sweet potato birthday cake

We are so excited to have Amy back with another healthier kids recipe to share! Her Make Ahead Banana and Oat Bars went wild and we think you will love today’s even more! Amy Palanjian is a writer, editor, recipe developer, and crafter for magazines, books, and websites. She’s also mama to a very energetic toddler and she shares realistic, yet wholesome recipes and feeding tips at Yummy Toddler Food which is incredible! You can also find her on Instagram and Facebook as @yummytoddlerfood. Welcome back, Amy!

“When my little girl turned one, I was filled with emotions. I couldn’t believe that a year had passed since she was born and that she was walking, starting to talk, and eating all sorts of delicious foods. We planned a family party to celebrate the milestone and while I kept the theme to a very straightforward “Birthday!”, I spent a lot of time thinking about the cake — find all my cake conquests here.Sweet Potato Smash Cake for a 1st BirthdayI wanted to give my girl a first taste of cake that was naturally sweet, soft enough for her to easily eat, and flavorful. I wanted to make one cake that we could all share, just like the way we eat our regular meals, so I spent a lot of time researching recipes and eventually settled on this Apple Cake. 1st Birthday Sweet Potato Cake It was a huge hit and we liked it so much that I made it twice so that our extended family could try it! Since then, I’ve tried to create a few other cake recipes that are appropriate for toddlers, yet delicious enough for the whole family. There’s a Banana Cake that we love (and often make just because) and now there’s this Sweet Potato Apple Cake.03_horiz

This cake, which has a delicate crumb and natural sweetness, is moist, rich, and immensely satisfying. It has a base of ground oats, roasted sweet potato, and apple butter, so it’s naturally gluten- and refined-sugar-free, yet it’s filled with flavor. It holds its shape and is easy to make, yet it’s soft enough for little ones. It pairs perfectly with a maple-sweetened cream cheese frosting and it’s completely delicious chilled, so you can make it a full day ahead of time.

So whether you have a first birthday to celebrate, are serving a family dinner to a group of all ages, or you just want to serve up a healthy and comforting dessert to your family, this cake is for you.

Sweet Potato Smash Cake for 1st Birthday

Sweet Potato Apple Cake
Plan to roast the sweet potato the day before you want to make the cake, or at least two hours before, to give it time to cool down after it’s finished cooking. You can also steam it, which takes slightly less time, but you will lose some of the flavors of the natural caramelization that occurs with roasting.
Serves 8-10

1 cup rolled oats, ground finely in a food processor
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup roasted, cooled, and mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup no-added sugar apple butter
1/3 cup brown rice syrup at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans.
2. Stir together the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl; Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs and butter together with a hand held mixer for about 1 minute. Add the sweet potato, apple butter, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Add the oat mixture and beat until just combined. Pour half of the batter into each cake pan and smooth with a spatula.
3. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in pans on a rack for 30 minutes. Carefully remove cakes from pan and let cool fully on a wire rack.
4. To make the frosting, beat cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, and maple syrup in a medium bowl with a hand held mixer until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust sweetness if necessary.
5. Place one cake carefully onto a cake plate or serving plate. Spread a thick layer of frosting on top, smoothing to the edges. Place the second cake on top of the frosting and press down slightly. Spread on enough frosting to cover just the top, or the top and the sides, depending on your preference. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve. Can be baked and frosted up to one full day ahead of time. Store any leftovers in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Add 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger to the batter.
Try 1/4 cup applesauce instead of apple butter.
Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the frosting.”

More of Amy:

Yummy Toddler Food

@yummytoddlerfood on Instagram and Facebook

tiny tour: costa rica

A stop on our Tiny Tour series is long overdue and today we have a special guest post from our friend Erynn at Tropic of Candycorn! We sought them out at Alt last Winter because we loved their concept so much. Tropic of Candycorn is dedicated to inspiring families to travel together—near and far. Travel can be intimidating, expensive, and time consuming, but since over 80% of a child’s happiest memories are away from home, it’s important. Tropic Of Candycorn encourages families to explore together and provides helpful tips, inspiring stories, and recommendations for every price point. We all recently took a turn going on a lengthy road trip/flight and died over their Travel pack for kids! Such a great gift! Welcome, Erynn!

When families are looking for an adventure outside the United States, one of the first places to consider is Costa Rica. It’s close, fun, safe, family-friendly, and worth the effort. English is practically a second language, especially in the vacation destination areas. Find a comprehensive post on their site!

Today, we want to share some of our favorite destinations in Costa Rica, and let you know what makes them special and different.

Nosara: If you have ever wanted to learn to surf, Playa Guiones in Nosara may be the perfect spot. Tiny Tour: Costa RicaRent a villa and stay a few days to enjoy one of the sunnier spots on the Pacific Coast. The friendly locals, beach culture, and surf are year-round attractions. In July and December, nesting Olive Ridley sea turtles add to Nosara’s appeal.Tiny Tour: Costa Rica

Visit the Tropic of Candycorn travelogue Good Times in Costa Rica to see how two moms took their combined seven kids to Nosara for several weeks of fun last year. Some of our favorites in this area include: Rosi’s Tica Restaurant for traditional food at a good price; the Seekretspot gelato; surf lessons; and exploring the nearby waterfalls.

Tortuguero: Tortuguero is one of the best places for wildlife viewing in Central America. This Caribbean Coast forest is home to more than 400 avian species, including toucans, herons, jacanas, and macaws. Spider and howler monkeys, otters, caimans, and sloths are fairly common here. We love Tortuguero for its beauty and wildlife density. Tiny Tour: Costa RicaMost of the lodges are basic, but affordable, and kids of all ages can participate in the activities.

Monteverde: Leaving the coastline has its advantages. The beautiful Monteverde Cloud Forest is one example—a misty mountain forest abuzz with hummingbirds, butterflies, and birdsong. The area outside the reserves is well known for zip-lines, hanging bridge trail systems, butterfly gardens, horseback tours, and the San Luis waterfall. Local cooperatives produce coffee, cheese, and ice cream;Rio Perdido: This is our favorite new family-friendly hotel in Costa Rica, but it is still relatively unknown. The lodge rests on a cliff overlooking the junction of the Rio Blanco and a rare, thermal river. The hotel has three naturally heated swimming pools, one of the best zip-line courses in the country, and miles of biking trails. We loved the river tubing tour and the volcanic mud painting. The hotel also offers a “breakfast at the farm” experience, where kids can learn to gather eggs, milk cows, make tortillas, and grind coffee. The bungalow designs are spot on—cozy, efficient, and filled with light. 

Rio Perdido: This is our favorite new family-friendly hotel in Costa Rica, but it is still relatively unknown. The lodge rests on a cliff overlooking the junction of the Rio Blanco and a rare, thermal river. The hotel has three naturally heated swimming pools, one of the best zip-line courses in the country, and miles of biking trails. We loved the river tubing tour and the volcanic mud painting. The hotel also offers a “breakfast at the farm” experience, where kids can learn to gather eggs, milk cows, make tortillas, and grind coffee. The bungalow designs are spot on—cozy, efficient, and filled with light. We had a tough time getting the kids to leave this place.Rio Perdido

If you have any tips and trips to share, you can contact cornelius@tropicofcandycorn.com to share your family travel experiences!

More about Erynn: Erynn has four daughters (2, 5, 9, and 10) and they live in Salt Lake. She was the CEO/President of an International humanitarian organization before having kids. Although she loved the (exhausting) work, she resigned when she became a mom. Travel has aways been important to them, and when Erynn’s banker husband decided he hated his job, they started Mosaico Travel. They design custom itineraries for the wealthy and sometimes famous and spend 5 to 6 weeks with their kids in a new country every year and run Tropic of Candycorn as their passion project.

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avengers training!

We have done quite a few super hero themed parties around these parts with our friends at Target (find Spider-Man and the Ninja Turtles here), but the Avengers might just be our favorite. Our kids have been in love with each character on their own for years now, so seeing them each come together and do their thing as a team is just about the coolest thing our boys can think of! Today is an easy at-home playdate idea or even just a fun adventure to take as a family! All you need are a handful of training stations and your super hero gear so each kiddo can give their favorite character a whirl! Avengers Training PartyFor the at home training stations all you need are some laundry baskets, yarn and some imagination! We created the city scape with skinny duct tape and slips of black paper!Avengers Training Party First up, space the baskets apart for agility training. Being quick on your feet and avoiding obstacles is a vital super hero skill.Avengers Training PartyThen with your trusty yarn you can create a tunnel of lasers to avoid by ducking, jumping and having the utmost balance and control.Avengers Training PartyThen stack towers for target practice! Shooting them down with only your Iron Man laser glove (or a bouncy ball!)Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 12.51.12 PM Avengers Training PartyOr your Captain America Disc Launching Shield (find the mask here):Avengers Training PartyOr maybe just smashing with your Hulk Fists!Avengers Training PartyAs we mentioned in our sneak peek on Instagram this week, Hulk Fists are for everyone.Avengers Training PartyOur kids happily Avenged all afternoon and the only clean up was a handful of baskets! That is a win-win if we’ve ever seen one. Find a whole set of Avengers dress-ups here!Avengers Training Party




This post is sponsored by Target.Advertisement

little girl swim

We’ve scoured the internet yet again to bring you the best in little girl swim. These pieces are unique, durable and fun plus most are discounted! Happy Shopping.girlsswimHeart & Stripe Swimsuit (30% off with code SALETHERAPY)

Fringe Bikini (30% off with code PERKS)

Flutter Sleeve One Piece

Rainbow Striped One Piece (20% off with code XTRAPOP20)

Native Shoes

Strawberry Swimsuit with Bow Back

Heart & Stripe Swimsuit #2

Pineapple Print One Piece

Pineapple Sunglasses

little boy swim

It has been awhile since our Thursday Threads series saw some action but we couldn’t get too far into this amazing Summer weather without sharing our favorite suits from around the web! First up, boys! And check back tomorrow for our picks for girls!

girlsswimHalf & Half Swim Trunk (Extra 25% off with code XTRAPOP20)

Peach & Blue Stripe Oxford Trunk (Extra 30% off with code SALETHERAPY)

Kids Snorkel Gear (Extra 30% off with code SALETHERAPY)

Ray Ban Aviators

Star Boxer

Nautical Stripe Boxer

Shark Trunks

Towel Poncho