The best cake alternatives for kids on restricted diets due to food allergies
Are you frantically searching for allergy-friendly birthday treats for your child who is on a restricted diet due to food allergies? You’re not alone.
You little one has a birthday coming up. You’re eager to get started on the party planning. You want everything to be perfect. You’re inspired by all the birthday ideas on Pinterest. You’re hopeful. But then you get to the birthday cakes and you’re feeling a little doubtful that you can make it happen. Your little one has food allergies so they won’t get to enjoy these beautiful cake ideas. What do you do now?
One of the best things about your kid’s birthday is the birthday cake! The birthday cake is the center of the party. The cake represents an important milestone in your child’s life.
Unfortunately, for some children, a birthday cake isn’t always the best or safest option. With kids who are on a restricted diet due to food allergies, a birthday cake can put a dark cloud over his special day. But who says you can’t still have a spectacular birthday treat that is equally delicious and special?
The inspiration behind my quest for birthday cake alternatives
My nephew was diagnosed with kidney cancer at only 3 months old. Having to deal with cancer in a child so young is tough. Because of his tumor and radiation, his body has a harder time processing foods. One of the foods that he’s sensitive to is grains.
His first birthday arrived. It was a day of celebration. After so many months or worry and frustration, this baby boy had finally reached a big milestone in his life. This was cause for celebration. However, due to his sensitivity to grains, a traditional birthday cake was not an option. So, here we were, trying to find safe food options for his birthday cake.
Being a mom of children who have food allergies, I often find myself in search of food alternatives when it comes to celebrations. When my 4-year-old turned 4-months old, it became clear to me that he wasn’t like my other two older children. When we started trialing solids with him, we immediately started to notice a change.
We started giving him a little taste of this and a little taste of that. Immediately, he started throwing up, his weight began to drop and he became really cranky. My mommy brain figured, ‘you know what? He isn’t ready. We’ll wait until he’s 6-months old’. So I went back to exclusively breastfeeding.
When he turned 6-months-old, we started him back on solids. He was a great eater. He wanted everything he saw. A couple of months later, we started to feed him bananas, organic baby yogurt, and boiled eggs. He loved everything. But soon afterwards, he’d throw up. And the crankiness got worst. He always wanted to be held. So, here I was, a mother of three (at the time), running an early learning center, cooking dinner, taking the other kids a bath, all while carrying my baby on my back. Those were some major back pain days.
Read: 23 Essential Items You Need Immediately If Your Child Has Food Allergies
I couldn’t understand why he cried so much. I thought maybe he was just a spoiled baby that wanted attention. But that wasn’t it. You see, along with the fussiness, the constant throwing up, and the waking up multiple times a night screaming and thrashing around, was the drop in his weight. I had an 11lbs. 7-month-old. I knew his weight wasn’t due to lack of eating. At such a young age, he was my biggest eater out of all my children.
We were referred to a GI specialist at one point who told me that his gliadin levels were a little elevated so we should limit his wheat intake. Because I was still breastfeeding, I decided to go on a gluten-free diet.
Once I went on a gluten-free diet, I started to notice a slight change in his weight. He was slowly putting on weight. I felt relieved. I had finally found answers. But…our battle wasn’t over yet! Because, although he was putting on weight, he was still cranky. He still woke up several times a night screaming. And he was still throwing up. I realized that there had to be more to the story.
At 11-months, I decided to stop breastfeeding. I made this decision because I knew there was more going on. Although I was on a gluten-free diet, I thought, there must be more that he can’t tolerate that I might be eating? Those things can be effecting him.
One thing I noticed is that whenever he had dairy products, he’d throw up. I remember us trialing different formulas. We were prescribed formula for milk allergies. We even tried Lactaid milk because it worked really well for my daughter’s projectile vomiting. We would try 1-ounce at a time to see how he did. With 1-ounce of milk, he’d throw up six times in a day.
At the age of one, we saw an allergist who performed a skin test. Nothing came up on that skin test. I remember asking about milk and the allergist told me he wasn’t allergic to milk. My mommy instincts said that he was. I was the one that lived with him every day. I was the one that had to comfort him and clean up vomit all day long. I knew my child and I knew something wasn’t right. I knew they were wrong.
When he was about one and a half, we saw another allergist who performed blood work. Through the blood work, they diagnosed him with FPIES. We found out he was, indeed, allergic to dairy. He was also allergic to wheat, corn, eggs, and bananas.
Read: 10 Unique Children’s Books To Help Your Child Understand Their Food Allergies
Over the years, I’ve learned that different foods affect him differently. Dairy and eggs make him continuously throw up. While wheat, corn, and bananas give him severe abdominal pain. That explained his crankiness. It explained all the middle of the night cries for help. My baby was in pain. He was suffering and I had no idea.
Eliminating these foods from his diet has made a huge impact on his life. Not only is his weight in the 30th percentile, whereas before, he was not even on the charts, but he’s a happier, healthier 4-year-old with more energy than he knows what to do with.
Dealing with food allergies is difficult
Having a child with food allergies is hard. At home, it may be easier to accommodate that child’s dietary needs. But when this child is in a group setting, whether it’s a birthday party or at school, it can be a little more difficult. No parent wants their child to feel excluded or different.
Even if your child has food allergies to things such as dairy, wheat, eggs, and all the other things that go into making a birthday cake, exciting cake alternatives can make the celebration complete while adding a unique twist to any child’s special day.
This is for all the parents who are dealing with food allergies. It’s for the parents who have no idea how to create something special for their little one’s special day. This is for the parents who are in an everyday battle trying to make sure their child feels included. I’ve been there. I feel your pain. That’s why I’m here to help you!
Here are cake alternatives for children on a restricted diet. These cake recipes are genius and will leave your kids and guest in awe at your creativity.
Read: Toddler Meal Ideas For Busy Families
Please be sure to confirm the ingredients are safe for your child’s specific food allergies.
This post contains affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to make a purchase using my link. It’s okay – I love all of these products anyways, and I know you will too!
Fruit Tower Birthday Cake
Who needs all the empty calories from a traditional birthday cake when you can have fruit? This Fruit Tower Birthday Cake from Weelicious is egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free. It is easy to make, and it looks absolutely amazing!
3 Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Cake
OMG! A cake with only 3 ingredients?! It doesn’t get any simpler than that. This recipe by Kirbie’s Cravings is so simple and it’s gluten-free. This cake is definitely for me since I’m a huge fan of peanut butter. This is the cake all my peanut butter dreams are made of!
See below for peanut butter and egg alternatives.
Tropical Jelly Fruit Cake
This Tropical Jelly Fruit Cake by BakeAlish looks so amazing. This cake is sure to wow any party guest. They’ll be asking, how in the world did you make this! After this, you can proudly wear your Supermom cape.
All Fruit Party Cake
This All Fruit Party Cake by Love, Life & Sugar will work great for birthdays, picnics, barbeques, and everything in between. The beautiful colors and the fresh fruit makes this cake a winner. After this, all the other moms will want to hire you to make their kid’s birthday cake!
Valentine’s Day Rice Krispie Treat Cupcakes
How cute are these Rice Krispie Treat Cupcakes by Life, Love & Sugar?! They make a great treat for Valentine events at your child’s school but you can also make them into birthday cupcakes. This one is definitely on my to-do list for my kids’ next birthday.
Jello Rainbow Cake
This Jello Rainbow Cake by Barry Lewis is the coolest thing. Kids will have a blast making it and eating it. And, you have to admit, it looks pretty awesome!
Fresh Melon Cake
These Fresh Melon Cakes by Tara Teaspoon are so elegant. These make the perfect cake for a formal party or gathering. Using fresh fruit, they are easy to make. The best thing about fruit cakes is that there’s no baking involved.
Rice Krispie Treat Sprinkle Cake
Look it all that sprinkle goodness. And the colors are amazing. Kids love Rice Krispie treats. That’s why this Rice Krispie Treat Sprinkle Cake by SprinkleBakes is the perfect birthday cake alternative. You can’t go wrong with Rice Krispies, candy, and sprinkles…OH MY!
First Birthday Smash Cake
That first birthday is a really special one for you. (Let’s face it. It’s really for us). You’re little one has made it one full year of life and you deserve to celebrate! Most parents want everything to be perfect. That’s why this beautiful First Birthday Smash Cake by The Pretty Bee is perfect. It’s not only pretty, but it’s also gluten-free and vegan.
Easy Gluten-free Funfetti Pancakes
Why not surprise your little one with a fun birthday breakfast? Pancakes are always a favorite at my house. These Funfetti Pancakes by Strength and Sunshine is gluten-free and dairy-free which makes it a win-win. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re filled with pretty, colorful sprinkles.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Chocolate Crepe Cake
CHOCOLATE!! CHOCOLATE!! CHOCOLATE!! This Vegan & Gluten-free Chocolate Crepe Cake by Emilie Eats is so drool-worthy. The chocolate and vanilla icing layers make this cake irresistible! It will definitely leave your guest salivating for more.
Non-food cake ideas
For kids who can not eat at all due to feeding tubes or other health reasons, finding the right birthday cake can be even more of a challenge. But this should not stop you from giving your little one an epic birthday that they’ll remember for a lifetime. All it takes is a little creativity.
Who says you have to have an edible cake? The best thing about a non-edible cake is that it will last forever. You can save it as a keepsake for years to come.
Non-food Birthday Party Cake
These are great because they look like an actual birthday cake. They make a great stand-in for birthday parties.
Birthday Cake Piñata
Piñatas are always fun. A piñata cake?! Now that’s hitting it out of the park. Just fill your piñata with non-edible treats and toys and have it at the center of the table for some ultimate party fun. Check out this fun creation by Studio DIY! and get started making your own, amazing piñata cake.
Birthday Cake Gift Boxes
Birthday cake gift boxes are great. Get yourself a set of nested gift boxes. Decorate them according to theme. Fill them with toys for your little one. Make it your centerpiece. Most creative mama award goes to you! Check out how this creative mama decorated her birthday cake gift boxes.
Make a Fake Cake
Create a gorgeous display in lieu of an actual cake. Like the gift boxes, you can decorate it the way you want. A great ideas would be to cover it with fondant (if safe) and decorate it with frosting, flowers, or balloons.
Looking for more alternatives?
Check out the links below for even more food alternatives. These are products that my family and I have personally used and love.
There you have it. With these amazing and unique cake alternatives, your child is sure to have a birthday celebration he’ll never forget. And your guest will be raving about the ‘cake’.
Planning on trying any of these recipes? Tell me about it in the comment box.