Healthy homemade perfect bars that taste just like birthday cake batter. This copycat perfect bar recipe is dairy-free with cashew butter, honey, coconut flour, vegan protein powder, or collagen. Plus, these homemade protein bars are lower in sugar and a fraction of the price!
If you’re a Perfect Bar lover or just looking for a protein-packed snack, these bars are for you!
Taste and texture-wise, these copycat perfect bar recipe is as close to the store-bought Perfect Bar as you can get. It’s soft, doughy, and packed with protein. That being said, The original Perfect Bars are typically made from peanut butter, honey, milk powder, whole dried egg, and whole food fruits and vegetable powder. This homemade perfect bar changes things up a bit making them lower in sugar, dairy-free, and can be made vegan. Plus, Perfect Bars cost $2-3 each, whereas making your own is a fraction of the price.
As for taste, let’s just say I think you’ll be obsessed. This homemade perfect bar recipe is a take on the original Perfect Bar’s limited edition birthday cake flavor that’s no longer available. It seemed only natural to recreate this flavor since you can’t find it in stores. I’m so happy I did. This flavor does not disappoint. It takes like birthday cake batter with a cashew butter base and hints of vanilla and almond. Plus, sprinkles. Because you can’t have a classic birthday cake without sprinkles.
Ingredients In this Homemade Perfect Bar Recipe
While this isn’t an exact replica of the original Perfect Bar, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Plus, you only need 6 main ingredients, plus sprinkles!
- Cashew butter – while the original birthday cake Perfect Bar has a blend of almond and cashew, I prefer using only cashew butter as the base. Cashew butter creates a creamy, buttery taste and texture. I know cashew butter can be expensive. I recommend Trader Joe’s cashew butter for this recipe or another roasted salted cashew butter. You can also make your own cashew butter with roasted cashews.
- Honey – this mild-tasting natural sweetener pairs perfectly with the cashews. This recipe calls for less sweetener than the original bar but it’s still sweet and delicious. You can also use maple syrup.
- Coconut flour – this ingredient is key! The coconut flour absorbs liquid extremely well. This allows the dough come together with and hold its shape when formed into bars. I do not recommend substituting with another flour. I’ve seen other recipes that call for oat flour, but you’ll likely need double the amount.
- Protein powder or collagen – I’ve made these bars with plant-based protein and collagen. They tasted so similar, I’m giving you both options. I recommend Sprout Living’s unflavored flax or pea protein for this recipe or your favorite brand of unflavored collagen peptides. You can use the code “nourished20” for 20% off your order of Sprout Living’s protein powders. It’s seriously the BEST.
- Vanilla extract – enhances the sweetness and adds to the birthday cake flavor.
- Almond extract – another key ingredient for that birthday cake taste. Almond extract is used in bakery-style cakes making these bars very reminiscent of the classic birthday cake.
- Sprinkles – you can’t have a classic birthday cake without sprinkles! I recommend using naturally dyed sprinkles if possible. I used the 356 brand sprinkles from Whole Foods.
Perfect Bar Ingredients
So what’s in a perfect bar? It varies based on the flavor, but the first ingredient usually consists of nut butter, usually peanut butter or almond butter. The second ingredient listed organic honey. While these are natural sweeteners, it’s still an added sugar and something I recommend keeping at a minimum. The added sugar in most Perfect Bars puts the bars at 13-18 grams per bar. To put it into perspective hats about 4-6 teaspoons of sugar per bar.
To boost the protein, Perfect Bars use a mix of egg powder, nonfat dry milk, and rice protein. The egg powder and dry milk powder doesn’t make these bars vegan or allergy-friendly. This homemade version uses vegan protein powder or collagen peptides.
Perfect Bars also boast of a whole food blend of various fruits and vegetables. While this is a unique ingredient and can be catchy for those who are struggling to get in the daily dose of fruits and vegetables, I recommend focusing on getting your fruits and vegetables through whole foods. With that being said, I didn’t try to replicate that aspect of the Perfect Bar.
ARE PERFECT BARS VEGAN?
No, Perfect Bars aren’t vegan. They used to have two flavors that were plant-based—Chocolate Walnut Brownie and Almond Coconut. They used organic dates and honey as the sweeteners and a combination of hemp protein, rice protein, and chia powder in place of the egg powder and dry milk. However, these flavors have been discontinued.
Are Perfect Bars Healthy?
As Registered Dietitian I get this question so often. I get it! Bars are convenient. But they also have a “health-halo” effect. This means consumers perceive these bars to be healthy based on the way they’re marketed and often disregard the nutrition facts label.
My take? Perfect Bars can be part of a healthy, balanced diet. They can be a good option in a pinch. But they’re not something I recommend grabbing on a daily basis. Perfect Bars are calorically-dense and pretty high in sugar. Each Perfect Bar is around 300 calories per bar and ranges from 13-18 grams of sugar per bar. Even though they are balanced with protein, healthy fats and fiber the added sugar is something to be mindful of on a daily basis. You may also find eating 300 calories of whole foods versus a bar that is gone in three bites more satisfying.
Making these homemade perfect bars can be a healthier option because it allows you to control the ingredients and added sugar. This naturally makes them lower in calories, total carbs, and added sugar, but still packed with protein. Plus, you can cut them into smaller bars. This allows you to eat to your hunger levels without simply devouring an entire bar without paying much attention to how you feel.
Tips For How to make Homemade Perfect Bars
- Use drippy nut butter – you want your cashew butter or other nut butter of choice to be fresh and runny. I find roasted nut butters work best. Make sure your nut butter is well stirred and completely smooth. If you’re nut butter is hard from being in the refrigerator, I recommend warming it in the microwave for 30 seconds before mixing it with the other ingredients.
- Pick the right protein powder – I’ve tried this recipe with this unflavored flax protein and collagen peptides. Both work wonderfully and taste amazing. This quality protein powder will make a difference. If you’re protein powder tastes terrible or is chalky, your bars might taste similar. I recommend Sprout Living for a plant-based protein powder or collagen peptides.
- Adjust the coconut flour – The coconut flour absorbs the liquid and gives these bars their shape. Start with 5 tablespoons of coconut flour and add 1 tablespoon at a time until your reach a playdough-like consistency. It should be moldable, not sticky or too dry and cracking. I used 6 tablespoons of coconut flour for the collagen peptides and 5 tablespoons coconut flour for the flax protein powder. The amount you use will depend on the type of protein powder you use.
- Press into a parchment-lined loaf pan – lining the loaf ban allows for you to easily remove the bars. Press the dough down so it’s about ½ inch thick, then smooth the top. You can do this by pressing down with the bottom of a second equal-sized loaf pan or use the bottom of a measuring cup.
- Freeze and refrigerate – freezing for about 20 sets the bars and makes them easier to slice. Once sliced, store in the fridge until ready to eat.
MORE HEALTHY Protein bar RECIPES
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and rate the recipe below to let me know how you liked it. You can also tag #nourishedbynutriton on Instagram with your creations!
Homemade Birthday Cake Perfect Bars
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6-12 bars 1x
1 cup cashew butter
½ cup unflavored plant-based protein powder or collagen peptides
5–6 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
In a medium bowl, mix together the cashew butter, honey, vanilla and almond extract. Stir in the protein powder. Add 5 tablespoons of coconut flour. Mix and check the consistency. It should be thick and pliable like playdough. If it’s still sticky, add more coconut flour 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Place the dough into the lined pan and flatten to ½ inch thickness. Flatten the top by placing a second loaf pan on top and pressing down or using the bottom of a measuring cup. Top with the sprinkles and gently flatten them into the dough.
Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Once sliced, store in the fridge or the freezer until ready to enjoy. These bars will last for 2 weeks in the fridge and for 3 months or longer in the freezer.
Quality protein powder makes a difference. I recommend Sprout Living for a plant-based protein powder or collagen peptides. I used 6 tablespoons of coconut flour for the collagen peptides and 5 tablespoons coconut flour for the flax protein powder. The amount you use will depend on the type of protein powder you use.