Thursday, January 27, 2011

Favorite Cake Recipes

Last month was Owen's birthday. We celebrated with a delicious cake. I must admit, our cakes have come a LONG way from when the kids were first diagnosed with their allergies. Of course it helps that Owen can now have wheat.

I decided it appropriate to post our favorite cake recipes. One of my friends from college wrote a post about her daughter's first birthday and how they didn't have cake because they couldn't find one she could eat. I felt horrible, knowing that I have so many different recipes. Here goes!

Banana Cupcakes

3/4 cup sugar (OR 1 tsp stevia)
1/2 cup butter, margarine or oil
2 eggs (OR 3 tsp egg replacer mixed with 4 TB water OR an extra banana)
1 cup mashed bananas with 1 tsp baking soda mixed in
2 Tb milk (cow, soy, rice) or water
1 tsp baking powder (OR 1/4 tsp baking soda mixed with 1/2 tsp of lemon juice)
1 3/4 cup flour (wh. or br. wheat, spelt, or rice flour OR my favorite mix: 1 cup br. rice flour, 2/3 cup chickpea flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour – this mix can be used in place of wheat in almost all recipes)
pinch of salt

Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

This recipe is so versatile for almost every diet. Originally this was a banana bread recipe, and can be made in loaf form, however I found if I added some vanilla frosting, it made great cupcakes.

Vanilla Cupcakes

3 eggs (or 4.5 tsp egg replacer mixed with 6 TB water)
1 1/2 cups sugar (or 1 1/2 tsp stevia)
2 sticks of butter (or the equivalent of oil or margarine)
3 cups of rice flour
2 tsp baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking soda mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/4 cups rice milk mixed with 1 1/2 TB lemon juice)

Bake at 350 degrees. 10-12 minutes for cupcakes.

This recipe comes from The Kid Friendly Food Allergy Cookbook by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger.

Yellow Cake

1/2 cup margarine or oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
2 eggs (or 2 bananas or 2/3 cup pumpkin puree or 1 tbsp. egg replacer with 4 tbsp. water)
2 1/2 cups wheat flour (or gluten free flour mix)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease and flour the bottoms (not the sides) of three 8-inch round, two 9-inch round, or one 10-by 15-inch oblong cake pan(s). (I have only made cupcakes with this recipe, if you have to omit the egg, I'm uncertain if the cake will turn out.)

Cream the margarine (or substitute), sugar, and vanilla and lemon extracts well together; add the eggs (or substitute) and beat and beat until very light and fluffy. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together.

Add the water to the batter along with the sifted dry ingredients, and stir only until well mixed. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pans.

Bake until done; the layers take about 25 minutes, the oblong cake takes about 30 to 35 minutes. Cupcakes take 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe is from The Milk-Free Kitchen by Beth Kidder, with substitutes added by me.

This is a delicious cake! We love to add allergy friendly chocolate chips to the batter or allergy friendly sprinkles to make it extra special.

Quick Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. almond liqueur (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch round or an 8-inch square pan. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Measure the brown sugar and add it. (If the brown sugar is very lumpy, you may want to break the clumps up with your fingers.) Stir the dry ingredients well. Mix the oil, water, and vanilla together, then add them to the dry ingredients and stir just until all the dry bits are wet. Turn the batter into the prepared pan or cupcake liners. Bake the cake for 30 minutes. Bake cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe is from The Milk-Free Kitchen by Beth Kidder.

We also love to add chocolate chips to this recipe too!

When it comes to frosting our cakes we use a basic recipe.


3 cups sifted confectionery sugar
1/2 cup margarine
3-4 tbsp. water

If you want to make chocolate frosting subtract 1/3 cup sugar for 1/3 cup cocoa.

If you can't use any type or margarine, subtract it from the recipe, add more water a tbsp. at a time until desired consistency and add safe vanilla for flavor.

We are unable to use dyes at our home so instead I'll add fruit juices instead of water to make desired colors.

I do have many more cake recipes but these are the ones that I have tried myself and can guarantee results.

A couple things to remember:

Cakes made without eggs usually have difficulties cooking all the way through. It's easier to make cupcakes.

Cakes made with non wheat flours cook differently. Double check to make sure cake is done before removing it from the oven.

Margarine and oil can usually be used interchangeably. When oil is called for, applesauce can be used in its place.

Milk of any kind and water can usually be used interchangeably, although cakes with water tend to be a little bit more dense and dry.

Eggs can be replaced with egg replacer (a potato powder), bananas (one for one), pumpkin (1/3 cup per egg), and sometimes other fruits.


Web Based Support

Our support group has been going for 4 months now. Attendance is sporadic. The main reason being the distance between those who want to come and the actual place the meetings are held. We know many people with special dietary needs, and come in contact with more and more every day. Yet, they all tend to live at least 30 minutes away if not more.

I had an epiphany today about how to make our Fun Without Food Support efforts more successful. It's time for web based support! Each month I will make it a priority to post a support post full of information, comfort, ideas, and more about specific topics parents of children with special needs diets encounter. If readers would like to hear about specific topics please leave a comment and tell us!

We will still continue our efforts in expanding our local support group. Meetings will continue to be scheduled and held in hopes that we can reach more people. Activities will continue as they are one of our main priorities. It is important to provide family fun without the worries. We welcome anyone and everyone to attend the Valentine's dance coming up in February.

Besides one support post once a month, I will post recipes I have found, celebration and holiday ideas, personal experiences, recommendations, and sometimes just random thoughts and stories. I welcome all comments and feedback. We are looking for blog followers to help make our efforts a success. This blog is not just about allergies, but about every type of special dietary need. We don't want to leave anyone out!

Each month we will showcase a specific dietary need. It is my hope that we can start reaching families, not just in our county or state, but across the United States and beyond!

Wish us luck!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Last weekend Jason and I decided it was time to start educating our 2 year old about his food allergies. We prepared allergy friendly chicken nuggets for the kids and ordered a pizza for ourselves. Believe it or not, our 2 year old has never seen a pizza, except for in a book or on a cartoon which wouldn't phase him that much.

We knew the dinner could be disastrous, but we had to start somewhere and it was best to start in our own home. I called Adam to the table as I brought the box into the house. Once he was up in his seat I opened the lid, making sure he was quite a distance away.

"Adam, this is pizza. Pizza is DANGER for Adam. It will make you sick." Adam just looked at me.


"Yes. Pizza is DANGER. DO NOT TOUCH! DO NOT EAT!" All three older children have an allergy to dairy or intolerance to lactose. Owen, 4, already understood. Although before his diagnosis, pizza used to be one of his favorite foods, even if it made him sick. Thankfully, tonight he was okay. Jason and I actually told Owen that if he wanted to try a piece he could, but it would probably make him sick. We haven't tested out his minor dairy allergy in about 6 months, so we figured this would be a good trial for him if he started to melt down about not being able to eat it.

To our surprise he helped in making sure that Adam didn't touch the pizza and refused it himself. He kept telling Adam how dangerous it was and how it would make him sick. Owen explained to Adam that it was okay for Mommy and Daddy to eat the pizza because they don't get sick. I was so impressed with my little learner/teacher.

Adam wanted the pizza box lid up the entire time so he could stare at the pizza. He licked his lips over and over, desperately wanting a bite. At times he would call it pasta. I guess it does look like pasta in a way. Both dishes have the same coloring. Adam is our Italian boy.

There were moments when I had to pull his hands back, so he wouldn't touch the cheese. It was then that we realized it would be very difficult to keep Adam safe. Even though he was sick for the first year of his life and then some afterwards, he doesn't understand what food does to him. This process of teaching him what he can and can not eat is going to take YEARS!

After dinner I was determined to find an alternative for the boys. Owen was missing out on one of the very few foods he will eat. You could tell Adam wanted desperately to eat pizza too. Finally I came across a cheese that could possibly work. Ingredients included pea protein and tapioca OR arrow root flour. I wasn't sure how Adam would respond to those, but we'd just have to see.

At 2:30 PM this afternoon Jason started clearing the kitchen so I could make homemade pizza dough. It had been YEARS since we had done that. Owen asked what Mommy was doing. I explained that I had found a way to make a pizza that would be safe for everyone. I continued to tell him that once the kitchen counter was clear I would start making it. The pizza would be ready to eat at dinner.

The process of making the dough and kneading it brought back so many wonderful memories of years past. The scent of the yeast filled the house. Jason and I reminisced about times past. Excitement filled my entire being thinking that we would all be able to eat pizza as a family regularly. Owen was so happy. Adam begged and begged for the pizza as I was preparing the dough. Strangely Lydia didn't fuss tonight while I was making dinner. It was all too good to be true.

It really was. As the freshly baked pizza came out of the oven I cut it into pieces and distributed them on the kids' plates. Carefully I cut up Lydia and Adam's slices into bite size pieces. Owen wanted his whole. The moment was here. It was time for everyone to sit down.

The minute Owen looked at his pizza he started to whine. Adam tried taking a bite. Jason and I believe that perhaps the pizza was still too hot, although I find that hard to believe. I had put each piece in the freezer to cool down. No matter what the problem was Adam spit the pizza out and started to cry. By this time Owen was screaming.

"It has cheese on it! I don't want cheese on it!" Calmly I tried to explain to Owen that pizza does have cheese on it. He couldn't grasp it. I took a knife and scraped the cheese off. Owen was still not satisfied. He continued to scream. Jason and I tried all that we could to calm him down. Finally, we took him to his room, where he continued to scream for 30 minutes. Adam threw his plate across the table begging for "Pops." Lydia actually did take a few bites, but didn't finish her slice.

I was about ready to cry. So many emotions were running through me at that moment. If it hadn't been for the memories and happy times the smells of the kitchen evoked... If Owen hadn't been so excited for me to make pizza he could eat... If I hadn't just spent over $10 trying to make a pizza that the kids could eat. I had just spent an entire afternoon in the kitchen, and for what? The sound of screaming children.

Once I had my own emotions under control I was ready to go up to Owen's room and talk to him. Owen has these expectations in his head about how things should be ALL the time. When something doesn't go as planned he loses it. When I say lose it, I mean LOSE it. He screams. The look in his eyes is as a mad man. His whole body shakes.

Jason and I had talked about what had happened. I didn't have time to make another pizza tonight. Honestly, I'm not sure how one would turn out without cheese, or if it would be what he expected. All I knew was that Owen's tantrum had come from his unmet expectations, not my slaving in the kitchen all afternoon to make a pizza.

Owen still needed to eat. I couldn't imagine how crushed he was about his pizza. He had been waiting for it for hours. I pulled out Lucky Charms I was storing, waiting for his birthday and some Finding Nemo Fruit Snacks I had just purchased to hand out to his class for his birthday at school this week. With the food in hand I went and talked to Owen. Thankfully he was able to move on and get past his pizza.

He LOVED his dinner of Lucky Charms and fruit snacks, although afterwards he said he didn't like the fruit snacks.

Lydia tried some fruit snacks and loved them. Feeling bad for Adam, since he can't eat them, I pulled out miniature marshmallows. They are one of Adam's favorite treats. He ate Corn Pops and marshmallows for dinner.

As Owen was eating his Lucky Charms I realized a difference between the cheese on his pizza and the real cheese on my pizza. His cheese had melted, but not all the way. You could still see each and every strand of cheese. That's the way it goes with non-dairy cheese. On Jason and my pizza, the cheese had completely melted with no lines. I had the idea to ask Owen if our pizza had cheese on it. He replied,

"No." It wasn't the actual cheese itself that bothered him, it was the presentation of it. So much for pizza in this house. You've gotta love typical Asberger Syndrome behaviors!

My reason for writing about this on this blog...

I feel this experience definitely encompasses why Fun Without Food is so important. With every child that has special dietary needs, food tends to bring out behaviors that we'd rather not see, especially in public. It can be just plain dangerous. More than anything having food around is not fun for the parent who plays life guard or referee.

Pizza will definitely not be in the house for a long time. I prefer to be happy.