Finer Things Friday: Kiddos’ Birthdays

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finer_things_fridayBoth Kitchen Stewardship kids have birthdays in the late spring, which meant we had a lot of birthday cake in the span of a month!

I had always used boxed cake mixes in the past:  they’re easy, quick, and consistently taste moist and delicious. After my reading and research throughout the winter, I’ve decided that powdered milk and eggs and trans fats have no place in my house, even for special occasions if I can help it. It was time to make a cake from scratch, and maybe even add a little whole grain flour to it. Tough to delete white sugar from a cake…that’s for next year, maybe.

Buddy Boy got to take half whole wheat cupcakes to his school. They were so moist and almost tasted like the cake doughnuts during apple orchard season. His cake for his party was a plain white cake and was…slightly disappointing. It was much more work and stress than a boxed mix and not quite as good (and not really worth sharing the link to). But it was still good. Buddy Boy asked for an Elmo cake. This is how it turned out:

boy-cake healthy elmo birthday cakeboy-cake-blowoutI was planning to make a big pile of frosting for the eyes and nose, but it was waaaaaay runny (butter will do that), so I had to punt with (hard, old, but thank goodness they were hanging around the pantry) marshmallows and chocolate chips. The nose is half an Easter egg, and the mouth is construction paper.

For Lovey Girl I wanted something even more healthy. At just one year, trans fat had never touched her lips, and she had hardly had a lick of sugar in her whole life. I had seen a great idea in a magazine years ago for a first birthday and wanted to try it, so cupcakes were the thing. I chose a part whole-wheat recipe with whole wheat pastry flour from the King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook. The result was super cute, a healthier upgrade from a box mix, and a little “whole grain-y” according to the husband. I thought they actually got better and more moist after a few days.

photo cupcakes, first birthday cake

Buddy Boy was thrilled to help with the photo stick project. He did the whole “glue” job, and can you tell which mat he cut out ALL by himself?

Birthdays, babes and whole grain experiments are all Finer Things in my book. Head on over to The Finer Things in Life for more Finer Things Friday, and scroll down this post for more birthday party pics of my loved ones, if you care to see.

I will be joining up with Life as MOM next week for her Birthday Cake Round Up. Mine are definitely not as amazing as hers, but maybe they’ll give some inspiration to the artfully challenged.

Most of my readers aren’t quite ready to make their own butter, but if you are…check out my warm weather updates and cultured butter lessons here and Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays for other against the grain food stuff.

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23 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    What a great experiment–thanks for sharing the results. The Elmo cake is adorable, so when you find the perfect cake recipe and balance of whole wheat/white, you sure can make it look attractive when it comes to the finishing touches!

    Have you tried Absurdly Easy Chocolate Cake? It’s a super-easy homemade cake recipe that I love. I’ve never tried to substitute whole wheat in the recipe, but maybe next time I will. I’ve started using a white whole wheat that is very light and airy. A friend of mine says it’s still totally whole wheat, but comes from grinding a different wheat berry.

    Ann Kroeker’s last blog post..Food on Fridays: First Harvest

    • Katie says

      Ann, I’m a new super-big fan of white whole wheat, too! My tortilla recipe hinges upon it. I think you’re right – chocolate cake would be easier to “hide” whole wheat in, and I bet a bit of coffee would bring out the chocolate and continue to hide the “healthy” taste. Hmmmm….

  2. Brittany says

    Wow, that is a really impressive job on Elmo…don’t let my son see! :) For my boys’ first birthdays we did zucchini bread muffins with cream cheese frosting. They were good, although maybe not too much less sugar.

  3. Sarah W says

    Great topic! I know what you mean that we spend so much energy not letting our kids eat junk and then how do we celebrate in a some-what “normal cultural” fashion without giving them the standard processed fare?

    I have been making soaked whole grain muffins from a Sue Gregg recipe which could probably be passed off as a healthy cupcake?? You can add any kind of fruit to it… I think ripe banana makes them a lot sweeter.

    • Katie says

      I totally considered more of a “muffin” style cupcake, but I went with a bit more traditional cake. The muffins would have been more moist! 😉

  4. Julie Severin says

    I agree about the absurdly easy cake recipe, we’ve used a similar recipe in my family for my whole life, except we call it Wacky Cake and it came out of the Boston Globe way back when my Mom was little! It’s a fabulously easy and deliciously moist cake and you can substitute ground flax, agave and whole wheat flour (although I haven’t managed to get the proportions right to make it taste as good as the original, but I’m working on it!)

  5. says

    Do you have any birthday cake updates? My LO turns one in May and I am starting to plan now. I am nervous about making “healthy” cupcakes for the party where everyone except our family will be SAD eaters. No way am I compromising, though!

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