Today is E’s half birthday – I can’t believe my baby is already 18 months old! I have so much to tell you about the past 18 months, but I want to take the opportunity today to focus on one of my favorite days – E’s first birthday. His first birthday cake was also my first big allergen-free experiment and the recipe that is most often requested by my family and friends, so it is the first one that I wanted to post. Enjoy!
Like all parents, we couldn’t wait to celebrate E’s first year with our family and friends. Of course it was also important to us that we got to enjoy the celebration. Parties are one of the most stressful parts of being a food allergy parent. It seems that dangers are everywhere and you have to be constantly vigilant – always ready to step in and prevent your child from reaching for an allergen, or stop a friend from sharing food, or even to hand a baby wipe to someone with cheesy hands who is about to squeeze the world’s most squeezable cheeks. Parties are generally exhausting events during which I have very little fun. I couldn’t wait for an E-safe party and the chance to relax a little.
At the time we still didn’t have a great handle on E’s allergies. We had several safe fruits and vegetables but we were avoiding grains and meats. We weren’t sure about soy so we were avoiding soy protein, but not soy oil or soy lecithin. Our biggest stressor was dairy because the scratch test was still positive for an IgE allergy to dairy (indicating a high chance of anaphylaxis). We weren’t really concerned about him eating anything on the menu – it was still easy enough to feed him his safe foods without him being too interested in other options. However, we worried about accidental exposure to dairy. We decided to have a completely dairy-free party but not drive ourselves (and our guests) crazy by avoiding all possible allergens.
The major exception was the cake, which we were hoping he would not only eat, but devour (preferably in an amusingly messy and photogenic kind of way).
In my quest to deliver a “normal” childhood, I was determined to find a safe cake recipe that would also taste good. I’m sure you can imagine – finding a dairy-free, grain free birthday cake is not an easy task. After much research I decided that coconut flour was my best bet. I found a recipe that was good, but my technique wasn’t great and I wanted it to be a little more like a traditional yellow cake. I spent several weeks researching tips for working with coconut flour and tweaking the recipe until my husband (my most honest taste-tester) and I were happy with the outcome. We ate a lot of cupcakes in August!
We then needed to do a full food trial in the week leading up to his birthday. (We didn’t want any surprises on the big day and there were some new ingredients in the cake). E was probably one of the only kids tired of the taste of cake by the time he made it to his first birthday. We tested only the cupcake without the frosting and took a chance on the frosting on the big day. Luckily we didn’t have any reactions…except for a little bit of a sugar high 🙂 . I was pleased with the end result and he seemed to enjoy himself – I hope you do too.
Dairy-Free Coconut Flour Cupcakes
• 12 egg whites
• 10 egg yolks
• 2 cups coconut milk
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup applesauce
• 3 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups coconut flour, sifted
• 1/2 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Beat the egg whites and yolks (I used the kitchen aid whisk attachment)
3. Slowly add the coconut milk and vanilla extract and continue to beat until smooth, creamy and uniform in both color and texture.
4. Add the sugar and applesauce
5. Switch to Kitchen Aid paddle attachment
6. Slowly add coconut flour, baking soda and unrefined sea salt into the mixture and continue to mix until a smooth batter forms.
7. Let batter sit for about 15 minutes
8. Pour the cake batter into baking cups shaking them to even out the batter and smoothing it with the back of a spoon (If making a cake, use a greased and floured pan).
9. Bake (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean. (A cake takes about 40 minutes)
10. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the tin and frosting
Note: Since his birthday, E has reacted to egg and coconut! This means that birthday number 2 will have its own challenges but luckily we’ve added some safe grains (like wheat and barley!)
The original recipe that I used for inspiration is here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/coconut-flour-cake/