Sunday, April 15, 2012

A FPIES-friendly Birthday Cake

Last year, our daughter's 1st birthday wasn't the happy event that most parents experience.  At the time, we only knew of three foods she could safely eat: bananas, apples, and prunes.  So her birthday "cake" was a scoop of frozen banana puree with prune puree "frosting".  She wasn't impressed.  I was sad.  And we didn't feel like we had much to celebrate.

Fast forward one year.

Punky's safe foods now include wheat, millet, quinoa, corn, apples, bananas, prunes, carrots, pears, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, cannellini beans, black beans, potatoes, grapes, raisins, oranges, spinach, broccoli, pork, and chicken.  We've also found that she tolerates most cooking oils, vanilla, yeast, and some other baking ingredients.  Our options for healthy meals and snacks have really expanded, and Punky is thrilled every time she gets to try a new food.

Punky's 2nd Year Birthday Cake

I slightly modified this recipe (scroll halfway down the page) from another FPIES mom who has done a lot more of the cooking/baking legwork than I have.  One really tough thing about FPIES is that no two kids have the same triggers or safe foods, so something that works for one will not work for everyone else, but I've been able to make quite a few things from her recipes.

Boo had caught me searching images of strawberry cakes on Pinterest one day and his little eyes just about popped out of his head when he saw all the delicious possibilities, so it was mostly at his insistence that we made a pink cake decorated with strawberries for his sister's birthday. I added some strawberry puree to the cake batter in hopes of turning it pink as well, but it didn't really do anything.

I wanted to make a layered cake so I poured the batter into three circle pans from my Wilton Checkerboard set.  Then I baked at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  The cake did not rise much, but it did get darker as it baked.  The final product had a texture somewhere between cake and banana bread.  In fact, it kind of smelled like banana bread too.

The Frosting

I am normally really grossed out by frosting.  I took a Wilton Cake Decorating class years ago and the version of "buttercream" they recommend is a mixture of shortening and powdered sugar.  Normally I would not eat a few spoonfuls of Crisco, and adding powdered sugar to it doesn't make it any more OK.  I think the reason they want people to use shortening is because it's more temperature stable and works well when you are using it week after week in classes.  I haven't checked, but I'm betting when you buy a can of frosting in a store, it's primarily made from hydrogenated oils as well.  I vowed that I would never make buttercream frosting using anything less than real BUTT-AH from then on.

But I really wanted to frost Punky's cake and I began searching for a shortening that I felt comfortable using.  I came up with Spectrum Organic Palm Shortening.  It is 100% palm oil (no soy, like a lot of "vegetable" shortenings) and it's not hydrogenated.  The company also has a sustainability statement on the website so I felt OK about using their palm oil.  I know this sounds like a lot of work for a shortening, but it's something I really don't use normally and I wanted to make the best choice when going out to buy some.

I whipped up the shortening with powdered sugar and added strawberry puree to make it pink.  No recipe here; I did not measure anything.  I just worked with it until it was the right taste, color, and consistency.  It was pretty fabulous, although every time I took a bite I was thinking, "I'm eating a spoonful of shortening!"  Blecch.

Even though Punky's birthday isn't until next week, we had our family party and cake for her this weekend.  

The candles were a new experience.  

The inside of the cake.  The layers turned out well, but as you can see, it is not pink at all inside.  I don't think anyone cared.

After her first piece, Punky went back to attack the strawberries. 

 Then she found a plastic mixing spoon and used it to get more frosting.  

Everyone agreed it was a good cake, even if it didn't quite taste or feel like a regular birthday cake.  I have found that using bananas as an egg replacer makes the cake get denser and soggier the longer it sits around.  The chemical reaction just isn't the same, and after a couple days we probably won't want to eat the leftovers.  Who knows...maybe next year our cake will have eggs in it.  

1 comment:

  1. Just reading this and think it looks amazing. How exciting, all the changes that have taken place in a year!