Somehow, in three weeks our baby will be a whole year old. No one knows how it happens and how the time goes so fast, but while I try to work it out I’m making baby cake! I don’t know that recipe testing was really essential, but I got sentimental and thought Clayton needed a cake that I’d tested out. Let’s be honest, he’d happily eat a sweet potato and be done, but then let’s be honest again, the smash cake is 100% about the adults watching the frosting plastered baby and absolutely not the child at all. So we’ll forego a sweet potato, and Clayton will be getting this!
It’s a value deep in my heart (!) that my kids won’t forgo fun food for the sake of health. I don’t want them to not know what real cake tastes like because they were my children! So I’m not going to feed him an applesauce/carrot/oat combination and tell him it’s cake. I’ll feed him those things, I just won’t try to palm it off as cake. It’s not cake. I’m also not going to stuff him full of refined sugar because he turned one. Balance.
So we’re going for a date sweetened, grain free chocolate cake, covered in whipped coconut cream. It’s definitely sweet but it’s whole fruit sweetened, with nothing refined, and all the nutrient dense goodness still there!
1 cup dates (8 fl oz)
1/2 cup (4 fl oz) coconut oil, melted
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
1 oz cocoa (roughly 1/4 cup)
3 oz blanched almond flour (roughly 3/4 cup)
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch pink salt (can omit depending on how you feel about salt and babies!)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
Note: I use weights here because for baking it’s a lot more precise than the different between two different people measuring one cup! But you can use the equivalents.
The night before: Set a can of coconut cream in the fridge to separate out. Make sure you have the full version, not a light version. (And if you can shoot for a BPA free can like THIS one.)
An hour before: Put the dates in a small bowl and just cover them with hot water. Leave them to soften up until you are ready to bake! Occasionally dates are very very soft, if so you can omit this step.
To start the cake, transfer the dates and 2 tablespoons of the soaking water into a high powered blender with the egg yolks and melted (but not hot) coconut oil. Blend them up until you have a completely smooth paste. Scrape the smooth mixture out into a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, sift the cocoa, among flour, baking powder and vanilla together. Gently fold this into the blended mixture.
Add the eggs to a clean dry bowl and use an electric whisk to beat them until the are sturdy peaks, it will take about 3 minutes. Take a good sized dollop and add it to the cake batter, using a metal spoons gently fold it in. It won’t want to distribute evenly but work with it, gently folding. Starting with a small amount loosens the cake batter so you can add the rest without beating out all the air. When the first dollop is incorporated, add the rest of the egg white and again, gently fold it in until it’s all just combined!
Spoon the batter out and gently spread it into a lined 8.5-9″ round cake tin. Pop it in a preheated 350F oven for 20 minutes. Every oven is different so check it after 16 minutes, you want it to be just springy to the touch, and to have an inserted skewer come out clean – then it’s done. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.
When the cake is completely cool, use a 3” diameter round cutter to carefully cut four circles from the cake. Options: 1) cut round a wide mason jar lid, 2) use a diy 3” paper circle, 4) you can use a larger diameter cutter and get 3 circles depending on the height of cake you want. 5)
Just bake double, and divide into 2 8.5-9” pans for a full sized cake.
Note: Yes you will have to ‘extra’ cake, but if the cake is for a baby’s smash cake, then you need a bit to taste too, right? I do. You can also bake it in four mini tins and lower the cooking time, but I think more people have access to a 8.5” round than 4 3” rounds! For the full size adult version, just bake double, and divide into 2 8.5” pans.
For the Coconut Whipped Cream: Remove the can of coconut cream from the fridge and open it. Spoon the solid white part out into a mixing bowl and save the water for a smoothie. Using the electric whisk, beat the cream until it is whipped and fluffy. Spoon a quarter of it onto the first layer of cake, and any fruit/jam you want as well, then add the next cake layer. Repeat that until you have all 4 layers. If it wasn’t a smash cake I’d sad add a skewer to the centre for support, but that’s a bad plan for a smash cake so you’ll just need to keep the cream layer fairly thin so it’s stable! Finally top with anything you like, and refrigerate until it’s time to watch the baby faceplate!