1st Birthday: Cakes

The first birthday is a huge milestone. Some choose to do a small intimate celebration, while others want to have a large birthday bash. Either way, it can be easily done plant-based. This post will first discuss our desserts chosen for a large mostly adult party followed by our son’s 1st birthday, where we celebrated with just the 4 of us.

For our daughter’s 1st birthday (pre-pandemic) we had a family and friends party to celebrate the big day. We chose flamingos as our party theme. I think once the theme was selected it all fell into place. My first tip- settle on a theme. There can be so many to chose from. Scrolling through Pinterest feeds, I quickly became overwhelmed. But the pink flamingo felt right. Our little one gravitated to pink even at a young age, and still does today! We also knew the party would be outside and we wanted it to feel easy and colorful. That is how we came up with “Flamingo Fiesta”. I used Zazzle to create custom invitations. There are several platforms for creating custom invitations. Zazzle.com just happens to be one I am most familiar with and enjoy the freedom it provides. After the invites were complete, next came the smash cake!

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Obviously birthday cakes are a regular feature of a birthday party, but what do you do for a one-year-old? My husband and I had been following a plant-based baby-led weaning for our daughter. She had never had refined sugars, artificial food dyes, and was strictly vegan. I came across some pretty fun cake alternatives- birthday smoothie, birthday (healthy) muffins, and birthday fruit plate. I appreciated the idea of the healthy alternatives, but also really wanted the fun of a smash cake. So I chose a vegan recipe that kept refined sugars to a minimum and no artificial dyes. Thankfully, her grandmother offered to make the smash cake. She was kind enough to work with a recipe I provided and did an amazing job. Keep scrolling for the recipe.

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Apple Smash Cake Recipe:

3/4 c avocado oil

1/2 c maple syrup

1/3 c brown sugar syrup

1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c organic cake flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 c chopped apples


Preheat oven to 325F and spray olive oil on two 8″ cake pans

Add avocado oil, syrups, and vanilla extract to a lareg bowl and mix well. Add applesauce and mix again

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients and then add to the wet mixture. Do not overmix.

Fold in the chopped apples to coat evenly

Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until clean toothpick from center.

Cool for 10 minutes.

The frosting was Vanilla Buttercream by Veggie Balance. link for recipe here.

So the big questions- Did she smash it? Did she eat it? Well, she put her hand in it, had a few bites, and tried to feed us. It was adorable. There is something so special about a little one offering to share. Warms my heart. It was a beautiful smash cake and a beautiful moment!

Next came the adult cake. I decided to go with a local vegan bakery. We were traveling out of town for this party and I did not want the added stress of baking and decorating a vegan cake in someone elses kitchen. Fortunately, I found an Atlanta, GA based bakery, Dulce Vegan Bakery & Cafe and ordered a custom cake. One of our family members lived in the area close to the bakery and was able to stop by for a taste test- Vanilla was her favorite, so that’s what I ordered! One of our family members was kind enough to pick it up on their way and it arrived in perfect condition! It was amazing!!

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Next, the final dessert- cupcakes. I am not sure I could have a party and not have a chocolate dessert option. I had just discovered a delicious vegan chocolate cupcake and had modified it for a little kick. I named it a Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcake. Click this link to find the recipe. So delicious! Luckily, her other grandmother offered to make these cupcakes the morning of the party! So we ended up with a lovely and tasty dessert table. It was covered in pink flamingos and filled with plant based ingredients.

But what if you are having a small family celebration? Keep scrolling for our son’s 1st birthday.

If you are planning a 1st Birthday Party during a pandemic (like we did for our son) you’ll likely be keeping it intimate with family only. We had a wonderful time celebrating our son’s 1st birthday despite our original plans being cancelled due to COVID-19. Mickey Mouse was a favorite at the time, so we went all out decorating. Even his birthday outfit matched the theme. Be sure to scroll down to see his adorable onesie. We elected to do an even healthier smash cake than our daughter’s. I use this recipe to make muffins, mini cakes, or fun shaped cupcakes all the time. The kids consider it to be a special treat, and I know they are still getting a nutrient packed snack from it.

Banana Applesauce Smash Cake Recipe:

Double or triple for full sized dozen muffins or 9″ cake.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Mash 2-3 large ripe bananas, mix with 1/4 c. applesauce, 1 1/2 T avocado oil, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Large bowl combine 1/3 c. whole wheat flour, 1/3 c. oat flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp baking soda.

Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix.

Pour into oiled or silicone cake (or muffin pan).

Cook for 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting I used the same Veggie Balance Vanilla Buttercream.

Our son loved the smash cake and would have probably eaten the entire thing if we had let him. In fear of an upset stomach, we portioned it out a bit. He had a great time digging into it and devouring it!

For the rest of us, I used a silicone miniature Mickey Mouse cupcake pan, which I had found on Poshmark. Used the same recipes for the smash cake and frosting. We all enjoyed the cakes and celebration!

Raising Vegan Tip Look for decorations at a local Thrift Store, Local Buy Nothing Group, or on second-hand online markets- such as Poshmark. Also, when done with decorations, pass on the love by donating via Buy Nothing Group or to local Thrift Stores. Extend the life of the decorations!

Check back for the next post- 1st Birthday: Lunch Menu

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Spaghetti E’s

This is a delightful, healthy, homemade play on the traditional spaghetti O’s.  It is easy to make and modify, and of course, it’s Vegan!  I encourage you to add or substitute ingredients to keep this recipe evolving.  It is a great way to introduce different herbs and spices or sauces to your Littles.

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2 cups Vegan elbow pasta (cooked)

1/3 cup of carrot puree

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup almond milk (without carrageenan)

round logoRaising Vegan Tip- Turmeric is a mild spice which contains curcumin.  Curcumin has been found to potentially prevent and stop cancer cells from progressing.  The amounts used in cooking have been shown to be adequate in helping our bodies not only fight cancer but also inflammation.  To learn more please check out NutritionFacts.org for evidence-based information. 

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Combine all ingredients to drained, warm pasta.  Stir well mixing all ingredients and coating the pasta evenly.

Serve once cooled.

There are many options for modifying this recipe.  If your Little has a nut allergy feel free to use soy milk to substitute the almond milk.  If your Little has a gluten allergy use chickpea pasta, rice pasta, etc in place of the wheat pasta.


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10-minute Tofu Scramble

This is an absolute favorite in our house- even the Little loves it!!  It’s fast, simple, and can be re-heated to enjoy with many meals.  Tofu scramble can be made with any veggies you may have on hand- spinach, broccoli, chard, collards, mushrooms, bell peppers, and so on.  Have fun mixing it up- play with different textures.  You really can’t go wrong.  Especially with this seasoning recipe!  As for the Littles, you may decide to offer it initially without the veggies, especially if this is first time exposure.  But, if your little one already is keen to the leafy greens, then by all means serve it up like you would for yourself.  For the adults or spice loving family members- try adding hot sauce as a finishing touch.


16 oz Extra-firm tofu, drained and dried

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp dried or fresh parsley

1/4 c. water

fresh ground black pepper to taste

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round logoRaising Vegan Tip- Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and contains fiber.  It is also an excellent source for vitamin B-12, along with many other essential vitamins.  Use it as a topping to salads or pasta dishes, to substitute for cheese.  

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Drain and pat dry the extra firm tofu and set aside.  In a small bowl mix nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, onion powder, black pepper and water.  Saute garlic in a pan on medium heat.  Add crumbled tofu (use your hands to crumble) into the pan and pour the spice mixture over the tofu.  Mix to ensure the tofu is covered evenly with the mixture.  Cook on medium stirring often for ~ 5 minutes to warm tofu evenly.  Sprinkle parsley over and serve.

*If you prefer your scramble to be more “runny” simply skip the drying step of the tofu.

Choose healthy sides like fresh fruit or toast to serve with this delicious scramble!