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Lula Blue turned one this week and of course I wanted to make a birthday cake to mark the occasion, but I kept going back and forth between making a healthy one or something naughty and indulgent.

I don’t actually have anything against making an indulgent cake; I mean it’s only once a year isn’t it? And I do normally only bake one cake a year - for my partner’s birthday.

He absolutely insists on having the “Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting” recipe from James Duigan’s Clean and Lean Diet Cook Book. Clearly this is one of the “cheat” recipes in the book (it has over a kilo of sugar in it!!) but it is literally the most delicious cake in the world.

For Lula’s birthday however, I really wanted her to be able to enjoy a good few chunks of her birthday cake without going absolutely haywire afterwards on sugar overload. She doesn’t have much sugar in her diet at all normally so something like the cake I normally make for Darren’s birthday would send her up the walls!

On top of that, I’m still trying to shift the remaining baby weight, so could really do without a mightily delicious, sugar-laden, chocolate peanut butter beast sitting in my kitchen!

So I set out on a mission to find a new recipe we could all enjoy without Lula going nuts and me putting all the weight I’ve lost this year back on!

The final recipe was from a combination of sources. For the sponge, I used this recipe from Detoxinista: which contains no refined sugar or flour (double win) and is sweetened with Medjool dates.


- 10 Medjool dates, pitted

- 120ml water

- 3 eggs

- 240g nut butter (I went with peanut butter)

- 1 tsp vanilla extract

- 3/4 tsp baking soda

- 1/4 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and grease two 8-inch cake tins with coconut oil (line them with a circle of parchment paper too to guarantee easy removal later).

2. In a blender or food processor, combine the dates and water and blend until smooth.

3. Add in the eggs, nut butter, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and blend again until you’e got a smooth batter.

4. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, and smooth out with a spatula.

5. Bake for about 25 mins or until you can put a knife in the middle and it comes out clean.

For the icing (frosting) I used this recipe from Panos Eats: which simply combines coconut cream (the solid part at the top of a can of full fat coconut milk) with cacao powder and honey. I also added some peanut putter to give the cake that chocolate peanut butter taste I was craving!

The Verdict:

Well… it was no Duigan Delight! But I wouldn’t expect a cake with zero sugar or flour in it to taste as indulgent as one that’s loaded with all the naughty stuff. But it was, actually, really good.

I couldn’t believe the sponge actually turned into a sponge in the oven! It’s basically made of nut butter and eggs with a little baking soda to make it rise. It didn’t rise very far to be honest, but the texture of the sponge was soft and springy and it had a nice nutty flavour.

The star of the show was the icing, which tasted like a really indulgent chocolate mousse - I might have to make it again sometime with a little brandy added for a grown up dinner party! Lula liked it so much she licked out the bowl!

Overall I’d say definitely give a healthy cake recipe a try. It’s nice to be able to enjoy it without fear of post-cake sugar meltdown from the kids and mummy crying on the bathroom scales!

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