When Can Babies Have Cake? Surprising New Sugar Guidelines

Congrats! If you’ve found yourself reading this, it’s likely your baby’s first birthday is approaching or your little one is ready to start trying solid foods. These events are important and should be honored!

When can babies eat cake? According to the most recent dietary guidelines, babies should not consume foods containing added or processed sugars until they are at least two years old. However, while it is not recommended, there shouldn’t be a problem with giving your baby some cake on their first birthday.

That is the research-based guideline for infants and children. However, just like most parenting topics, there are plenty of opinions and alternate practices that surround this topic.

Let’s dive into it a little deeper and see what the big deal is with sugar anyway and how you can make the best decisions for your little one. 

Cake for Baby – What To Know

Giving babies foods with added sugar has become a hot topic in recent years, especially as research is helping us have a better understanding of an infant’s growth and development and the role that certain foods can have in that process.

We are learning that sugar and sugary treats can have serious effects on brain development and long-term health and can alter food preferences as well.

All of these are things that you should consider when trying to determine what to feed your baby. 

Now, I am not here to tell you that you cannot give your little one cake on their first birthday or that you need to panic every time your parents or in-laws give your baby a bite of their dessert. That would make me a hypocrite!

I just believe it is important that parents are informed of the guidelines and know what added sugar can do to their baby’s body if they consume it regularly. What you choose to do with that knowledge is totally up to you!

Recommended Sugar Intake for Babies

As adults, we know that we need to limit our sugar intake, but what about our babies? Can they have sugar? If so, how much?

The most recent dietary guidelines recommend that parents refrain from giving their little ones sugar, as in processed and added sugars, until they are at least two years old.

This is not to be mean; in fact, these guidelines truly have your baby’s best interest in mind.

Why Limiting Added Sugars Is Best for Babies

The first few years of life are a critical period of development. There is a lot going on inside of your little one’s body that you cannot see, including negative effects on a child’s brain and other developing organs. 

Too much sugar can have lasting effects on important brain functions such as learning, memory, addictive tendencies, taste preference, and appetite regulation.

The latter two functions contribute heavily to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Sugar also has harmful effects on the physical function of bodies including gut health and liver function.

During the first few years of their life, your little one is still growing and developing.

Exposing babies to sugar too early can have a significant impact on their taste preferences and eating habits and can predispose them to other lifetime health problems that are otherwise preventable. 

Establishing food habits that include simple sugars like those found in fresh fruits and limiting added sugars or heavily processed foods is incredibly important during the early years and will benefit your child well into adulthood.

Additionally, becoming accustomed to drinking water prevents developing a taste for sweetened juices, tea, or soda and establishes good habits early on. 

Can Babies Eat Cake at 6 Months?

Cake is probably not the best option for your 6-month-old. Babies are typically just beginning solid foods at 6 months old, and cake is not the type of food that your baby needs at that time.

This is primarily because of the amount of sugar in cake. However, cake also has a long ingredient list and contains several allergens that should be introduced to your baby one at a time and not all at once. 

Can Babies Eat Cake at 9 Months?

It’s certain that nine months is a better age than six months if you are dying to give your baby some cake. 

It is still not recommended, however, as babies are still developing taste preferences and establishing habits that can be skewed by consuming sugar.

Will it harm your baby if she eats a little bit of cake? Not likely. However, the earlier that sugar is introduced, the more harmful the long-term effects will be. 

Can Babies Eat Cake on Their First Birthday?

A baby’s first birthday is a huge milestone that is worth celebrating! Elaborate first birthday parties and smash cakes have become the trending norm over the last few years.

If you want to follow this trend, you may be wondering if it is okay for your baby to dig into that smash cake. Short answer: Do what you are comfortable with!

The guidelines remain the same — sugar should be avoided for children under the age of two.

However, the recommendation is regarding regular added sugar intake, and a little bit of cake to celebrate their first birthday isn’t going to harm your baby or turn them into a sugar fiend.

It’ll be a beautiful memory, and everyone deserves a treat every now and then!

If less sugar intake is really important to you, there are plenty of ways to reduce the sugar content, including using whipped frosting. This will make the cake a bit lighter and not quite as sweet for the little one.

There are also ways to sweeten cakes without using added sugars. Think bananas, applesauce, etc. (see below).

Having a baby and planning a birthday party is stressful enough. Do not let the cake be what makes or breaks you! If you want to give your baby a smash cake, do it.

If you don’t want any cake at all, that’s totally fine. Do what you are comfortable with. 

A cute baby boy celebrating his first birthday is very excited about his special cupcake.

What Cake Can Babies Eat?

There really is no perfect cake for babies. At the end of the day, cake is cake.

There are ways to make it a little bit “healthier,” such as using applesauce or maple syrup as sweeteners rather than added sugar. This is how many of the Paleo cakes are made.

However, even these cakes still contain sugar. If you want to use one of these cakes for your baby, that is perfectly fine! Just do not feel pressured to make a maple-syrup-based cake if a traditional cake is easier for you. 

Can Babies Eat Frosting?

Should babies eat frosting regularly? Probably not the best idea. Is it okay for your baby to eat frosting on her birthday cake? Sure! A little bit of frosting will not harm your baby. Whipped frostings are a great option for little ones!

Healthy Cake for Baby

If you are wanting to make your own healthy cake for your baby, you are in luck because there are plenty of wonderful recipes that can be found online.

With current research and guidelines, many parents have opted toward making their own healthier cake option, and there is an abundance of available resources compared to just a few years ago.

Most of these recipes are geared toward cutting out the added sugar in cake and use a variation of these healthy and nutritious ingredients: 

  • Oils: coconut oil or olive oil
  • Flours: oat flour, whole wheat flour, coconut flour, or almond flour
  • Others/sweeteners: bananas, vanilla extract, eggs, applesauce, maple syrup, and organic yogurt

Healthy Smash Cake for 1-Year-Old

Making a healthy smash cake for your one-year-old is totally doable! There are a variety of recipes online for healthy cakes that will still smash just as a traditional cake would.

Here is a list of 20 healthy smash cakes that both parents and babies have loved! 

Sugar-Free Smash Cake

It is possible to make a smash cake for your little one that is free from added and processed sugars. Several of the recipes linked above are sugar free!

Most recipes for creating a sugar-free smash cake use ingredients such as almond or oat flour, bananas, Greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.

Here is an example of a smash cake that is 100% sugar free!

Sweets Suitable for 1-Year-Old

So, what are the best sweet options for your little one that is under the age of 2? What about nature’s sweet treat — fruit? 

Fruit is naturally sweet and is also packed with nutrients and fiber that your little one needs. Giving your baby a portion of fruit with every meal will help you establish good eating habits from the start. 

Related Questions: 

When Can Babies Eat Rice Cakes?

Most babies can eat rice cakes by the age of one, especially if they have several teeth. Rice cakes dissolve easily and can be an easy snack on the go.

However, recent research on the arsenic levels in rice cakes has a lot of parents concerned. Most experts are advising to consume rice cakes and rice products in moderation and not using them as an everyday snack for little ones.

Can Babies Eat Ice Cream at 6 Months?

Can your baby eat ice cream at six months? Physically, yes, they can eat ice cream without any major safety threats. However, they should not consume ice cream regularly or in large quantities.

Ice cream is loaded with sugar and is not the best treat to give your little one according to the most recent dietary guidelines. 

Final Thoughts 

Being informed of and following recent dietary guidelines for your little one is important, but so is being practical.

Giving your child sugar every now and then or a cake on her first birthday is not something to feel guilty about — neither is choosing to steer clear of sugar altogether.

No matter what you choose regarding cake and your little one, you are still a great parent!