Birthday Cakes for Children on the Ketogenic Diet: Part 2

How to Create an Awesome Pretend Birthday Cake for Your Tube-Fed Keto Kid

Last week, we talked about keto-friendly birthday cakes for children on the ketogenic diet. In today’s post, I’ll share some ideas for making non-food, pretend birthday cakes for keto kids who are tube-fed or exclusively formula-fed.

My younger sister, who has epilepsy, has been tube-fed for many years. However, up until a few years ago, she was able to eat some food by mouth and always enjoyed tasting her birthday cake. After she became strictly NPO due to swallowing problems, I worried she would be disappointed by a lack of a birthday cake so I made her this pretend pink and purple princess cake out of cardboard, felt paper, ribbon, tissue paper and glitter paint. I poked little holes in it and inserted candles for her to blow out (you could also use flameless candles for a more fire-safe option). Her favorite part of celebrating her birthday is everyone singing “happy birthday” to her (seriously, the amount of joy she gets from a single song is unparalleled) so she didn’t seem to miss eating cake at all. In fact, I think she loved the foodless cake even more because she could keep it and we could relight the candles and sing over and over again, all year long (she’s really confused about her age now).

To make the pretend cake, I cut two big circles (about 12 inch diameter) out of cardboard to be the top and bottom of the cake, along with one long thin piece of poster board that I wrapped in a circle and taped to be the middle of the cake (the diameter of this circle should be about the same as the two big circles you cut). I taped one of the big circles on top of the wrapped poster board and the other on the bottom.  Then I covered the whole thing with paper mache and let it dry overnight. After it was dry, I covered it with colored felt paper that I cut to match the size of the top of the cake and the sides. Last, I decorated it with different colored ribbon (wrapped around the sides to look like layers), glitter paint, fluff balls, and balled up white tissue paper to look like frosting. I used a glue gun to attach the decorations, but super glue would probably work fine if you don’t have one.

If you are crafty, you can find some awesome sewing patterns and craft tutorials for making more elaborate pretend birthday cakes. We’ve collected some of these on our Pinterest page. Some of the ideas require fairly advanced sewing skills but others are more basic.

Another idea is to make a birthday cake piñata (such as this one) and fill it with non-food treats like stickers, pencils, toy cars, necklaces, etc. You can use it as a pretend cake to sing happy birthday, then use it as a piñata afterwards. Alternatively, you could make a piñata-like box cake made of decorated boxes with gifts inside that your little one can “open”. Here is a great example shared by the FPIES Foundation: cake with gifts inside and cake with gift boxes opened (Note- FPIES is not related to epilepsy or the ketogenic diet but children with this condition also must follow very restricted diets).

If your child is really into a certain theme, you can make a themed pretend birthday cake. Party supply stores and grocery stores usually sell cake topper kits of popular kids’ interests and movies (I found some Frozen and Despicable Me 2-themed options in my local grocery). For a pretend cakes, you can just glue them on. You can choose colors for the pretend cake according to the theme you are doing, then glue the toppers on last.

If you are looking for a fun activity for the party, you could even let each child make their own pretend birthday cake. You could prepare basic white “cakes” out of boxes covered with white paper, then let the kids decorate it with paint, tissue paper, glitter, jewels, etc.

Like we talked about last week, food restrictions don’t have to keep you from throwing your child an awesome birthday party. Creating a fun foodless birthday cake is a great way to make your little one feel special and to celebrate another year and milestone.


Birthday Cakes for Children on the Ketogenic Diet: Part 1

How to Create a Ketogenic Birthday Cake That Your Keto Kid Will Love!

Birthday cakeBirthday cakes are so much more than just the ingredients that go into them. They are symbolic of accomplishment, milestones, and the gathering of loved ones to share a treat with the birthday girl or boy. Because of their significance, parents of children on a ketogenic diet may worry that their child will have to miss out on a birthday cake. Thankfully, that is not true!

Although a typical store-bought birthday cake is simply not an option for a child on the ketogenic diet, rest assured that there are ways to provide a tasty and keto-friendly birthday cake that your child will love. It may take some homework, trial & error, and creativity, so be sure to plan ahead. We’ve collected some ketogenic diet cake recipe ideas that you can choose from. You could use these recipes to make a regular cake or cupcakes. Cupcakes work especially well because you can make a special keto cupcake for the birthday boy or girl and non-keto cupcakes for the rest of the party guests.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the recipe to accommodate your child’s ketogenic ratio and calorie requirements, so ask your ketogenic dietitian for help. If the recipe that you want to use is for a 3:1 ketogenic ratio but your child needs a 4:1 ratio, your dietitian may be able to make it work by tweaking the recipe or by adding a side of heavy cream, Liquigen®, or another source of fat to raise the ratio. If you do end up adjusting the ratio, be sure to try out the recipe prior to the big day to make sure it comes out as expected.

Ketogenic Diet Birthday Cake & Frosting Recipes:

  • Chocolate Cupcake & Chocolate Cream Frosting: If your little one is a chocolate lover, our KetoCal® Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Cream Frosting Recipe is a great option! This recipe is for a 3:1 ratio but as mentioned above, your dietitian may be able to help you make it work by adjusting the recipe or serving it with an additional fat source.
  • Chocolate Cupcake: The Matthew’s Friend’s KetoCal Chocolate Muffin recipe can be converted to a cupcake by adding frosting (see frosting recipes ideas below). We have recipes for making it at a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio, along with a Modified Atkins Diet recipe.
  • Sprinkle Cake: Keto Cook has this amazing Sprinkle Birthday Cake recipe, a keto-version of the popular “Funfetti” cakes. This recipe is  for a 3:1 ratio, but again, your dietitian may be able to help you make it work.
  • Buttercream Frosting: The Charlie Foundation and Keto Cook collaborated on this awesome recipe for Buttercream Frosting, which can be used with the Sprinkle cake recipe or whichever recipe you are using. Best of all, they have instructions for making it at a 2:1, 3:1, or 4:1 ratio.
  • Whipped Cream Frosting: This recipe for Whipped Cream Frosting is another creation of Keto Cook and the Charlie Foundation. The great thing about this option is that the frosting is a 6.88:1 ratio, so it can be used to bring down the ratio of the cake if needed (ask your dietitian to help you come up with the exact amount required).

Cake Decorations:

Once you have decided on a recipe for the cake and frosting, you can move on to decorating and personalizing it. Party supply stores usually sell cake decorations with kid-friendly themes. You will want to select non-food decoration options (rather than edible decorations made of icing), such as themed baking cups, birthday candles, cupcake picks, figurines, etc. Once you select the theme, you can use keto-friendly food coloring to make matching colored frosting. 

As Dana explained in her recent parent guest blog post on making the ketogenic diet fun for kids, the key is to focus on what your child is interested in at the time. Her daughter wanted a Barbie cake, so Dana used her creative powers to create amazing keto Barbie cupcakes (pictured right). She used miniature Barbie figurines and keto-friendly food coloring to create Barbies with pink and purple cupcake bodices!


I love that Dana made matching non-keto Barbie cupcakes for the other children so that her daughter didn’t feel like she was eating something different than everyone else.  Whenever possible, try to provide your child with keto-versions of the foods that everyone else eats because it helps them to feel normal. If you provide party guests with food (for example, pizza), you could make your child a keto version (for example, our 3:1, 4:1 or MAD keto pizza recipes) so that they feel included in the pizza party. Note- you can make the pizza ahead of time and freeze it so that you just have to warm it on the day of the party.

I am always amazed by the measures that parents take to provide a suitable birthday cake for their child. The moral of the story is that food restrictions don’t have to stop you from giving your little one a happy birthday. When it comes down to it, the cake itself is less important than the effort that goes into making your little one feel special on their day. With a little creativity, everyone can have a great time celebrating another year and milestone.

Thanks for reading Part 1 of my post on ketogenic diet birthday cakes. Next week I’ll post Part 2, which is on making non-food birthday cakes for keto kids who are tube-fed!