Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Very Gluten-Free Birthday

So I told you yesterday that I was baking a cake for the first gluten-free birthday that we’re celebrating, and guess what?  It turned out pretty good!  I used a store-bought mix, which made it a lot easier, but next time I definitely want to try to make it from scratch. 

How to make it:

I bought Pamela's Classic Vanilla Cake Mix at Whole Foods (have you ever been to Whole Foods?  They have EVERYTHING!) and I was pretty happy with the result.  I made a traditional vanilla cake, but the cool thing is that on the back of the package, Pamela’s tells you how to make lots of other baked goods by using simple variations, which I definitely want to try.  You can make everything from lemon cakes to Snickerdoodles!

To the mix, you just add eggs…

…1/3 cup of oil…

 …and 1/2 cup of water.  Then mix and pour into a greased cake pan.  I ended up baking mine for about 26 minutes, and it seemed just right.

When it first came out, it seemed a little spongey and poofy on the top.  After awhile (because it was so, so hot in my apartment) it got really sticky, so I put it in the fridge and covered it until the next day.  This helped it from being too sticky to frost.

I also  bought frosting at Whole Foods, and I had used this kind before.  It’s made by Cherrybrook Kitchen, and they make many other dairy free/gluten free products as well.  My only complaint is that it is really sticky – kind of a cross between frosting and clear icing.  Again, I definitely want to make my own next time, but this worked.

You can also color this icing!  Most food coloring is safe for GF/DF, I have found, but you should definitely check the label (and the tube itself to make sure it isn’t contaminated!).  I picked green…because it’s Joe’s favorite color!

Finally, I bought these 365 Vegan Chocolate Chips (a Whole Foods brand) as an experiment, and guess what?  They taste EXACTLY like regular chocolate chips.  They contain soy rather than milk, but they’re delicious, and I have to say that I’ve been sneaking some on the sly.  I melted them in the microwave, added a tiny bit of oil, and drizzled the chocolate over the cake before I wrote on it.  Plus, once I refrigerated it, the chocolate hardened… it was yum yum!

The end result:

The cake was very well received among our gluten-free dairy-free birthday boy and all of his non-food-allergic pals.  It was denser than I expected, so I couldn’t eat a lot of it, but I definitely kept picking off the chocolate pieces and eating them.  So was Joe, which he hasn’t been able to do in a long, long time (he was dairy-free even before he was gluten-free!).

I didn’t prefer the frosting to homemade frosting just because it was so thick, so I’ll have to improve on that, but I’ll bet it would be really good as a glaze on breakfast baked goods like scones.  It’s better in moderation than in excess!

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOE!  I hope your 21st birthday was all you hoped, and I hope that this birthday cake made up for the one you didn’t have last year.  And I promise to go all gluten-free Betty Crocker on you next year and make an even BETTER cake… just as long as I don’t have a 15-page paper due the next day.

But Joe’s birthday isn’t done!  We’re going out to a great restaurant tomorrow night, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.  Seriously, you’ll die.

Also, I went out to the grocery store right after class to pick up stuff for not just one… but TWO (hopefully) great sandwiches that I’ve been thinking about for the past week.  And one of them is grilled cheese!

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