Let me start out by saying that I seriously can’t believe how freaking fantastic this healthier birthday cake is. It’s paleo friendly, gluten free, grain free and easily dairy free and so good that everyone will think you got it from some fancy bakery. BUT NOPE, you’ve made it from scratch, with love and you can feel good knowing it’s a bit better than traditional cakes.
The first time I made this cake was a few months ago on a whim — it turned out beautifully and tasted exactly like funfetti cake, so I retested it three more times, just to make sure it was absolutely perfect for you. And it is!
Made with grain free almond flour and coconut flour, naturally sweetened with pure maple syrup, fluffy, and beautiful — this gluten free birthday cake is perfect for birthdays or any special celebration. I can’t wait for you to make it — don’t forget to come back and rate the recipe when you do!
Healthy birthday cake ingredients
This healthy birthday cake is gluten free, grain free and easily made dairy free with a simple adjustment. You won’t need too many specialty ingredients either! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Eggs: you’ll need 4 eggs in this birthday cake recipe to give it the proper texture. I have not tested it with vegan eggs (such as flax eggs) so I’m not sure how it would turn out. Let me know if you try it!
- Maple syrup: this healthy birthday cake is naturally sweetened just with pure maple syrup!
- Tahini: I love baking with tahini because it adds the perfect texture and moisture without creating a different flavor.
- Coconut oil: we’re using some coconut oil to add moisture to the cake. You can also sub ghee, melted butter or melted vegan butter.
- Vanilla & almond extract: both vanilla extract and almond extract give the cake that true birthday cake flavor.
- Almond flour: be sure to use a fine, blanched almond flour to get the right texture. I use Bob’s Red Mill.
- Coconut flour: the coconut flour also creates the perfect texture, just remember not to pack it.
- Baking soda & salt: to ensure proper baking.
- Sprinkles: feel free to use any sprinkles you’d like (even fun holiday ones!) I love this natural brand of sprinkles and this one is another great option.
- Butter: salted (or vegan buttery stick such as Earth Balance), at room temperature
- Powdered sugar: the buttercream frosting is sweetened with organic powdered sugar. You’re welcome to try my paleo powdered sugar, too, just note that the color may be darker.
- Optional: you may need to add a bit of milk to the frosting if it’s too thick. I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk but any milk will work.
Tips for making this healthy birthday cake
- You need a few essential kitchen tools for this recipe including: 6 inch cake pans, parchment paper, an offset spatula for the frosting, a good set of mixing bowls and a nice cake stand.
- Remember to use eggs that are at room temperature and that your coconut oil has cooled after melting it. This will prevent the eggs from coagulating in the batter.
- Pack your almond flour but DO NOT pack your coconut flour.
- Make sure you follow the directions as written, and wait until the cakes are completely cool before frosting them. After they are frosted, I recommend storing this dairy free birthday cake in fridge for optimal freshness.
- Do a crumb coat for the frosting first. Frost the layers as you normally would and then coat the outside of the cake with a very thin layer of frosting then place in fridge for 10-15 minutes before you finish frosting. This is so that the crumbs stick to this layer of frosting and not your main layer.
- You can make this cake 1-2 days ahead of time and it will still be absolutely delicious!
How to make dairy free birthday cake
This healthy birthday cake recipe can easily be made dairy free by simply using a vegan buttery stick in the frosting. If you have a favorite dairy free or vegan frosting you can feel free to use that, too!
What makes this birthday cake healthy?
While this birthday cake recipe is meant to be a more indulgent treat for special occasions, I made a few swaps from traditional birthday cake to make it a bit healthier (but still absolutely delicious).
- Instead of using white, refined sugar, we’re simply sweetening the cake itself with pure maple syrup. Avoid that sugar headache! You can also try using my paleo powdered sugar in the frosting instead of regular, organic powdered sugar.
- It’s gluten & grain free thanks to almond and coconut flour.
- It’s packed with healthy fats from the tahini, coconut flour and almond flour.
How to store gluten free birthday cake
You can actually make this gluten free birthday cake recipe 1-2 days ahead of time! I like to make the cakes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for easy assemble, but you can also store it after you’ve frosted the cake, too! I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to freeze homemade birthday cake
Feel free to freeze this dairy free birthday cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing it unfrosted and in individual layers for best results. First, wrap each individual layer in plastic wrap, then aluminium foil and then place the cakes in a zip-top freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
More birthday cake themed recipes
I hope you love this delicious, healthy birthday cake recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Healthy Birthday Cake
The BEST healthy birthday cake you'll ever make that's naturally sweetened and easily made dairy free. This gluten free birthday cake recipe is filled with fun sprinkles and topped with an incredible, vegan-friendly vanilla buttercream. The perfect way to celebrate birthdays and holidays!
- Wet ingredients:
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup tahini
- 1/2 cup melted and cooled coconut oil (or sub ghee or melted butter)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- Dry Ingredients:
- 2 cups packed super fine blanched almond flour (I use bob’s red mill)
- ½ cup coconut flour (do not pack)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sprinkles
- For the frosting:
- 1 cup salted butter (or vegan buttery stick such as Earth Balance), at room temperature
- 2 1/2 -3 cups powdered sugar **
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Optional: 2 teaspoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1/3 cup sprinkles
- Line the bottom of three 6-inch round cake pans or two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper rounds. Spray parchment paper and sides of the pans with nonstick cooking spray. YOU SHOULD USE PARCHMENT PAPER or the cake is likely to stick. Please do not forget.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup and tahini until smooth. Slowly whisk in the melted and cooled coconut oil until it’s well incorporated. Then stir in the vanilla and almond extract. The mixture should be smooth and well combined. Note: It is important that your eggs are at room temperature otherwise the coconut oil will coagulate. The coconut oil should be melted but not HOT, but rather closer to room temp.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatula until smooth. Next, stir in the sprinkles until combined into the batter.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide batter evenly between pans and spread out with a spatula to smooth the tops. Allow batter to sit in pans while your oven preheats. Bake for 18-28 minutes in the two 8-inch pans or 25-35 minutes for three 6-inch pans. Cakes are done when a tester comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting or removing from the pans. The cake should be room temperature when you frost it. This is very important. Cakes can be made a day ahead if you’d like.
- Make your frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the softened butter (or vegan butter) and whip on high until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and beat for 2-3 minutes more. You may need to add in a teaspoon or two of milk to thin the frosting out, but it depends on how you like it. Finally fold the sprinkles into the frosting with a spatula so that they don’t break up.
- Now it’s time to frost the cake: place about 1-2 tablespoons down onto the cake stand and spread out. Invert cake onto the cake stand, add about ½ heaping cup frosting between each layer, repeat with each cake, then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. If the cake is slightly ‘naked’ on the outside, that’s okay, it’s going to be delicious! Sprinkle with some additional sprinkles on top to make it look pretty.
- Cake will stay good at room temp for a day or so, then should be placed in the fridge. Cake will stay good for 5-7 days in the fridge, and should be covered to ensure freshness.
To store: I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze: feel free to freeze this birthday cake either frosted or unfrosted for up to 2 months. I recommend freezing it unfrosted and in individual layers for best results. First, wrap each individual layer in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil and then place the cakes in a zip-top freezer bag. When you’re ready to serve it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats