though. I do not recommend to use whole wheat flour as you will be able to see the bran in the frosting.
- Sprinkles in the batter: You can add sprinkles in the batter or add extra into the frosting and between the layers.
- Honey: You can use honey but cake will have a stronger taste of it.
- 4 inch cake pans: To use smaller 4 inch cakes plans, use 3-4 cake pans and bake for 15-20 minutes. You will have a batter leftover which you can use to make cupcakes.
- Sheet cake: You can make a sheet cake in a large 9 x 13 baking dish, bake for 30-40 minutes (or so) and add buttercream frosting on top.
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