I am really excited that these turned out! I used to do regular baking before I started dealing with my son’s onset of Celiac and dairy allergy (about three years ago). But now I am getting back into baking – with a focus on the fully decorated cakes being free of the 8 common allergens. With these cakes, my client only wanted them to be vegan. But because I cannot work with wheat flour, these are also wheat- and gluten-free. So, in the end, these cakes ended up being without wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts and peanuts and partially without soy. The marshmallows have soy and the strawberry cake utilizing a gluten-free flour mix that used soy lecithin – I went ahead and used it because the client was only focused on the cakes being vegan.
I did make myself available by phone, if for any reason, she had anyone with food allergies needing to ask questions. I kept the packaging of ingredients that I used so that they can be readily available for evaluation. I know how I am, and I want to make sure that others are absolutely 100% sure that it is okay.
There is a lot of trust in this business and I will take that trust as seriously as my own death. I will have ways of making sure that my clients know 100% what will be going into their cakes. I will use their requests and their experience as my guidance. My clients are my royalty, they deserve it.
That said, I have a lot of recipe to post here. And I will say that I did use one shortcut: a gluten-free flour mix. Specifically, King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix for the chocolate cakes and Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix for the strawberry cakes. Now, the reason I did this is simple: I do not have a kitchen scale. And as I have learned that in gluten-free baking, precise weighing (not volume measuring) is needed, I relied on the companies to do that for me. Secondly, every ingredient in those mixes is exactly what I would have used to prepare my own mix, the only exception being that the King Arthur Flour has some emulsifying agents to help the cakes retain moisture longer.
So, onward with the recipe dispensing!
For the Chocolate Cake Layers
2 boxes of King Arthur Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix (note that the box indicates that one mix will make two 8 or 9 inch round cakes. I did not find this to be true – unless I wanted really thin layers).
3 teaspoons of Ener-G Egg Replacer mixed with 6 Tablespoons of warm water
1/2 cup mashed banana (from a small to medium banana)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (instead of the 2/3 cup that the package calls for since the banana provides moisture and binding)
1 cup of water (instead of the 1 and 1/3 that the package calls for due to the extra liquid from using the egg replacer)
Prepare the cake according to package directions except omit the part about the eggs and add the replacer at the end and increase baking time to about 35 to 45 minutes. Use the toothpick test to make sure it is done.
Repeat for the second cake layer. I do not recommend mixing both batters at once as it could change the chemistry of volumes and ratios and affect the outcome of your cake layers.
I recommend making the cakes a day in advance so that they have time to cool properly. Cakes that are not fully cooled will release more crumbs when you are trying to frost it (and you don’t want that).
Chocolate Mock-Buttercream Frosting
I recommend that you make this when you are ready to frost. Although, you can make it in advance and put it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. But do set out the frosting to bring it to room temperature for about an hour so that it will be soft enough to work with.
1/2 cup organic non-hydrogenated shortening such as Spectrum brand
1/2 cup soy-free earth balance buttery-flavored margarine
1 teaspoon of gluten-free vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa
1 32oz bag of powdered sugar (make sure it is fresh and has not been opened as powdered sugar can take on a stale taste very soon after opened. If you have a corn allergy, look for powdered sugar made with tapioca starch instead of corn starch).
*2-4 Tablespoons of hemp milk or rice milk (hemp milk has a creamier texture due to the fat content)
Mix together the fats and vanilla until blended. While the mixer is on, slowly add the cocoa and 1 Tablespoon of hemp milk. Gradually add powdered sugar and hemp milk, alternating so that it does not slow your mixer down.
*BE CAREFUL TO NOT ADD TOO MUCH LIQUID. You want the frosting to be very thick/stiff. If it is too wet, you will have a difficult time frosting your cake.
This should be enough for filling and frosting the outside of it. You may need to make more if you need more frosting for decorating. Decorating tip: frost the sides first using a 16 inch icing bag and the icer tip. It helps to have a turning cake stand, too. Use a small frosting spatula to even out the sides. Then do the same with the top. Once it is frosted, refrigerate for 10 minutes to set and then use a piece of wax paper to smooth out the surface of the frosting.
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will need about 4 large bags of dum-dum lollipops. These are the only hard candies that I could find that are made in a dedicated allergen-free facility and are free of the 8 common allergens.
Separate out the colors (strawberry, cherry, orange, peach-mango and cream soda flavors).
Put each color in its own ziplock bag and smash with a hammer (on a surface that is safe and will not cause any damage).
Arrange the crushed lollipops on a parchment paper with the dark colors being on the bottom and the lighter ones to the top.
Melt in the oven for about 10 minute or until all of the candies have melted and blended.
Take out of the oven and use a toothpick to blend (if you want).
Transfer the parchment to a cool table. Candy will quickly set in about 10-15 minutes.
Once cooled, break into triangles as best you can. Be careful not to hurt yourself and don’t let the kids help with this one. Once the flames have been put into the cake for the event, suggest breaking them back down again for kids to eat.
BE CAREFUL THAT NO ONE GETS HURT BY HARD SHARP CANDY FLAMES.
For the Logs and Rocks
1 Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix
1 package of Enjoy Life dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free chocolate chips
Prepare a package of Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie mix, except replace the egg with 1/4 cup of vegetable or allergen-safe oil.
Try not to eat all of this cookie dough at once because it is delicious!
Form the cookie dough into desired shapes and bake for 12-15 minutes. The color of the cookies will not change significantly.
Once cookies are cooled, brush with melted enjoylife chips.*
*Here is something that I learned the hard way: if you add a tiny bit of liquid to the chocolate chips (like a bit of food color for the rock shaped cookies), the chips will harden back up into a clay mass while you’re trying to melt them. If this happens, add about 2-4 tablespoons of hemp milk to the chocolate and stir and blend. If you do this, you will have to put the cookies in the refrigerator to set the chocolate.
For the Strawberry Cake with Vanilla Frosting
Note: the pectin in the strawberries makes the chemistry especially tricky in this application. I have failed at several attempts at strawberry cake and finally found this version that was still a little dense but still cake-like in texture (rather than the ones that came out gummy or hard before) and finally had a balanced strawberry flavor that went well with the frosting. I had to use three mixes as these did not want to rise. Once I finally understand what is weighing this cake down, I will ammend this post with a slightly better version. But this recipe is still quite delicious, but do understand that it is about the same density as a pound cake.
3 packages of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix (use a different kind if you need to avoid soy such as the King Arthur Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix)
For EACH cake layer (which you must prepare separately), you will need to add:
1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries ————- (3 cup total)
2 teaspoons of lemon zest ——————— (6 teaspoons total)
1 teaspoon of gluten-free vanilla extract —————– (3 teaspoons total)
1/2 cup earth balance buttery-flavored margarine (or Spectrum brand shortening if you don’t have EB) ———- (1 and 1/2 cups total)
1/2 cup rice milk ————– (1 and 1/2 cups total)
4 and 1/2 teaspoons of EnerG egg replacer mixed with 8 Tablespoons of warm water ————– (haven’t figured out the total, just have enough to do this three times)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease pan.
In a mixer, combine all of the ingredients except the strawberries. Once everything is combined, add the strawberries and let the mixer run until the strawberries are all smashed up and the batter is pink.
Bake in one 8 or 9 inch pan until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (about 35-40 minutes).
Vanilla Mock-Buttercream Frosting
SAME AS CHOCOLATE MOCK-BUTTERCREAM ABOVE, JUST OMIT THE COCOA.