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Sugar-conscious parents turn to a different kind of ‘fruit cake’ for youngsters’ birthday

It is an annual rite of passage for most children: a fat wedge of birthday cake and the sugar high that follows.

But with parents increasingly leery of processed sugar and the dietary restrictions of party guests, a growing trend is coming to Aussie kids’ birthdays: the watermelon cake.

Typically made from fresh watermelon styled to look like a tiered wedding cake, the cakes can be quite elaborate and are usually adorned with more fruit.

The idea of trading cake for fruit at children’s birthday parties is not new — there is even a Women’s Weekly recipe for a watermelon cake — but the idea has enjoyed a resurgence on social media.

Watermelon Cakes: Jazmin Pozo is pictured with her son's Noah, 4 and Ethan, 2. Photo by Michael Wilson 25/11/20
Camera IconWatermelon Cakes: Jazmin Pozo is pictured with her son’s Noah, 4 and Ethan, 2. Photo by Michael Wilson 25/11/20 Credit: The West Australian

Jazmin Pozo made a watermelon cake for her son Noah Jones to take to school for his fourth birthday in May after seeing images of them on social media app Pinterest.

“It all started because Noah is not much of a fan of regular cakes but he loves fruit and also the whole rules that you have if you want to bring something to share for your kid’s birthday at school,” she said.

“With all the allergies there’s just a lot of things you have to take in mind.

“He loved it and the teachers loved it, they said all the kids were crazy about it.”

Accredited dietitian and Dietitians Australia spokeswoman Margaret Hays said watermelon cakes were a “fabulous” idea to encourage children to see fruit as a treat and to avoid eating too much birthday cake if they were attending a lot of parties.

“I think it’s fabulous, I think it’s a great idea,” she said.

“It’s colourful, it’s pretty, it’s fresh and you get your serves of fruit in for the day.”

But she said parents who went the more traditional route should not feel guilty giving their children the occasional piece of cake.

“If their main meals at home are nutritious and well-balanced a piece of cake isn’t going to be the end of the world,” she said.

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