I can’t believe it was already over a month ago that we celebrated my niece’s first birthday! School and work have clearly been getting in the way of me keeping up with recipes and blogging. So here we are, better late than never, with the recipe for Margo’s Low-Sugar Smash Cake. If a baby is getting an entire cake to herself, it ought to be healthy and we certainly didn’t want to give her tons of sugar.
This recipe is only sweetened with real fruit (banana, strawberries, and unsweetened applesauce). However, coming up with a sugar-free frosting is a bit more challenging. Instead of my conventional buttercream that consists of pure butter and sugar (delicious, but not even close to nutritious), I did a simple whipped cream. Typically when I make whipped cream, I use heavy cream, vanilla, and a touch of powdered sugar. This time, I used pure maple syrup instead. If you want to go completely sugar-free, you could omit the syrup as well. It won’t taste very good (I tried it), but Baby probably won’t know the difference, especially if he/she has never had sugar before.
How to Make Low-Sugar Smash Cake
Making this Low-Sugar Smash Cake is very simple. Start by preheating to oven to 350 degrees and grease two 4-inch springform pans with coconut oil. Place a circle of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan. Next, make a flax egg by whisking three tablespoons of hot water with one tablespoon of ground flax seed. Set the mixture aside to set up. It will be somewhat gelatinous when it’s ready. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. It may be helpful to sift the ingredients in a mesh strainer to remove any clumps of flour.
Set the dry ingredients aside and place the banana, strawberries, and applesauce in a blender or food processor. Blend the fruits until you have a smooth puree. If you’re using frozen strawberries since they aren’t in season right now, make sure they are thawed first. Transfer the puree to a medium bowl and add the milk, flax “egg”, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Do not overmix. Evenly distribute the batter between the two cake pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of each one and if it comes out clean, they are done.
Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes before releasing them from the pans and placing them on a cooling rack to cool completely. When they are totally cool, wrap each one in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Seal them in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2-4 hours and up to a couple weeks. Having a frozen cake is much easier to frost, especially with something as sensitive as whipped cream. It’s also handy because the cake can be made in advance and frozen until you’re ready to use it.
Frosting the Cake
When you’re ready to frost your Low-Sugar Smash Cake, remove the layers from the freezer and unwrap. If they formed domes during baking, use a sharp, serrated knife to level them so that they stack nicely.
A Note on Heavy Cream
When working with heavy cream, it’s critical to check the ingredients! Many conventional brands contain extra ingredients such as mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 80, and carrageenan (which can lead to stomach upset and inflammation in some individuals). Thankfully, brands such as Organic Valley don’t use such ingredients. Their regular, pasteurized heavy cream contains nothing but cream. They do have an ultra-pasteurized version that also has gellan gum added as a stabilizer for longer shelf life, but thankfully none of the other ingredients commonly found in cream.
To make the whipped cream frosting, pour the whipped cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment. (A hand mixer could be used instead.) Mix on medium high speed until stiff peaks begin to form. Then add the maple syrup if using. Continue whipping until the cream is thick and fluffy.
Place one cake layer on a 6-inch, round cake board and place it on a turn table or cake stand. Scoop some whipped cream on top and spread it around. Place the next layer on top and scoop some more whipped cream on top of that layer as well. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting around the top and sides of the cake. If desired, fill a piping bag with whipped cream to pipe a boarder around the top an bottom.
Make sure the Low-Sugar Smash Cake stays refrigerated until it’s time for baby to demolish it! Enjoy!
Treats to accompany the Low-Sugar Smash Cake…
Since baby will likely be digging to this cake on his/her own, it might be a good idea to have a more conventional cake at your party. Here are some recipes for cakes that actually contain sugar and will taste a little better than baby’s healthy version.
- Chocolate Cappuccino Cake
- Chai Tea Latte Cake
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake
- Banana Chocolate Chip Cake
- Coffee Infused Cake with Mocha Frosting
- Milk and Honey Chocolate Cupcakes
Low-Sugar Smash Cake
- 3 Tbsp hot water
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp Celtic sea salt
- 1 banana mashed
- 2 large strawberries
- ¼ cup applesauce unsweetened
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 4-inch cake pans with coconut oil. Place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed with hot water. Set aside and allow it to set up slightly. This will act as an egg.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the mashed banana, strawberries, and applesauce to a blender or food processor. Blend until well combined into a puree.
- Transfer the fruit mixture into a medium bowl and add the milk, flax "egg", and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter between the two cake pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. It should come out clean when inserted into the center of each cake.
- When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes before releasing from the pans. Then allow them to cool completely.
- When they are totally cool, tightly wrap each one in plastic wrap, followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 2-4 hours and up to a few weeks if making in advance.
- When the cakes are frozen, remove from freezer and unwrap. Since whipped cream is so temperature sensitive, it helps to have a cold cake.
- If the layers have domes, use a sharp, serrated knife to level them so that they stack nicely.
- Pour the whipped cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whipping attachment.
- Mix on medium high speed until stiff peaks begin to form. Then add the maple syrup if using.
- Continue whipping until the cream is thick and fluffy.
- Place one layer on a 6-inch, round cake board and place it on a turn table or cake stand. Scoop some whipped cream on top and spread it around.
- Place the next layer on top and scoop whipped cream on top of that layer as well. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting around the top and sides of the cake. If desired, fill a piping bag with whipped cream to pipe a boarder around the top an bottom.
- Store cake in the refrigerator until it's time to let baby demolish it!