Parents’ Guide to 10 Gluten-Free Birthday Cake Alternatives

I was in my generic chain local drug store the other day on a hunt for vegan snack options and bumped into an entire section filled with paleo, whole 30, keto, vegan, GMO and gluten free options. The fact that many conventional stores are accommodating people with varying dietary restrictions made me smile.

I am always sad for kids who cannot partake in birthday celebrations at school because of a peanut or gluten allergy and because of innovation in foods, they have more option. Whether you’re going for custom Kroger cakes, a large heavily discounted Costco or BJs wholesale market cake, or a specialty baker, you can now request these larger outlets create a yummy cake without the offending items!

Parents may have a challenging time finding alternatives to the traditional birthday cake for a child who is gluten intolerant. However, with some creativity, a sense of adventure in baking, or a willingness to try the unusual, it doesn’t need to be a challenge at all. Here are some fun alternatives that kids are sure to enjoy.

Chocolate Mousse – For the chocolate lovers, serving chocolate mousse in cute little dessert dishes with sprinkles on top is just the ticket. Use candle numbers and secure them to the serving plate. Arrange the individual dishes around the candles.

Ice cream parfaits with gluten free cookies

Using parfait glasses or clear dessert dishes, layer different flavors of gluten free ice cream on top of each other. You can add fruit and/or nut layers for even more variety. Add a candle for the birthday child and you’re all set.


Set up a table with all the fixings for sundaes and let the kids build their own. For birthday flair, you could bring out the ice cream bucket with candles lit and sing birthday greetings to the lucky child. Make sure that the ice cream you choose is gluten free. Some ice cream products do contain gluten, but that information should be listed on the container.

Chocolate fountain

Kids and adults alike love chocolate fountains. You can use fruit, marshmallows and gluten free cake squares for dipping. When deciding what type of chocolate to use for the fountain, check to make sure it is gluten free. Chocolate is gluten free, but some companies use additives that include gluten.

If the information is not on the package you can go to the company’s website to find out whether or not the product contains gluten.

Shaved Ices

Party on a hot day? Serve shaved ice in a variety of flavors. Kids love shaved ice, and on a blazing summer day it’s the perfect birthday treat. You can get creative and make rainbow ices by putting different color syrups on the ice. You can also use two colors to make three by using colors that mix; for example, use yellow and red on each side and an orange strip will appear down the middle where the syrups meet.

Garnish servings with gluten free cookies.

Chocolate covered fruit – If you don’t want to go the route of the chocolate fountain, you can get or make chocolate covered fruit. Strawberries and pineapple are perfect for dipping. You can purchase readymade treats or you can do it yourself. If neither of those appeal to you, consider using a fondue pot and let the kids dip their own fruit in the chocolate.

Gluten free Peter Rabbit carrot cupcakes – A Peter Rabbit themed party is perfect for spring or for kids who love Beatrix Potter. For something a little different, try making these cute gluten free cup cakes.

Crispy rice cake – Rice Krispie Treats are a long time favorite of kids, and now Kellogg makes a brown rice gluten free product for those who have allergies. This product is also Kosher. Making the marshmallow treat in a cake shape and adding frosting makes a nice alternative to the traditional birthday cake. Erewhon also offers a gluten free brown rice crispy cereal that is available at Whole Foods.

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Cupcake tree – If you have a good gluten free cake recipe, you can make cupcakes and arrange them on tiered serving plates. Some moms make regular and gluten free varieties and place designs on each to signify the difference.

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Gluten free pound cake – If you really need a cake and it has to be gluten free, there is a great pound cake recipe at cookingglutenfree.com. This recipe includes instructions for making the cake and a recipe for making gluten free flour substitute.

Birthday cake alternatives are becoming popular for all kinds of reasons. From ice cream cakes to birthday pies, the list of alternative desserts continues to grow. If you have a child that’s gluten free, these 10 options will ensure that he still has a birthday filled with treats, despite being gluten intolerant.

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