Egg-free, Wheat-free, blah blah blah Birthday Cake.
So, my mom makes the BEST birthday cakes. I mean, this woman can make a cake that looks like almost anything from a gift basket to an outdoor swimming pool complete with blue gelatine water. Cookie cakes, Barbie dress cakes, she is literally my birthday cake hero.
I can't wait to be that for my daughter and with her first birthday just around the corner, I'm determined to deliver the perfect (safest) cake. And not just one that she can eat but one that everyone will enjoy. Yes, even the egg-eating gluteners. Those guys. And yes, I just made up that word but as a poet, I feel entitled to do that from time to time.
I know that my daughter will probably never know the difference between what her cake tastes like and what all the rest of the cakes taste like but guess what? I will. And part of raising an allergy foodie for me, is normalizing her food experience not only for her but for the rest of us too. I mean, it's her freaking birthday so why shouldn't we all enjoy the cake that makes her day special? I am just not willing to spend the rest of my motherhood making separate food for my kid. Besides, it's her party so let's have an egg-free, wheat-free, you know the drill, good old time.
The problem is this. My cake hero, my mom, is a pro at baking with wheat and eggs and all the other delicious things we love to eat. In learning to bake without any of those ingredients, I'm kind of testing the waters on my own here. First off, do you know how many freaking types of flour there are? And the difference between them all, and how to use them? Let me tell you, I do not. I know nothing about xantham gum. Nada. And every time I've used gluten-free all purpose flour, I get this weird gritty coating on my pallet. Not at all conducive to becoming my kid's (or anyone else's) birthday cake hero.
My first attempt at the practice cake was a huge disaster. I was trying to make a funfetti cake with gorgeous all-natural sprinkles and a light, fluffy texture. I got a dense, flat cake, with flecks of chia seed egg running through, and a bitter aftertaste from all those gorgeous sprinkles which had dissolved in the batter. Into the garbage for that one.
Second attempt was actually kind of successful. It was a sorghum lemon cake with a lemon buttercream (the recipe is on the site under gluten-free goodies)
. Let me tell you, this cake was lemony, sweet, crumbly. Delicious. Even my gluten-eating, non-vegan in-laws (one of whom is a professional baker) liked it! Here's the problem. I was happy with the cake and happy with the flavour and could imagine eating it with a nice cup of tea on an afternoon. But was it a birthday cake? I don't know. I mean, it's texture feels more carrot-cake than fluffy gorgeous white cake. Or fluffy moist chocolate cake. You know, birthday cake.
So, even though I was happy with a vegan gluten-free cake option for a weekend brunch or another treat (who am I kidding, I totally ate most of it for breakfast. I still have work to do to create the perfect birthday cake. And I'm totally running out of time. Luckily, reinforcements are on the way...
Grandma lands on Monday.