An Elmo themed vanilla birthday cake (whole wheat, eggless, natural colors)


What’s special about this cake? Not just that it is for a cute little munchkin, a friend’s kid who loves Elmo.

This is my first vanilla-flavored birthday cake. I was able to decorate it with no synthetic food colors, just homemade plant-based colors! ย Using natural colors was not a criterion, but I wanted to see if it could be worked out. My friend only wanted a non-chocolate cake, and so I took this opportunity to optimize a recipe for a basic vanilla whole wheat cake.


Till yesterday, I did not think it was possible to get a bright red color in frosting. Tried boiled cranberries, but it did not work. I have used natural pink color from beets before, and read on the internet that it can make red too. It was time to test that! I juiced a beet and reduced the juice by boiling, and voila! There it was, a nice red frosting with the humble beet.

What about Elmo’s orange colorย nose? Surely carrots would work, wouldn’t they? Yes, they did. ๐Ÿ™‚ And they both taste delicious!


Wait, what about the black? Any amount of chocolate yields only brown. And guess what came to my rescue, while I was frantically searching for a natural black color… black-strap molasses! This discovery really made me giddy with joy. ๐Ÿ™‚

This white cake can be easily made vegan by substituting regular yogurt with soy yogurt.

Folks at Fiesta Friday #41 party, there’s one more cake that we can party with, as guilt-free as I could make it. Hope Angie and co-hosts Nancy and Loretta like it as much as we do!

Elmo themed vanilla cake


For basic 8″ square vanilla cake:


whole wheat pastry flour- 2 cup

sugar- 3/4 cup

baking powder- 1 ย 1/2 tsp.

baking soda- 1/2 tsp.


yogurt- 1 cup (2% or fat free)

canola oil- 1/2 cup

vanilla- 1 1/2 tsp.


* Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

* Mix wet ingredients in another bowl, add dry to wet in portions.

* Bake at 350 ยฐF for 35 minutes or till a knife inserted in the middle comes clean.

Ingredients for frosting:

organic Spectrum shortening- 2 cups

powdered sugar- about 2 lb.

water- as needed


red – beet juice concentrate

orange- carrot juice concentrate

black- melted dark chocolate and black-strap molasses

brown- cocoa powder


33 responses to “An Elmo themed vanilla birthday cake (whole wheat, eggless, natural colors)

  1. Pingback: Chicken Green Tomato Jalfrezi| Fiesta Friday #41 | The Novice Gardener·

  2. I thought for sure you had used beets to make the red icing…but nope! You surprised me again by using cranberries! And then you use carrots and molasses too. Fabulous idea…your creativeness never ceases to amaze me. ๐Ÿ™‚ Adorable cake…Elmo looks fabulous all dressed in his beautiful colors! Thanks for sharing your unique ideas with the Fiesta Friday party goers! โค


  3. Wow! Clever and creative you!! It seems you were out to just use plant based ingredients and you were very very successful. Love Elmo, you did such a super job. Bravo!


  4. So cute!! I love Elmo, by the way. I made Elmo cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday- lots of candy for the decorations- and red food coloring. You did such an impressive job getting a perfect red without it!


    • Yes, Josette, it is very hard to avoid synthetic colors. I do not think I could have made many cupcakes with this natural color though, that would take a lot of beets and time too!


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