No Bake Whole Food Birthday Cake Bars

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Are you ready for what I'm convinced is the most fun treat ever?? Birthday cake bars are here! These adorable little bars are delightfully indulgent, super nostalgic, and made with only whole food ingredients (other than the sprinkles... hehe).

My birthday was last month, and I had planned to post these then as a special little present to myself. Then instead, I spent the entire month migrating to my brand new website (which I'm thrilled about, but moving content over was a total nightmare). Anyways, here they are, a month late. Happy birthday and happy brand new website to me!

Birthday cake bars from above, cut into slices

A Nourishing Remake

The flavor profile of these bars is totally nostalgic and whimsical. They're based on a classic vanilla birthday cake. Doesn't that remind you of childhood birthday parties with big, absurdly decorated sheet cakes?? These bars feature a lot of vanilla, a bit of almond, and colorful sprinkles, i.e. everyone's elementary school birthday party dream.

But unlike sheet cake, these bars are 100% great for your body! They're vegan and made with whole foods. They're also naturally sweetened and mostly fruit-sweetened, plus all of the fat comes from nuts and they're loaded with protein. Now obviously the sprinkles violate those conditions, and you can leave them out if you feel strongly about avoiding any refined sugar, but I'm pretty sure that life is always better with sprinkles. Can you guess what wonderful, whole-food ingredients go into these beauties??

Birthday cake bars cut into squares on a cooling rack

A Secret, Surprising Ingredient

As you guys have probably noticed, I love making desserts with non-traditional dessert ingredients. Avocado mousse? Date blondies? Date cookies? Chick pea blondies?? It's all fair game. But these bars feature my #1 greatest dessert secret: chick peas! If you've never made chick pea desserts before, prepare to have your mind blown!

I know it sounds completely weird, but chick peas add a wonderful creamy texture to desserts, and they really have virtually no taste. I first got excited about them in blondies, and have made many (oh so many!) batches of chick pea blondies. But I've recently seen some chick pea "cookie dough" creations around Instagram, which got me thinking about a no-bake chick pea treat.

And let me tell you, it works beautifully! Chick peas (firmed up with a bit of almond flour) form the upper layer of these bars. The result is somewhere between unbaked cookie dough and cheesecake... sinfully decadent, wonderfully creamy, and good for the body too. Thank you, chick peas!

Birthday cake bars cut into squares on a cooling rack, with a bite mark

Layers! (+ Whole Food Ingredients)

As you can see from the photos, these bars have two layers: a chewy crust and a creamy filling. The base of these bars is my go-to option for a no-bake crust: dates + nuts! It works wonderfully. Here I've used almonds to echo the very subtle almond taste of classic birthday cakes. I like to add just a bit of coconut oil to help the crust set up in the fridge.

The top layer of these bars is where the chick peas come in! It's just chick peas, almond flour, and a bit of maple syrup for sweetness, plus vanilla and almond extracts, and a tiny bit of coconut oil to help it firm up. And the sprinkles, of course.

And that's it! These birthday cake bars are made basically of beans and nuts. Totally cool, and totally absurdly delicious. These bars are easy too! Both the crust and the filling are made in the food processor; you don't even need to wash it in between. Just smooth each layer into an 8x8 pan, pop it in the fridge overnight, and slice them the next day. The only hard part is waiting while the bars chill.

Birthday cake bars in a stack

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Dates. Make sure they're pitted. Double check! It's annoying, but I always cut each one open on its way to the food processor, since sneaky pits often hide inside.
  • Almonds. I prefer to used roasted and salted almonds because they have so much flavor, but raw would work fine. If you don't use salted almonds, add a pinch of salt.
  • Coconut oil. This is important for helping the crust set up firmly in the fridge, so please don't omit it!
  • Chick peas
  • Almond flour. Make sure it's blanched, super-fine. I like Bob's Red Mill. This recipe is designed specifically for almond flour, so I don't recommend trying to substitute it.
  • Maple syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract. This isn't totally critical, but it really helps to achieve that classic birthday cake vibe.
  • Salt
  • Assorted sprinkles. If you really want to omit all refined sugar, then you can leave these out. I like to use sprinkles that are naturally colored.

Birthday cake bars cut into squares from above

Closing Thoughts

Because these adorable treats come together so quickly, I hope they'll become a go-to in your house. We've been enjoying them as a nourishing dessert AND for lunch! They're really no different than a protein bar in terms of their ingredients, so eating them multiple times a day is clearly the right move.

As an added bonus, these bars keep great. They're fine in the fridge for a week, or you can freeze them for longer storage. They'd make a great homemade gift for anyone, whether it's their birthday or not, and you can easily make them a day or two in advance.

I'm so incredibly excited about this recipe and I can't wait for you to try them! I hope these make all your elementary school birthday party wishes come true. Now where are the party favors???

Stack of birthday cake bars on a cooling rack with a bite mark

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

No Bake Whole Food Birthday Cake Bars

These adorable birthday cake bars are a totally nostalgic remake of classic vanilla cake. But they're actually good for the body, made with only whole-food ingredients. Can you guess the secret ingredient for that creamy, dreamy vanilla filling??

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 2 c pitted dates
  • 1 c almonds
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil

For the Filling

  • 15-oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 0.75 c blanched, super-fine almond flour
  • 0.25 c maple syrup, or a dash more to taste
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp almond extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few tbsp assorted sprinkles

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: combine the dates, almonds, and coconut oil in a food processor, and process until the mixture just starts to make a sticky ball.
  2. Line an 8x8 baking dish with wax paper or a few layers of plastic wrap. Make sure the lining goes all the way into the corners and up the sides. Leave enough sticking out the sides so you'll be able to pull the bars out after you're done.
  3. Spoon the crust mixture into the pan and press it down firmly. You want to achieve an even layer that will stick together well, so press it hard.
  4. To make the filling: put all of the filling ingredients except for the sprinkles into the food processor. Process until you have a smooth, creamy filling; it should be about the texture of cheesecake. Give it a taste and add a dash more of maple syrup if you want it sweeter.
  5. Add 2-3 tbsp of colored sprinkles into the filling and stir them in by hand.
  6. Dollop the filling across the top of the crust, then carefully spread it out into an even layer. Be gentle so as to not disturb the crust beneath.
  7. Top the filling with additional sprinkles. Press them down gently into the filling so that they stick.
  8. Cover the baking dish and put the bars in the fridge overnight; they'll be significantly easier to cut and the results will be much neater if you chill them first.
  9. When you're ready to cut, use the wax paper or plastic wrap edges to pull the whole thing out at once. Place it on a cutting board, and cut into your desired size. These are pretty rich, so I recommend cutting them into 9 or 12 squares.
  10. When you're done, store your bars in the refrigerator. They're tastiest and hold their shape best when enjoyed chilled.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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Lauren
September 1, 2021
I've made your chick pea blondies a few times. These seem like a great option for summer!
Lee
August 30, 2021
Carolyn- Yes indeed, I think most other nuts would work fine in this crust; that said, they'll change the flavors slightly. Peanuts would be the most economical choice, and cashews would have a neutral flavor. I'd stay away from pecans, since they're so oily and might cause the crust to fall apart. Hope that helps!
Carolyn
August 29, 2021
Excited to try these! Do you think other nuts would work in the crust?