The Cyclist and I are both strong believers in not piling kids full of sugar. I am still kind of amazed at how our society promotes the idea that giving kids sweets and junk food is OK or just for fun. We get all kinds of crazy looks when we say "no, he can't have a 'treat'" or "no, he doesn't eat cake". All I have to say is, I know what some junk food or a piece of cake does in my body; imagine what it does in a 30 pound kid. My best response to the naysayers is "would you like to babysit while he bounces off the walls because he just ate a cup of sugar?" The answer has always been no.
Now, before I move on, let me just say that we aren't super granola-no sugar-no junk-ever-people. But we do (probably) eat healthier than the general population. Plenty of kids get a yummy sugary cake for their birthday and are fine. Our preference to keep the sugar low all the time is just ours. I'm not knocking what anyone else might do with their own kid.
Instead, I'll offer an alternative. In our quest to keep The Munchkin eating healthy but still getting good stuff on special occasions, I was on the lookout for a healthy (er, healthier) cake. This year for The Munchkin's 2nd birthday, I found a recipe for Banana Cream Layer Cake from Eating Well.
Here is the file photo:
This recipe did some pretty interesting and creative stuff to keep the cake tasty but cut the fat and sugar. It calls for whole wheat pastry flour which according to the recipe, "...contains less gluten than regular whole-wheat flour and helps ensure a tender result in delicate baked goods while providing the nutritional benefits of whole grains". For the Bavarian Cream topping, you mix low-fat milk with unflavored gelatin (and some other stuff), let it set and later add in some whipping cream.
So, although this cake does have sugar and whipping cream, it's significantly less than a traditional recipe would call for. And, most importantly, it was really good!! The Munchkin devoured it.
Here is our version:
Note: I was busy chatting with The Munchkin's mom and I let my jello/milk mixture set too long.
I think the topping would have been creamier if I avoided this, but, it still tasted good.
So, after we found this cake and it was successful, I checked Eating Well again when DD's birthday rolled around. His favorite is carrot cake. Lot's of people seem to have the impression that carrot cake is already a healthy (healthier) cake....I guess because it has "carrot" in the title, but it's really pretty decadent.
As an alternative, I found this recipe. According to the site, this carrot cake "...version has about 40 percent less calories and 50 percent less fat than most".
Here is the file photo:
This cake also used the whole wheat pastry flour and buttermilk. It also used crushed pineapple and pineapple juice, which I assume helped cut the sugar. The frosting was good! Low fat or Neufchâtel cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar. The recipe also called for walnuts, which I added, but The Cyclist & DD both requested I leave those out next time. Also, the recipe called for unsweetened coconut, which I could not find, so I just added less coconut than what the recipe called for.
The carrot cake was really good, it did not taste like it was lacking anything. I will use this frosting recipe again for other desserts. I didn't take a pic of my cake.....I cooked it in too small of a pan and ended up cutting and stacking it. It was kind of a mess even though it tasted good. DD sweetly told me he didn't think it was ugly at all. Thanks DD. :)
Last but not least, since we're talking cake, I have to share this one:
This was The Munchkin's 1st Birthday cake. It was a sugar-free banana cake. I did not make it!
But, if you're interested (and in the Sacramento area), I can put you in contact with the baker who did.
You're not surprised it was a bike cake are you?
That is all for now!