Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another successful birthday cake!

For the three years that my family has needed allergy-friendly birthday cakes, we have tried a few different things. The first birthday cake I made without wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts was grainy and dry. My daughter's second birthday cake was made of rice crispies and marshmallows. Since then, we have had kabocha squash cupcakes with cooked coconut frosting(those were delicious!), offered homemade cupcakes or something yummy for the children to have while my husband had a mini birthday cake baked from a mix in the microwave, and even had a cookie for a birthday cake(my daughter requested a sugar cookie rather than a cake).

For my husband's recent birthday, we had our first "traditional" birthday cake(as in white, yellow, or chocolate, full size) to be shared with the whole family, since my attempt 3 years ago for my daughter's first birthday. It was a vanilla cake from the magazine "Living Without," which has select recipes online. It's a good cake! Funny, the kids we made it for didn't really go for it, they were most interested in the frosting(homemade marshmallow with lemon sauce whipped in) and in the ice cream made just for them! I'll post the non-dairy ice cream recipe.

The cake was very sturdy(not crumbly, held together well), had a great texture(not grainy and not starchy/powdery!), and no off-flavor. It was a lot like a vanilla pound cake. It was more dense than the traditional white cake, like a pound cake would be. Probably because I didn't use eggs. That's okay, I'd much rather have a slightly dense cake than a grainy or starchy or off-taste cake. The flavor was basic. But plenty good with a raspberry sauce I served. The cake together consisted of the vanilla cake recipe linked below, with raspberry sauce and lemon marshmallow frosting.

Here's a link to the recipe for the cake. The recipe includes eggs, but has a substitution for eggs written below the recipe. http://www.livingwithout.com/recipes/aprmay09-vanilla-cake.html
There are variations I'd like to try: coconut cake and lemon cake.

For the frosting, follow the "buttercream" frosting recipe with the cake(use non-dairy margarine), or try the lemon-marshmallow topping I served. Our family is delighted with this new topping. My sister created this as a filling for a wedding cake she recently made, and found that it works well for a frosting. This delicious lemony-marshallow topping is created by mixing a batch of basic marshmallows(easy to make) with lemon sauce. See my post "Lemony-Marshmallow Topping."

For the filling, puree some fruit(we used raspberries with some strawberries), sweeten if desired, and thicken. I use Instant Clear-Jel(which is modified food starch). I have to admit that I haven't verified for certain that this isn't derived from barley or wheat. My understanding, when I researched it, is that it's derived from corn. But I am not confident in this enough to warrant it for your use if you cannot have gluten. Check on this. If you cannot have instant clear-jel, you can use cornstarch to thicken. Or arrowroot if you cannot have corn, etc...

This was a great birthday cake! To decorate it, I simply used strawberries and blueberries, placed in a flower design on top of the marshmallow topping. My sister previously made a cake with this marshmallow topping and simply placed pansies from her garden on top. It was beautifully simple. She used pureed stawberries for her filling. The cake was gluten-free lemon, which had a delicious flavor. There are lots of possibilities for delicious, enjoyable, and allergy-friendly birthday cakes!

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