Guess whose birthday is just under a month away? Hard to believe, but this little girl is turning 3.
When I looked at the ingredients on the box, I was sick to my stomach and vowed to make her a healthier cake for her next birthday (and all future birthdays).
Boxed cake mixes are filled with ingredients you don’t want your child ingesting: preservatives galore, hydrogenated oils (trans fat), neurologically damaging artificial colors and flavors, and more sugar than flour. Oh, and of course the flour is white, bleached flour.
Oh, but those boxed cake mixes are moist. So easy to perfect. So very tempting. But not worth it. Keep your mind focused on what’s important here, friends.
Homemade cakes are intimidating. I’m not a baker by trade. I don’t have years of standing in a grandmother’s kitchen watching and learning the art of baking. But what I do have is determination, the will to learn, and a passion for feeding my family the healthiest, most nourishing foods I can.
This old dog is willing to learn new tricks, so I turned to my trusty old friend, The Joy of Cooking. It’s my go-to cookbook when I need to learn technique.
I studied the cake section like a student hell-bent on getting an A. I wasn’t going to give up until I understood the basic components of making a cake. Then I’d worry about the healthy part.
Once I was thoroughly confused, but ready to try a cake from scratch, I started developing a recipe.
In case you aren’t convinced, here are the benefits of making your own healthy cake from scratch:
- No artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined white sugar, or trans fats like the boxed cakes.
- You can avoid white flour in favor of a whole grain flour.
- You can greatly reduce the amount of sugar.
- You have the ability to use organic, cultured butter (and use less of it).
- You can use high-quality, farm-fresh eggs. (I get my eggs from this farm. I highly recommend finding a local farm for much more nutritious eggs)
All of these things add up to a much healthier birthday cake than the standard. But is it possible to include all of these components and still have moist cake that tastes good?
After last year’s healthy-cake disasters, I had no idea. Now I know the answer is yes. This cake is moist and delicious!
I knew I was going to go for a banana cake as using bananas is a great way to naturally sweeten baked goods and reduce the amount of sugar used. I added chocolate chunks because Meghan loves chocolate.
I think this cake would be great with chocolate frosting, but I wanted to use strawberry because a pink cake matches the theme of her birthday party better. Priorities, right? It works nicely–like a banana split!
I know this post is getting lengthy with explanation, so let me get right to the recipe.