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Angie Needels / Director / 510-325-4785



Berkeley, CA


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Nourishment and Support for Growing Families

Having Your Birthday Cake and Proudly Eating it Too!

Angie Needels

Most kid's birthdays are centered around a celebration with cake and ice cream, an american tradition and sweet treat to say "YAY... we made it another year!". 

With that, often comes a bit of guilt as most bakery bought cakes or recipes made from boxed mixes or even from scratch are laden with processed sugars and flours. And as we're unearthing more and more, these foods are directly linked to all sorts of health and behavioral problems. Maybe we justify it by thinking "well... it's only once a year", but actually when our kids start to meet other kids, the parties and cake eating opportunities add up. 

In our hearts we are always searching for a better option, of course we are, we only want the very best for our little ones. Something I like to reiterate to clients and friends alike is that before processed versions of these foods, there were unprocessed versions. And instead of these foods being denatured and stripped of nutrients, they were chock-full of goodness and enjoyable to partake in on special occasions and seasonally. 

Check out Chris Kresser's post: 
Is There Any Room for Sweeteners in a Healthy Diet?

In Kid Friendly Nourishing Beverages & Sweeter TreatsI mention we can create opportunities for increasing our nutrient-intake in all foods that we eat, even our sweet treats like birthday cakes. If you are hungry for some additional traditional style recipes and ideas, check out all the great desserts in Nourishing Traditions (starting on pg. 533), so many to choose from!

So here are a few ideas that might help relieve some stress around your next birthday celebration...

Traditional Style Cakes & Treats

  • a simple bowl of berries with fresh whipped raw cream or whipped coconut cream on top (grain free, dairy free with whipped coconut milk)
  • cheesecakes (raw or baked - raw recipe below) (grain free)
  • coconut or dairy panacotta topped with berries, fruit compote or marmalades (traditional Italian custard - substitute whole fat coconut milk for heavy cream) (grain free, dairy free with coconut milk)
  • creamy flan topped with berry sauce (grain free)
  • coconut milk custard topped with berries (grain free, dairy free)
  • Mustikkapiiras (traditional Finnish yogurt pie with blueberries - recipe below) (grain free)
  • coconut flour yellow cake with your favorite butter cream frosting (reduce and substitute organic sugar for 3/4 cup honey OR 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar) (grain free)
  • Paleo chocolate cake with honey frosting (grain free)
  • coconut butter cake with coconut frosting (grain free, dairy free)
  • carrot cake with maple-orange frosting (SCORE - added hidden veggies) (grain free)

and if you can't have cake without ice cream...
see our recipe for Coconut Milk Custard Ice Cream Base (scroll down) and make your super favorite ice cream varieties super healthy for you too!

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Nourishing Traditions All-Raw Cheese Cake (pg. 566)

A raw cream cheesecake that can be made with cultured cream cheese, strained from yogurt. It is probiotic, has healthy fats, and doesn't have to be baked.

2 cups crispy almonds (see recipe in NT pg. 515) 
1 cup pitted dates 

4 eggs separated, room temperature 
1 1/4 cups milk (preferable raw dairy OR substitute coconut) 
2 tablespoons gelatin (Great Lakes or Vital Proteins
4 cups homemade cultured cream cheese, softened 
     (make cultured cream cheese by straining yogurt)
     (use whey in fermentation)
     (each quart of yogurt yields 1 1/2 cups cultured cream cheese) 
1/2 cup raw honey 
1 tablespoon vanilla 
pince of sea salt

In a food processor, process dates and almonds until they form a sticky mass. Press into a buttered 9-inch by 13-inch pyrex pan to form a crust.

Put egg yolks and milk in a sauce pan, beat lightly, sprinkle with gelatin and warm slightly until gelatin is dissolved. In a food processor, combine cream cheese, honey and vanilla and process until smooth. Add yolk mixture and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and place in a refrigerator. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt  in a bowl with a standing mixer or with a hand beater until stiff, fold into cream-cheese mixture and pour into crust. Chill several hours before serving. 

Recipe best done the day before.

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Mustikkapiiras (Finnish Yogurt Blueberry Pie) 

coconut pie crust: 
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into cubes 
2 cups finely shredded coconut

Mix crust ingredients evenly in small bowl, smashing and breaking apart the butter as you go. In 9 inch pie dish, press crust mixture firmly and evenly on bottom and sides. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 min or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

2 eggs 
3 Tablespoons honey 
1 cup yogurt 
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
2 cups blueberries

Mix filling ingredients in a medium bowl, except for the blueberries. 

In the pie pan spread the blueberries evenly in the cooled coconut crust. Pour the blended filling over berries. Place a strip of parchment over edges of crust so it doesn't burn when you bake pie. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or 325 for 60-75 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place in a refrigerator to chill completely before serving. 

Recipe best done the day before.

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All of these options are much healthier versions of the typical birthday cake. And you can feel comforted by not having to compromise or make exceptions on your child's special day. For many of them, you can also make a cupcake version or do the custards in wide-mouthed 1/2 pint mason jars so you know each child will have a small enough portion. Kids love things that are just their size.

Enjoy your next birthday with extra nutrient density!

Angie /
Primal Mama /