Let them eat cake

I love making cakes.

Actually, to be more accurate, I love creating decorated cakes for my children’s birthdays, but I’ve never been keen, or really that good, at the baking part.  Even when I was allowed to bake “normal” cakes, I could never get them to rise.

The last normal cake I made in our household for G's 2nd

The last normal cake I made in our household for G’s 2nd

When I had to adapt to wheat and dairy-free cakes to allow for G’s allergies, I managed, but still failed to get the things to rise.  Over the years, my cakes have more resembled flat pancakes than respectable sponges.  I have been known to suffer “sponge-envy” when seeing the beautifully rounded Victoria sponges made by friends and colleagues.

My first wheat and dairy cake for G's 3rd and very, very flat

My first wheat and dairy-free cake for G’s 3rd and very, very flat

G's 5th cake and still not much sign of it rising!

G’s 5th cake and still not much sign of it rising!

Ironically, cupcakes have never been a problem.  Whilst my sponge mixes have never made the perfect sponge, they have always made beautiful cupcakes and one year I even resorted to a cupcake tower for G’s birthday cake as something I could be proud to present to the world.

Wheat and dairy free for G, but still contained eggs...and still flat

Wheat and dairy free for G, but still contained eggs…and still flat

M's last almost-normal cake for his 5th

M’s last almost-normal cake for his 5th

Then came along the ultimate challenge.  Not only did my cakes need to be wheat- and dairy-free, but I also had to remove the soya and the eggs.  I’ve tried out very many recipes* for cakes in the last 2 years and have met with varying success.  I’ve attempted baking with baking powder, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, oil and water and even a mix of cider vinegar, oil, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda…and still those cakes won’t rise.

I’ve tried Doves Farm Gluten free self-raising flour, which is a blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours and comes with helpful recipes on the side of the packet and met reasonable success.  I’ve tested Innovative Solutions pure brown rice flour, which works okay, but can taste a little granular as a sponge.  Guess what?  Still my cakes won’t rise.

This year's first attempt, a Lego 7, but still a little flat!

This year’s first attempt, a Lego 7, but still a little flat!

A layered Mini-golf cake for G's 9th

A layered Mini-golf cake for G’s 9th

This year, for M’s 7th birthday, I came to my final conclusion.  If my cakes won’t rise naturally, then I will just have to create the height I crave by stacking layers.  The end result more than exceeded my expectations and what’s more, I had a lot of fun by creating a rainbow inside to wow the group of 6 and 7 year-olds who got to eat it.

This one needed to be higher, so my secret was...

This one needed to be higher, so my secret was…

...to stack the rainbow layers.  Mission accomplished!

…to stack the rainbow layers. Mission accomplished!

I will continue my search for the perfect M-friendly sponge cake recipe that not only tastes good, but would convince even the harshest critics that cakes can be made to meet any dietary requirements.  I will continue to create masterpieces that look pretty good, even if they don’t quite make the taste grade.  And I promise this: that if I find that right combination of ingredients and technique in my quest, I won’t hesitate to communicate it, especially if I finally manage to achieve that elusive thing – a sponge cake that rises!

*all cake recipes attempted are included on my Everything free Recipes page

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Let them eat cake

  1. Alison

    R,
    Your blog is fab and I love catching a quick moment to read it. Always amazed how you juggle everything, as I can’t manage a tiny bit of what you do! Cakes look fab so will def book in for next year (risen or flat they still look great!!!)
    Axxxxx

    Reply
  2. Pingback: The Best Chocolate cake in the World | M's 7 year journey

  3. Pingback: Piece of cake | 7 years to diagnosis

  4. Pingback: Battle of the Birthday cakes | 7 years to diagnosis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.