we celebrated amesy's 1st with confetti balloons, a little taco and guac spread, our dear family, a couple of birthday portraits, and some dinosaur cake! i had planned his birthday a bit more elaborately in my head months back. but it turns out all he needed was some balloons, tickles and love from his fam, and some smash-friendly cake. i know i mentioned that i was going to try and make his cake in the shape of an actual dinosaur. clearly that didn't happen. because as it turns out, i'm not a magician, nor am i that talented in the cake decorating/intricate icing department. i'm reaaaaally good at complicating situations so i took a step back from the endless cake scenarios playing out in my mind and thought about ames, and what he might like. he's a pretty easy going babe, so a simple, easy-peasy mini cake, some cookie "dirt", and a plastic dinosaur on top was going to be perfect for him. i'm not sure whether he enjoyed the happy birthday song, the smashing part, or the actual eating of the cake more, but he definitely had fun at his little party :)
at one point when frank and i were setting up amesy's party, i was kind of struck with this profound parent-y feeling. i've been at parties, helped set them up, thrown shindigs for friends, etc. but it was different and so, so special making a little party for him that it kind of surprised me a bit by how much it struck me. i didn't think being a mom would change in any way. and to a certain degree i'm exactly who i was, but being a mama to ames is the very best feeling i've ever felt and could ever feel. it's similar to how i would feel every christmas morning when i was a kid, i'm just so excited to spend the day with him and see how he takes in his young world.
anywho, let's talk cake. this baby cake is grain free and a made with almond and cassava flour. it's sweetened with banana puree, some coconut sugar (which is completely refined sugar free), and a few drops of stevia. the frosting/whip is just straight up coconut fat from a can of refrigerated coconut milk with a few drops of stevia (not that i think he would have noticed if it weren't sweetened). i chose the ingredients carefully here because i wanted it to be cakey and enjoyable as a sweet treat for ames, but i also didn't want his blood sugar sky-rocketing out of control. and judging by amesy's reaction, i think i found a really great balance of both with this cake. yay! and it's even good for adults too! my dad and brother ate their fair share ;)
peace & love. xo!
baby-friendly dinosaur "smash" cake | gf/df/grain free/refined sugar free
i know cassava flour is hard to come by in some areas, and quite expensive. while i haven't tried it, arrowroot powder would probably make a great substitute.
| makes one 3-tiered, 3-inch layer cake |
- 1 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup cassava flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup banana puree (roughly 2 bananas)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, room temp
- 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil
- 2 pasture raised eggs, room temp
- 4-6 drops liquid stevia
- 1 cup ground chocolate cookies (i like these or a homemade version), for "dirt"
- dinosaur figurines
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for at least 24 hours
- 4 drops liquid stevia
adult-friendly chocolate dinosaur cake
- this recipe, substituting the olive oil for coconut oil
- 1 cup non-hydrogenated palm shortening
- 1 cup powdered coconut sugar (i followed ashlae's recipe here, and used 1 cup coconut sugar, and 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
- preheat oven to 350°F, and grease and line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with at least 2-inch sides.
- in a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cassava flour, coconut sugar, cacao, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- in another large bowl, whisk together the banana puree, milk, oil, eggs, and stevia.
- mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined. pour the batter into the cake pan tilting it to get the batter evenly dispersed. bake in the center of your oven for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick come out clean.
- place the cake on a rack to cool. once the cake is completely cool invert it onto a piece of cling wrap. refrigerate the cake for at least 5 hours, or overnight.
- use a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to cut three layers out of the cake. (there will be quite a bit of cake remnants. i used small cookie cutters to make bite-size cakes for amesy's cousin and other guests.)
- make the coconut whip. turn the coconut milk can upside down and open it from the bottom. pour out the coconut water (you can reserve it for smoothies, etc.) and scoop the coconut fat from the can into a bowl. using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the whip until it's fluffy. add the stevia and mix again. cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
- use an offset spatula to frost the top of one cake layer, add the other top and add the same amount of coconut whip, add the last layer and frost the top and sides with a thin layer of whip. refrigerate for roughly 30 minutes, and then frost with another layer (a second layer isn't totally essential, but because the cake is chocolate, the coconut whip will turn slightly brown with one layer if it's sitting long enough.) add cookie crumbs to the bottom of the cake and little on top. plop a dinosaur on top, and let the smashing begin.
large chocolate dinosaur cake
- follow the method here, but instead of using a bundt pan, grease and line two. 6-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- bake the layers until the a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, about 35-38 minutes. let the layers cool completely. wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.
- make the frosting. add the shortening to a large bowl. sift in the powdered coconut sugar and cacao; add the vanilla and milk. mix together using an electric mixer on medium low until the frosting is fluffy and creamy.
- frost the top of one layer, then place the other layer on top. frost the tops and sides with a thin layer to coat it. refrigerate for 30 minutes, then frost the top and sides again in a final, thicker layer. add the cookie crumbs to the bottom of the cake, and make little mounds on top of the cake. decorate with dinosaurs, and slice and serve the cake.