Monday, April 29

Birthday Cake Recipe: Gluten free, dairy free, egg free and nut free

We celebrated yet ANOTHER birthday last week....Mamacado's 1st Birthday!  

Yes, it's been one year since my first blog post. It's been a busy year filled with a new little love coming into our lives, bedtime battles (which are still ongoing in some respect), and also lots of FOOD, FAMILY and FUN!

There is still so much more I want to do with this blog, but I'm only able to work on it a little each week. So I'm going to continue posting every Monday for now. Slow and steady, ya know?

Now, let's focus on MORE birthday cake :)

I didn't make a cake for Mamacado's birthday, but I do want to post a little more about the allergy-friendly cake and cupcakes from Little Guy's 3rd birthday party at the firehouse since a few people have asked for more details.

Even though the cakes and cupcakes were very simple in the decoration department, I was so relieved they tasted great. Yes, gluten free, egg free and dairy free cakes and cupcakes CAN taste just like or even better than traditional cakes!

cupcakes and cakes
Gluten free, dairy free and egg free cake and cupcakes

The CAKE: I wanted to make a red velvet cake from Cybele Pascal's cookbook, The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. But since I was making so much other food for the party I decided to take a cake shortcut.  

I used Betty Crocker gluten free yellow cake mix. I wanted to make a double-layered sheet cake, but I realized that one box of the cake mix only makes one 9 x 9 round cake. So, I used two boxes of cake mix to make two round cakes.

I followed the directions exactly, except I substituted 1/4 cup of applesauce for the eggs (1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg). Applesauce is a great egg substitute for baking, although there are also many other options like bananas, flax eggs, etc.  I also substituted Earth Balance (casein and dairy free) butter for the butter in the recipe.

allergy-friendly baking
Made with applesauce instead of eggs
The CUPCAKES: Since the cake was smaller than planned, I also made cupcakes. It was actually nice to have a variety of flavors so everyone could taste the vanilla cake and chocolate cupcakes.

I used Betty Crocker's gluten free devil's food cake mix. I really like this mix because it doesn't taste as sweet as the yellow cake. Again I substituted 1/4 cup applesauce for the eggs and followed all the directions on the box.

allergy-friendly baking
Gluten free, dairy free and egg free chocolate cupcakes

Now, onto the ICING: I used Cybele Pascal's icing recipe from her cookbook, The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. It's a simple recipe, and it's important to follow directions as I found out the hard way.

This was my first try at the icing. I've used Earth Balance butter for icing in the past, and sometimes it comes out well, but sometimes it doesn't as you see here. Earth Balance butter is a staple in our house and is great for everything else, but is not the best option for icing!
allergy-friendly icing
Yucky, grainy icing - first try.
Then I went to the store to buy shortening as the recipe suggested. The icing was close to becoming a disaster, but a little help from a fellow blogger who I randomly saw at the store was my saving grace! She helped me find Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening, and it worked like a charm.
allergy-friendly icing
Fluffy, creamy icing: Dairy free.
See the difference between the two?  The "before" icing is on the right, and the "after" icing is on the left.
dairy-free icing
"Before" icing is on the right and "after" is on the left.

The icing tasted great on both the cupcakes and cake, and I was happy it didn't have all the crazy ingredients in the regular containers of icing you find on store shelves.

I'm still new at allergy-friendly baking, but here are my tips for other newbies out there!
  • Use shortening, not Earth Balance butter or any other substitution for icing.
  • Betty Crocker gluten free cake mix only makes one 9 x 9 cake. Plan accordingly!
  • The gluten free cake and cupcakes stayed fresh for about one day, and then started to get a little dry two days after. Plan to make the cake the day before the party.
  • Use Kids with Food Allergies baking and cake tips to help you through it all. I've even heard suggestions to Google cake decorating on YouTube - something I plan to do in the future!
I'm actually excited to make a more creative cake soon...maybe raspberry or strawberry filling with some pretty decorations on top.  

I need inspiration! What's your favorite cake flavor?  

Here are the allergy-friendly products that were SO helpful in making these birthday treats!

This post contains affiliate links.


Diane said...

The allergy free cake and cupcakes were as good or even better than any regular cake! Congratulations Kathryn on your one year anniversary of your Mamacado blog! You are doing such a great job on allergy awareness, you are to be commended!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Thanks Diane!

Heather said...

Glad I could help! That icing looks excellent!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

You were SUCH a big help! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This may seem like a stupid question but I am a terrible baker. What do I use instead of the butter?

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Earth Balance makes a dairy free butter, but check all labels every time. I used the Spectrum organic shortening for the icing.

Anonymous said...

The better Crocker gluten free cake mix actually calls for butter I just didn't know what to use instead. Thank you!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

You're welcome! I always use Earth Balance because I think it's easier to just replace "stick for stick" measurement wise. I've never tried other butter replacements, but here's a website with ideas:

Let me know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

I wish I would have read this before going to the store! Box mix should make 2 rounds!!! Going to throw in a scratch chocolate for the second layer. I made my box mix with 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 4 teaspoons of raspberry extract then beat in about a pint of fresh raspberries. Smells divine! Will be using the mix again this weekend but I need it to be dairy and egg free as well. I personally can't have dairy bur I can have butter due to the majority of it being fat not dairy but others I'm feeding can't. Thanks for the tips!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Oh no! Hope your chocolate cake from scratch worked out!? Your raspberry idea sounds WONDERFUL. I would love to hear how it turned out (and try it myself!). Enjoy the wonderful sweet treats!

Anonymous said...

I will be trying your cake recipe for my daughter's 3rd birthday on the 24th. It will be the first time she will be able to eat cake so I'm super excited to see how they come out. So glad I found your blog.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Oooh! Good luck! Make it the day before if you you more room for re-do's! Let me know how it turns out.

LMG said...

Did you substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce TOTAL? Or did you substitute 1/4 cup for EACH egg it called for? (it calls for 3 eggs) Thanks!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Hi LMG - I substituted 1/4 cup for EACH egg. So, 1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg. This has worked great for me in many baking recipes!

Stephanie said...

I was told to use margine the I can't believe its not butter. I'm intolerant to gluten, dairy egg and other stuff my nutritionist gave me that one.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Stephanie - We always use Earth Balance, but that might be an option too. I haven't explored that one!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My 3 yr old son was just diagnosed with EOS and will be starting the 6 food elimination diet soon, and his birthday will fall during that time. I am hopeful now that I know there are other options. Will be trying this recipe for his birthday.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

I'm so glad you found this useful for your son! I also encourage you to check out Kids with Food Allergies website as they have SO many birthday cake ideas that are beyond the traditional ingredients (i.e. - birthday cakes made entirely out of fruit, or even sugar cubes!). There are so many ways to celebrate a birthday. I hope your son is able to enjoy the fun of a birthday celebration despite his EOS. Sending well wishes to your family.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my baby boy was just diagnosed with food allergies. He is allergic to wheat,eggs and dairy could he eat this cake? Thank you! I'm just overwhelmed with the news and I want to bake him his first birthday cake to be safe!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Yes, it sounds like your son has the same allergies as mine did at that time. However, please always check every label and call every company for further information on the food you feed your son. I also recommend going to the Kids with Food Allergies website and online community as they provide wonderful education and guidance for parents!!

Unknown said...


Have a question im making a cake gluten free nuts free can i use betty crocker? Cuz i only see is gluten but doesnt say anything about nuts
I found fondant very expensive but says gluten nut free wich is amazing but im just worry about the cake mix 😞 Hope u can help me

Thank you in advance

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Hi Benjamin - I'd recommend calling Betty Crocker directly with the package in your hand so you can give them the bar code number and name of the product you want to buy. Please let me know if I can help in any other way!

Unknown said...

what's the recipe for the icing?

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

It's in Cybele Pascal's cookbook so I can't republish without permission. However, I have also used her Easter cupcake icing frequently from her website!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I am GFCF and I use Betty Crocker cake mix- but I have a cousin who can't have eggs and I was hoping that replacing the eggs with applesauce would work. Thanks for conforming it.

Anyway, i use Earth balance Whipped for all my icing recipes. It works every time- basically it's shortening. But make sure you soften it.

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

Great! I'm so glad you can make a safe cake for both you and your cousin! Earth Balance Whipped is a good suggestion!

Anonymous said...

Hi! Can you taste the applesauce in the cake? I need To make my sons birthday cake tomorrow and want to make it egg/gluten free! Thank You so much 😊

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

No, you can't taste the applesauce. I think it just might add a little more sweetness to it. But really, most gluten free products are pretty sweet anyway. I've made this cake so many times now, and everyone seems to think it tastes like "real" cake (made with eggs, etc.). Good luck and happy birthday to your son!

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