26 Oct 2011

Free From everything birthday cake

I take much pleasure in researching. Whether for a trip abroad, birthday presents or even cake... oh the chore! But I have to admit that this challenge took some real investigative work. But, after scouring cookbooks and websites to find the most appealing recipe, then after baking five cakes I found something to celebrate with. A delicious gluten, egg, nut and dairy free carrot cake sandwiched and smothered with a vanilla vegan frosting. Decorated with a giant 1 candle and fizzing sparkler, this cake was ready to party.

I can take no credit for this recipe though as I am not an experimental cook willing to create a recipe. I like the relative predictability of a tried and tested instructions But luckily for the birthday boy and our guests, fellow blogger Mel at Pig in the Kitchen is an alchemist in the kitchen and her site bursts with amazing reliable egg, dairy and gluten free recipes.

Given this was my sons first taste of cake in his life, I don't think he was the most discerning critic, stuffing it into his mouth quicker than we could sing "Happy Birthday"! In the name of protecting my cooking reputation, when the invitations were sent I did ask friends and family to come with an open mind. When I said there would be bubbles and 'cake' it would be a homemade free from cake. However it went down a storm, some came back for more, and there was even a "WOW" from one quiet sceptic.

So, down to the details... here is the recipe, courtesy of Pig in the Kitchen. I made double the amount and baked it in two sandwich tins for a real cake tower. The frosting was just normal buttercream replacing butter with half Trex (solid vegetarian fat) and half vegan margarine such as Pure sunflower. The solid fat helps to make the frosting firmer as with just margarine, it becomes very runny at room temperature.

Happy first birthday Oliver... and here's hoping that next year you'll be free to eat whatever cake you like!

Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free Carrot Cake

2 tbsps ground linseeds (also known as flaxseeds)
3 tbsps rice milk
125g sugar
70ml vegetable oil
1 medium apple grated
175g grated carrots
50g raisins
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange 
75g brown rice flour
75g cornflour
1.5tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a good scraping of whole nutmeg or 0.25tsp

120g Trex or similar hard cooking fat
120g Dairy free margarine such as Pure / Vitalite
1 tsp vanilla essence
450g icing sugar

Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, Gas mark 4 and line a 19cm (square or round) tin with baking parchment

Mix the linseeds with the rice milk in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the sugar, linseed mix and oil into a large mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly.
Add the apple, carrots, raisins lemon and orange zest into the bowl, and mix everything together.
Mix in the cornflour, rice flour, baking powder and spices.
Scrape into the tin and level off using the back of the spoon.
Place in the oven for approximately 25 minutes. The cake is cooked when it is firm and slightly springy.  Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely.

When the cake is cold, remove from the tin make the buttercream by blending together the fats until they are light and fluffy. Mix in the icing sugar and vanilla and use the buttercream to sandwich together and / or decorate your cake. 

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