I find first birthdays particularly bittersweet, because I love and cherish the sweetness of that first year of life. I think back to those first moments when they were born, and I am utterly amazed by how much the sweet babies grow in just one year! And because the first year of life is so special, I always want to reflect those sentiments by having a birthday which is super magical and memorable (no pressure then!). But really, the most important thing is to celebrate them, their health, and their little life. So I made this very fun birthday cake, which also happens to be healthy and yummy and totally sugar free. We even liked this dessert so much that we’ve made it 5 times in the last 20 days. And no one has grown tired of it yet.
I hope you try this easy and tasty Watermelon Cake for birthdays or whenever! (Though it is, of course, especially good for first birthdays when you might not want to serve sugar). It is easy, refreshing, fun, and pretty too! Did I mention it is also wheat, dairy, and nut (if you want it to be) free? Not that I don’t love all of the above (I have a mean sweet tooth), but for those with allergies this is a must-try recipe!
1 large seedless watermelon
2 cans of full fat organic coconut milk (chilled in the fridge for 6 hours or more)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste (which we prefer)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 cup slivered raw almonds or coconut flakes toasted (your choice, not essential but yummy and a nice texture to compliment the smooth cream)
Seasonal fresh fruit (for topping) — kiwis, blueberries, raspberries, sliced banana, and strawberries are our favourites! We love trying out different combinations.
1. Make the coconut cream frosting ahead of time. Place the cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or overnight). This will cause the cream to separate from the milk. The cream will be at the top of the can.
2. Open the can of coconut milk and scrape out the cream into a medium sized bowl. Tip: Open the can from the bottom and pour the milk out into a separate container before scraping out the cream. You can use the saved milk for smoothies, curries, etc.
3. Add the vanilla and raw honey to the mixture. Whip the cream with a hand mixer on medium speed and work your way up to high speed until the cream is light and fluffy. Place the bowl of whipped cream in the fridge until ready to use. (It stores for about 3 days.)
4. Next, prepare the toasted almonds or coconut flakes. Place a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat and allow the pan to heat up. Add the slivered almonds or coconut and stir in the pan until they are toasted and turn a light brown colour. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
5. Now for the watermelon carving. Use a seated long bread knife to remove the top and bottom from the watermelon then a boning knife is best to remove the rind from the middle section. You should be left with a cake-shaped piece of watermelon.
6. If you have the time, leave the watermelon on a cooling rack for an hour or so (or more time if you have it) to ‘dry off’ and pat the outside of the watermelon dry with paper towels (this is important because it will help the coconut whipped cream adhere better).
7. Once ready, frost the watermelon, add the fruit, add the toasted topping, and voila! You have a yummy cake. Refreshing, sweet, all natural, and perfect with a cup of tea!
Don’t you love the first birthday… The surprised look on their faces when you sing happy birthday, the other kids around them trying to blow out the candles, the baby trying to reach for the candles (eek!), then smearing the frosting in their faces — and of course the pulling and peek-a-boo with their party hats. We always strip our one year olds down to their original ‘birthday suit’ to eat their cake, (with a nappy on), but we spared you those photos :). I love the awareness and the curiosity each baby has at their first birthday party. Such a fun rite of passage. Even more delicious with a cake that they can fully indulge in without the sugar crash after. Hope you try it out, let us know how you liked it!
PS And yes, you may remember that I wrote about a sugar free Valentine’s project with watermelon recently, and now it seems I am on to watermelon again…. I swear, this is the last one for a while!