If you are planning a first birthday party for your child, you may want to engage in the somewhat new tradition of letting your baby stuff his or her face with cake for the very first time. It’s fun for guests, not to mention the birthday boy or girl, to watch your little one taste the sweet treat for the first time and enjoy smashing the icing and cake into his hands, ears, table, and even toes. Unfortunately, if your baby has not really eaten much sugar before her first birthday, too much sugar or fat could cause an upset stomach. This would leave you with one unhappy birthday girl. Here are some tips and reasons to reduce the sugar in your baby’s first birthday cake.

First of all, it’s important that you make your child’s first birthday cake from scratch. You can get a store bought cake or use a cake mix for the cake the other guests eat, but make your baby’s cake yourself. This way you can control the ingredients. Store bought cakes and cake mixes contain trans fat which isn’t healthy for anyone, and certainly not your baby. You can reduce the size of the recipe considerably and make just one small cake, or use a cookie cutter to cut out a small piece of cake for your baby, then use the scraps for a punch bowl cake or other dessert.

When making the cake, cut the sugar in half. While this may cause the texture of the finished cake to be less than perfect, your baby will never know the difference. When making the icing for the cake, either use a full butter based icing or a specially purchased vegetable shortening that does not contain partially hydrogenated oils. You can find solid palm kernel oil, which is considerably better for you than traditional vegetable shortenings, in the health food section of major grocery stores or a health food store. Partially hydrogenated oils are very unhealthy and shouldn’t be fed to your child if at all possible. If you choose to do a full butter icing, remember that your cake will need to be refrigerated.

Finally, when assembling the cake, keep the cake small and only use a thin layer of icing. Icing is loaded with sugar and fat that your child does not need a lot of. Also, avoid using a lot of dark dyes in the icing colors. Stick to white, pastels, or just a touch of color. Some babies’ sensitive stomachs do not react well to dyes which can cause diarrhea.

If you want to serve your baby her very own cake for her first birthday party, go right ahead! Just be smart about how you prepare your cake and your baby will get the treat of her life without too much sugar or needless trans fat.