Monday, 24 September 2012

Birthday Cake Banter

Yes we are only four days away from Elijah's first birthday! As you can imagine I've been doing a little Googling - which is sometimes a dangerous thing. I find I have to limit my Google time per day otherwise I get a bit sucked in to reading too many fabulous blog posts and whimsical food or craft ideas. Before I know it, Elijah has woken from his morning sleep and I've achieved none of the long list of washing, dishes, weeding, cooking etc that I had promised myself I would do. Hell, sometimes I haven't even showered. My latest google obsession is first birthday cake ideas. What a time waster!

I had loosely decided that what I wanted was something carrot-y with warming spices. Like this fabulous Gluten Free Carrot Cake from Food Crush. I am adamant that the cake is gluten, dairy and soy free so that myself and my extended family and friends can eat it. After my failed attempt at coconut yoghurt (which was going to make the carrot cake icing instead of cream cheese) I found myself turning to the trusted Jude Blereau. If you don't already own Wholefood For Children, you must. Even if you don't have children. It is a fabulous nutritional and recipe rich resource. An all encompassing book. So today I decided to make a test run of a variant of Jude's recipes for Vanilla and Coconut Cupcakes and Better Buttercream Icing. Yes, a far stretch from the carrot cake I was craving, but I think just the thing for a whole food first birthday.

Vanilla and Coconut Cupcakes - A modification of Jude Blereau's recipe

1 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 Cup Desiccated Coconut
2 tsp Apple Cyder Vinegar
2 tsp Natural Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Organic Egg
1/3 Cup Melted Ghee* (or butter if tolerating dairy or macadamia nut oil)

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and line 12 hole muffin tin with patty pans. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients together and then add to the dry ingredients. The batter will be wet so allow to stand for a few minutes to firm up. Spoon into patty pans and bake for 25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cupcake. Cool on a wire rack. 

Better Buttercream with Raspberry Twist - A modification of Jude Blereau's recipe

1 tbs Cornflour
1/4 Cup Rice Milk
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
125g of Soft Ghee* (or butter)
1-2 tbs Filtered water - if using ghee
1/2 Cup Icing Sugar
2 tsp Natural Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup Rasperries

Combine rice milk and corn flour in saucepan until mixed. Add coconut milk and cook on stove over medium heat stirring continuously until thickened. Spoon into a small bowl and allow to cool and refrigerate. Push raspberries through a sieve to remove seeds and keep smooth raspberry juice. Beat the ghee and water (or butter) until fluffy. Add icing sugar. Then add cooled milk mixture, vanilla and raspberry puree. Beat until fluffy and all combined. Pipe or spread over cupcakes. 

*As you can see I use ghee although it is still strictly dairy. The nature of ghee is that it is clarified butter meaning that it is almost 100% fat and therefore no milk protein or lactose sugars. So most people with dairy intolerances can handle it. It is SUCH a joy to have buttery flavoured food back on my menu since discovering my tolerance of ghee! The fat soluble vitamins it contains are an added bonus.

So I think this is the winner. It's a lot pinker than I imagined my son's first birthday cake to look - but I kind of like that! I considering making another icing variant with lime juice and some spirulina for bright green colour. We'll see how that goes. Now I just can't decide whether to go with cupcakes or make one large cake. Either way, treat yourself to making this recipe next time you need a celebration treat.

Happy cooking.

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