"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Allergy-Free Birthday Cake

As I mentioned in my last post, our 2 year old birthday boy is allergic to all sorts of things: eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, corn, tree nuts, coconut, sesame, and peanuts ... and those are just the ones we are currently aware of.  It is extremely expensive to test for allergies and they are constantly changing.  I suspect there is something else bothering him lately, as his eczema has been worse and he's had more diarrhea than usual, but I haven't figured out what it is yet.  Last time we had him tested was only 6 months ago and it cost us over $500.

Anyway, this post was intended to be about this amazing cake!  I'll admit I wasn't really looking forward to eating an allergy free cake.  I tried a gluten free one from a box last year and wasn't that impressed.  That was before we found out he was allergic to way more things than we though.  Most notable of these was soy and corn - which if you think about it, corn starch (xanthan gum) or corn syrup is in everything.   Most of the gluten free mixes have soy in them. So it's been a real adjustment to figure out what to feed this kid.  Mostly we stick with fresh meats, veggies and fruits.  Thankfully he can have most of those.

Getting back to the point, I came across this allergy-free cake recipe.  I'm terrible about remembering where I find recipes, so I'm extremely sorry to whomever I stole this recipe from.  I would give credit if I could find the source.  My best guess would be www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com.  I'm about 99% sure that's where this came from, but don't shoot me if that's wrong :)

 This cake was so amazingly good that it would be a shame not to share it with others who need it.  So here it is.  The recipe made an 8x8 pan, and I think next time I'm going to make it in little square muffin/mini loaf pans so I can freeze it so he will have a dessert to take to places where there will be desserts he can't have.

1 cup white rice flour                                         
1/3 cup potato starch
3 tablespoons tapioca starch                           
1/2 teaspoon guar gum (you could use xanthan gum if you don't have corn allergies)
1 cup sugar                                                        
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract                             
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 tablespoons canola oil                                      
1-1/4 cup cold water

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla extract, vinegar, canola oil and water. Mix well.
3) For cake: Pour batter into an ungreased square cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  (I was nervous about the "ungreased" part, but the cake came out of the pan just fine.
For cupcakes: Pour batter into a muffin tin with paper liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the pan immediately and place on a cooling rack. Makes 12 cupcakes.
1/4 cup rice flour                                             
1 cup rice milk
1 cup sugar                                                      
3/4 cup shortening (I used spectrum palm oil because regular shortening often contains soy or corn)
3 tablespoons canola oil                                  
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)
1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together the rice flour and rice milk until combined completely. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the mixture begins to thicken whisk constantly until it is the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2) With a mixer, cream together the shortening and oil until smooth and light, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and cooled flour and milk mixture and beat for another 4 minutes. If desired, add cocoa powder and mix until incorporated completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 I sprinkled the baby food dehydrated bananas and strawberries on top to make it fancy.  He especially liked that, but it would have been awesome to put fresh strawberry slices on top too.  I just didn't have any.

You can probably see that the frosting seemed a little grainy.  Well, I shouldn't say grainy - it was more like it was a little separated - like when you make the filling for cream puffs from shortening.  It was pretty warm here, and I wondered after the fact if I could have skipped the liquid oil and just creamed the shortening with the sugar.  I might try that next time.  It didn't set up as firm as I would have needed it to for trying to do a design like you would with buttercream frosting.  The cake was amazingly moist and had a great flavor.

I was planning to make him some homemade ice cream too.  I had heard that Jello products don't contain milk, so I was going to use a pudding mix.  But after reading all the labels on the ones I had here, the only one I thought I might be able to use was a vanilla mix, and it contained "modified food starch." Talk about vague!  What kind of "food" exactly?  Who knows.  In the end, we decided it wasn't worth the risk as corn starch is fairly popular ingredient, and the "modified food starch" was number two on the list of ingredients.  Starch can come from wheat as well, but if it was a wheat starch it would have had to list wheat as an ingredient, so I was sure that wasn't there.  (The top 8 allergens are required to be listed in plain English on the ingredients list.  Corn isn't one of the top 8, so I still was left guessing).  And there is a big risk of cross-contamination too.  Too late I found a recipe for a strawberry sorbet - which just amounts to fresh strawberries, a little lemon juice, and sugar.  But as I've already mentioned, I was out of fresh strawberries.  So we'll have to do that another day.  I dug out my ice cream maker, so we'll have some fun with that later.

Anyway, I hope this recipe has been helpful to you!  It's going to get a lot of use around here :)

***EDITED***  Be sure to eat this all the first day.  It wasn't so good on day two.  Might have been okay if we had frozen it or maybe even refrigerated it, but I wasn't so impressed with it on day two.  It dried out quickly and developed a bit of an aftertaste.  I wrote the post after the first time we ate it. ;)

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