When thinking about birthdays, fun, gifts and cake are the three most important things that people ponder. The birthday cake is a particularly special tradition in many cultures, making it an integral part of any celebration. Cakes come in many shapes, sizes, and types, but some people find that there are an increasing number of restrictions on the type of cake or dessert they can eat for their special day. With the increase in allergies and food preferences, the selection of alternatives to the traditional birthday cake is becoming an increasing necessity. Fortunately, selecting alternatives is a great adventure to embark on during someone’s annual celebration.

Dairy products

Dairy alternatives present a challenge because many desserts include butter, milk, or cream. Alternatives for these items often use almond or soy milk, or even substitute butter for lard. However, an alternative to a traditional cake is to make a dairy-free chocolate mousse. With coconut milk and dairy-free chocolate, everyone makes and enjoys an ultra rich custard.


Gluten intolerances or allergies present a more difficult challenge than dairy because the properties of gluten are not easily replicated with other materials. When faced with this challenge, the best you can have is a keen sense of adventure. Serving gluten-free cookie ice cream parfaits is a delicious and beautiful dessert that guests can have fun building together. Fruit compotes, shaved ice cream, fruit stews, and chocolate ganaches are great alternatives that work together to create elegant and delicious treats for anyone with or without gluten sensitivity.


More people should avoid nuts in their various forms, especially peanuts. Doing this is less difficult than dairy or gluten when it comes to cakes and pies. For most people, it simply means making sure the ingredients don’t contain any tree or ground nuts like cashews or peanuts. For others with a more severe allergy, it means there is no contamination whatsoever. In the latter cases, making a homemade cake or dessert is usually the best option. For that rich flavor that’s so tempting, try an olive oil cake recipe or something with a rich blend of flavors.

As with any dietary restriction, the best idea is to stay flexible. Sticking to the traditional notion of cake and ice cream severely limits the different types of delicious flavors that can be experienced at a birthday party. With a little creativity, the most appealing scents and flavors will make any alternative birthday gift a great keepsake and a frequently used recipe.


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