This first birthday cake recipe is a great first cake for baby – it’s gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free {sweetened only with pear juice}. Works great for cupcakes too, which make the perfect size for a tiny smash cake!

First birthday cake or cupcake recipe that's gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free, egg free, and nut free. MSPI friendly.

Tuesday my little boy turned 1. Due to an onslaught of January birthdays we’re not celebrating with a party quite yet, but we couldn’t resist a mini cupcake smashing session on the actual day of this big milestone.

baby's first birthday

Of course that means we needed a first birthday cake!

I was a little unsettled with the idea of loading my baby up with sugar just for the sake of this tradition, but I didn’t want to be that mom. You know the one. The one that refuses to give her kid sugar or anything bad for them, and then they go crazy when mom’s not looking.

first birthday cake recipe

Well he’s obviously a little young for the backlash part of that scenario, but I still didn’t want to make a big thing about it. I know one day of sugar isn’t going to hurt him, but I still didn’t feel good about going crazy with it, especially given his poor sleep habits and the food allergies he’s already dealing with.

first birthday cake recipe for cupcakes

You’d be surprised what comes up when you Google “sugar free” cupcake {or anything}—> a whole lot of recipes that are anything but sugar free. I found things loaded with honey, syrup, and chocolate, all labeled “sugar free”. Umm not so much. Sugar was the least of my worries anyways, given I needed to come up with a first birthday cake recipe that was also gluten free and dairy free.

So I did what I do best: got to experimenting in the kitchen to find a compromise- something that wouldn’t deprive him of the first birthday cake experience, but also wouldn’t be bad for him. I think I succeeded.

cupcakes for baby's first birthday

I probably could have gotten away with not sweetening these at all, but I wanted them to be family friendly- delicious for everyone. Instead of refined sugar, I used 100% fruit juice reduced to enhance the sweetness. It was the perfect bit of sweet plus a little bit of tang from the fruit. I made the first batch with apple & pear juice; the second with apple & pineapple juice, which gave the cupcakes a nice little twist, especially when paired with the coconut frosting. Feel free to experiment with other juices if you try these- I think pomegranate and orange would be delicious!

First Birthday Cake Recipe

Baby Approved Cupcakes

sugar free cupcakes

by with a Side of Sneakers



    For the Cupcakes

    • 2 cups oat flour {or other flour of choice- I used gluten free oats}
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ cup coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup reduced 100% fruit juice {~1 cup of juice}
    • 1 flax egg {1 T flax meal + 3 T water}
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 1 t vanilla

    For the Frosting

    • 1/2 cup coconut cream {from can of full fat coconut milk}
    • 1 Tbsp reduced 100% fruit juice {reserved from cupcakes}


    For the Cupcakes

    Bring 1 cup of 100% no sugar added fruit juice to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat but maintain a boil until juice reduces to a little more than 1/4 cup {it’s ok if you have extra}. Reserve 1 Tbsp for frosting.

    Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes, or 16 smaller cupcakes.

    For the Frosting

    Chill a can of full fat coconut in the fridge overnight.

    Once chilled, turn the can upside and open it. Scrape out the solidified coconut cream from the top of the can.

    Place coconut cream in a chilled mixing bowl and whip on high until starts to turn creamy. Pour in 1 Tbsp of reduced fruit juice. Continue to whip on high until smooth and fluffy.

    Frost cupcakes once cooled.

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    refined sugar free cupcakes

    Now I can’t wait to get started on the cake for his first birthday party- it’s going to be awesome!

    Did you have a smash cake for your baby’s first birthday?

    Click here for more Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes that won’t leave you trapped in the kitchen for hours or hunting down a million bizarre ingredients.