Try a Glutino Birthday-Friendly Cake!
If you are trying to live gluten- and dairy-free, birthday cakes can be a real challenge. In our house, my son Michael never really had a birthday cake before he was 3-years-old. However, just around the time he realized that the rest of the world got cake for their birthdays, he decided he wanted one too. So, the hunt began for a diary free and gluten-free cake.
I was already buying Glutino brand for rice bread, so when I noticed their cake mixes in the natural foods section of my local supermarket, I thought I'd check out the label and see if it would work for us. Now, the packaging says that this allergy product may contain traces of milk and soy. Also, if you are avoiding corn, the mix does contain corn in the baking powder. So this allergy product is definitely not for anyone who has really serious sensitivities to things other than gluten. Because we don't, I figured it was worth a try. Glutino gluten-free cake mix does come in various flavours, but the request for that year was definitely chocolate, so I purchased Dutch chocolate!
Now, Glutino cake mix calls for both vegetable oil and milk for mixing. For these ingredients, I substituted coconut oil (which needs to be warmed to room temperature) and either rice milk or a soymilk. With my substitutes the cake still baked up nice and light. I'm unsure if the oil and milk affected the end result, but it was certainly moist. The taste was virtually indistinguishable from a conventional wheat flour cake. Given that we would have others at the birthday party who didn't have allergies, the taste test was vital! I was as pleased with the cake as Michael was, and no one even noticed that it was allergy-free.
One thing I noted when making the Glutino cake was that it took longer to bake than the instructions on the box indicated. It might simply be that my oven takes a bit longer to cook in general, but I'd recommend checking the cake frequently with a toothpick once you're nearing the time indicated. Unless that toothpick comes out completely clean, it's not done yet! In fact, we baked our cake at least 20-minutes longer than the package directions indicated. I found this out the hard way when I had one cake fall in the middle when I took it out of the oven underdone.
To top things off, I needed an allergy-friendly icing, because, really, what's a cake without icing? I chose an organic chocolate icing mix from Dr. Oetker. Together this was a very nice combination! Be sure to check back for my icing review in future columns. Again, the icing won't work for every allergic household -- it will depend on the allergy and the degree of sensitivity.
Well the success of his cake that first year put a Glutino Dutch chocolate gluten-free cake at the top of Michael's gift list every year since. This year I may actually have to convince him to try another flavour!