Paleo Baby Birthday Cake (Paleo, AIP, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free)


paleo smash cake


How cute is this Paleo Baby Birthday Cake made from sweet potato, beef tallow, carob, avocado and coconut flour!? It’s free of all grains, dairy, nuts and sweeteners which means it fits the bill for any real food baby, toddler or adults big day!


I cannot comprehend how my baby girl is going to be a one-year-old next month. My pre-baby life seems like an eternity away but only 365 days will have passed. They have been filled with emotions at every extreme and not a ton in the middle. Lots of laughing, smiling, heart-bursting joy but also my fair share of tears, frustration, anger and fatigue.


Motherhood is by far the hardest journey I’ve ever been on inclusive of my journey with Hashimoto’s and infertility. I spent many nights of my pregnancy up with anxiety about how I would be able to be the 24/7 guide for another life form. It’s just as hard as I thought it would be, but you take the good with the bad and you let the good keep you going.



paleo first birthday cake


I wanted to take some time today to reflect on what I’ve learned in the last year. You can skip ahead to the recipe if you’d like; this will just be my form of self-therapy.



Having your heart beat outside of your chest and inside the body of another human being is the scariest, most gut-wrenching feeling I can imagine. Every time I hear her cry my cortisol shoots up and I get a pit in my stomach. I know I can’t protect her from everything but I sure wish I could. Watching the news is near impossible for me now, traveling by airplane is a feat, and I’ve had to unpack a lot of post-partum anxiety lately. I know it’s normal, especially for someone who defaults on the anxious side, but it still needs to be addressed lovingly.


She makes me smile so wide and for so long, my lips are actually chapped by the end of the day. I thought high school and college were fun, but parenthood has me smiling and laughing more than ever before. She has taught me that my heart is a bottomless basket of love, care and pride. I wish I had more videos of the two of us interacting, but we are home alone so much that I’d have to set up a hidden camera to catch it all. Actually that’s not a bad idea


Part of me wishes that being a mother was my 1 and only purpose here on earth, but it’s not. It will always be my #1 purpose but I also am realizing I need to expand some of my love and attention to other areas of my life like my marriage, my career and my friendships. None of those things will ever give me the same type of joy and pride that she does, but they all make me a happier and more complete human


I am intrinsically terrible at asking for help. I really need to work on that (but I’ve come a long way since she was a newborn). Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom right now, I have a nanny who comes 6 hours a week so I can go work at a coffee shop, go to the dentist or get a pedicure. This has been extremely beneficial for my mental health. I’ve also started asking my husband for more help around the house. In fact, he vacuumed and steam-cleaned all the floors yesterday (amen, thank you to my incredible hub).


I’m not afraid to tell people no anymore. I used to say “yes” to everything that was asked of me, whether or not it benefited me or not. I am a giver and a helper by nature, and I also have an easily ignited guilty conscience (hello, kindling for autoimmunity and flares). Now if my gut tells me that a particular commitment is going to add stress to my life in an unproductive way, I say no and don’t feel bad about it. The book “Non-Violent Communication” has REALLY helped me with this. If someone is offended, disappointed or pissed off, oh well. Life is too short and modern life is too stressful already to constantly cater to others’ needs before your own.


There are no words for the love you have for your child. I cannot even attempt to describe the immensity of my love for my daughter. The fact that Hallmark tries to capture a mother’s love in a 100-word card baffles me. NO WORDS.








Now that all my sappy emotions have escaped my fingertips, here’s a little valuable information on this adorable 4-layer Baby Smash Cake! I was actually going to forgo birthday cake all together for her first birthday because

1) I didn’t think I could come up with a suitable cake that doesn’t have any grains, dairy, eggs, nuts or sweeteners (even natural ones like maple).

2) I wasn’t sure how I felt about getting her started on treats this early. What changed my mind: I didn’t want to regret not having an adorable, messy photo shoot of my daughter going ham on some cake. It’s an iconic photo!!


My first attempt included a similar birthday cake that was made with sweet potato, avocado and banana but the banana constipated her severely, so that was a big no-go! I landed on this version made from sweet potato (which adds sweetness, moistness, density & acts as a binder), beef tallow (healthy fat and it gives the cake its “donut” taste!), coconut flour (to help hold it together), cinnamon (adds a little sweetness without sugar), baking soda (for fluffiness) and an egg replacer (your choice: chia “egg” or gelatin “egg”). The frosting has the consistency of pudding and is made from a whole avocado, carob powder (a ‘chocolate’ flavor without the caffeine), coconut milk and a touch of coconut oil. The coconut oil helps thicken the frosting once it is refrigerated so that is goes on smoothly.


The texture of this cake is great for babies because it is soft, squishy and sort of melts in your mouth. I can only closely describe it to a pudding cake, if you’ve ever had one of those! The frosting in between each layer adds moisture too. I was concerned about making a cake that was too dry, her grabbing a giant bite and choking on it on her birthday. Again, still working on that new mom anxiety (eek).



This Paleo birthday cake is mom-approved in taste, ingredients & cute factor!



paleo baby cake



Please tag me in your messy baby birthday cake photos on Instagram or Facebook!


I don’t recommend many substitutions here! All ingredients have a purpose. For example, the beef tallow is what gives the cake it’s fried donut taste (pre-cheap industrial oils, donuts and french fries were fried in delicious tallow!) If you replaced it with another solid fat like lard, it would definitely change the taste. For a baby, they won’t notice, but if you want to pick at the leftovers you may not enjoy it as much! I don’t recommend adding sweetener, it’s not necessary. If your baby does well with eggs, you can definitely use an egg in place of the gelatin or chia “egg”. No other grain-free flour will work here. Coconut flour has unique binding and moisture-absorbing properties. I would not use tapioca or arrowroot in its place of you’ll get a very gummy cake. You may leave out the cinnamon if your baby has an intolerance to it; the flavor will be slightly altered and it won’t be as sweet or donut tasting. You can replace the avocado in the frosting with coconut cream most likely in a 1:1 ratio. I prefer avocado because of the fiber and other nutritional properties that make it easier to digest than something as high in fat as coconut cream.




aip birthday cake



Happy Birthday, Baby! Get as messy as you want with this allergy-friendly sweet potato & “chocolate” cake!




24 reviews

Paleo Baby Birthday Cake

Prep Time 00:15 Cook Time 00:15 Serves 1-4


  • For the cake::
  • 1 large baked sweet potato (1 cup mashed), cooled
  • 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons beef tallow, melted (measure before melting)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 chia egg or 1 gelatin egg (recipes in notes)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • For the frosting:::
  • 1 ripe medium avocado, pitted
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or cream, room temp
  • 1/4 cup carob powder
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 3-inch biscuit cutter handy for easy preparation of cake layers.
  2. Prepare the cake. In a food processor, combine the 1 cup mashed and cooled sweet potato with the coconut flour, beef tallow, baking soda and cinnamon until smooth.
  3. Prepare the gelatin or chia "egg" according to directions in notes below. With the machine running, drizzle in the "egg" along with the lemon juice and combine for 30 seconds until smooth.
  4. Place biscuit cutter on baking sheet. Scoop 1/4 cup batter in the cutter and use wet hands to smooth batter into an even circle. Remove biscuit cutter carefully. Repeat this step 3 more times for a total of 4 3-inch mini cakes.
  5. Bake cake layers for 15 minutes. They will rise slightly and be fairly soft when you remove them from the oven. They will firm up as they cool. Cool cake layers completely on the countertop (don't skip or rush this step or the warmth will melt your frosting!)
  6. Meanwhile, while the cakes are baking prepare the frosting by combining all ingredients in a clean food processor until very smooth. Transfer frosting to a glass bowl and keep in fridge while the cakes cool.
  7. To frost the cake: Transfer 1 layer to serving plate. Apply generous layer of frosting on top using a butter knife or mini spatula. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, ensuring you save enough frosting to frost outside of cake too!
  8. Store cake in fridge until ready to serve! Leftovers can be stored for up to 5 days! I ate her leftovers cold for breakfast and they seriously filled my donut void!

Recipe Notes

Each recipe below makes 1 "egg" which is what this recipe calls for:

Chia Egg: Grind 3 tablespoons of whole chia seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder. Measure out 1 tablespoon of ground chia and mix with 3 tablespoons of cool water. Let sit in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes to thicken.

AIP OPTION Gelatin Egg: Whisk 1 tablespoon gelatin with 1 tablespoon cool water until frothy. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of hot water until thickened. Immediately use your gelatin egg where call for in the recipe.


50 comments on “Paleo Baby Birthday Cake (Paleo, AIP, Nut-free, Sugar-free, Egg-free)

  • Is it wrong that I am excited to try this cake out for my birthday coming up on Friday?
    This looks soooo good, can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Coconut flour is very absorbent so there truly isn’t another flour that works here, but you can subbing in cassava flour and increasing the amount. I don’t bake with cassava (I don’t tolerate it) so I’m not quite sure how gummy it gets when mixed with sweet potato! Maybe plantain or sweet potato flour would be better options!

  • I wish I had had this for my boys’ birthdays; it looks and sounds perfect. Amen to all that you said about your first year as a mom; each year is different and rewarding but you are still you and your husband was there before that beautiful baby was. Thanks for all that you say and give to us.

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Never too old for cake, right!? Thank you for reading my thoughts on motherhood so far… it’s been a gratifying, emotional & joyous ride. I can’t believe it’s just started – I feel like I’ve known Grace for years.

  • This is exciting. My baby is turning 1 in about a month and I’ve been stressed out trying to to find an appropriate cake. This seems to be it! I really wanted to do a white frosting. Any suggestions on how to make it white?

      • Could you use white sweet potato to make the cake look white instead of orange? I am hoping to make a white cake with white frosting (coconut cream) smash cake. Thanks!

        • Great idea!!! I think I will try this with white sweet potato, butter instead of tallow, and either coconut cream or plain whipped cream for the frosting with some fresh berries on top. My backup plan is a watermelon “cake” with whipped cream and berries.

          • Alaena Haber says:

            That sounds delicious too! I’m already planning her 2nd birthday cake as I type this!

  • Rachel M. says:

    This was really good! I can’t speak to the fried donut taste as I haven’t had donuts in years, but I was pleasantly surprised to love this so much without any added natural sweeteners. I subbed bacon grease for the beef tallow bc that’s what I had and it’s free. Otherwise, stuck to the recipe. I think next time I’ll just keep the little cakes separate so I can have them over 4 days (or maybe double it and have the over 8!). Thanks for this–I’ve grown sensitive to even natural sweeteners as of late (I have a big sweet tooth) so this is great.

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Yes I prefer treats with no added sweeteners – I have a lot on the site if you do a search! The donut taste comes from the beef tallow so it makes sense you didn’t get it!

  • I’m so excited to try this for my daughters first birthday in June! Thanks for sharing. I wasn’t going to do a cake but this cake sounds perfect ! Also thanks for sharing about motherhood. I completely relate to every word you wrote. ???

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Happy Birthday to your little girl! We had a wonderful party – she got stage fright & wouldn’t eat her cake though! She had it for dinner and breakfast the next day!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      No I would not try that. Baking them in the 3-inch biscuit cutter shape allows them to cook through. It’s a more wet recipe since it’s designed for babies who may not be able to chew a drier, denser cake. The texture is more like a pudding cake, so if you baked in muffins, it would be too gooey.

  • This does look good AND thank u! I love cake recipes where u don’t have to use cassava flour (which doesn’t like me) ?

  • So excited to try this. We are vegan, so beef tarrow isn’t an option, will it still work with coconut oil as the fat? Thank you!

  • Hi! Will lamb tallow work or would it make it gross? Also, can I use acorn squash instead of or halved with sweet potato? Thank you!

  • Could I use coconut oil instead of beef tallow? I’ve never used tallow before and it’s too expensive for me to get online.

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Yes but it will change the taste of the cake – it won’t have that traditional donut taste that I mentioned in the blog post above.

  • Love this!!! So you said no substitutions and even wrote that great (and very detailed) note about substitutions buuuuuuttttttttt…any possibility I could use plantain in lieu of sweet potato. My son has been showing reactivity to sweet potatoes so I’m leaning toward trying plantain. Could a ripe plantain possibly yield similar consistency? Any takers?

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Yes I think a yellow plantain would be best – ripe would likely not have enough starch to bind together! Hope he loves it xo

  • Chelsea Evans says:

    Hi!! This cake sounds amazing!! Our 4th child turns 1 tomorrow and I can’t wait to make this for him. Could I substitute Ghee for the beef tallow?

  • Melodie Siverd says:

    Will the icing hold up nicely if I make this the day before her birthday party? Also, do you think it could be displayed for a few hours at the party, or does it need to be refrigerated until it’s ready to eat?? Thank you!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      Would you consider making me 3-layer Superfoods Chocolate Cake instead for Thanksgiving? It would be more appropriate for a special celebration since this Baby Birthday Cake is much softer, more pudding-like, designed for infants and toddlers feeding skills. You can get my 3-layer cake recipe by signing up for my newsletter at the top of this website!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      It would be less firm since breastmilk doesn’t solidify in the fridge like coconut milk does – maybe use 2 tbsp instead of 1/4 cup!

  • My daughter’s first birthday is this weekend, and I plan on doing a trial run of the recipe this week. Couple questions… 1.) Where does one purchase beef tallow? Or could I sub for coconut oil? 2.) What is the consistency of this cake? Good for “smashing?” 3.) I am assuming the coconut milk you use is the full-fat canned milk, correct? Thank you!

    • Alaena Haber says:

      I purchase it from US Wellness Meats. It does give the cake that chocolate donut taste but you could replace with another solid fat for a different result. Yes it’s like a pudding cake (not pudding… pudding cake lol). Full fat coconut milk – correct!

  • I love your words in this post…so well put. Thank you for the encouragement this post inspired in me and thank you for the recipe. Thanks for sharing!! PS, I’m pretty sure I just purchased your cookbook with Sara…can’t wait to start using it to help reverse my autoimmune disease 🙂

  • I have a question. I’m making this Saturday for my son’s first birthday. If I wanted to make the avocado-coconut cream frosting WITHOUT the carob, would I need to replace that ingredient with another dry ingredient to thicken the frosting? Or would it be thick enough? I’m debating whether to do green frosting or use just coconut to make it white.

      • I really don’t like the taste of carob so I’d hate to buy a tub of it. 😛 I’m sure I’ll figure something out. I have heavy whipping cream and I have canned coconut cream. Something will work out. Although, green avocado frosting would look pretty and he loves avocados. It’s just a smash cake, not for the grownups. 🙂


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