September 9, 2011

My DIY Birthday Cake: Gluten, Egg, Dairy, Soy & Refined Sugar Free

So... After reading that title you’re probably not alone if you are thinking that my birthday cake this year was imaginary considering that the 3 main ingredients of ‘cake’ are flour, eggs and sugar, but I promise you, it was real! I surfed for recipes that I could blend and beat into one to create my very first sugar free cake (using agave nectar as a sweetener) with an egg free base (flax & chia seeds) and frosting (cashew nuts and coconut oil) in addition to the regular family needs of dairy free, gluten free and wheat free .

The outcome was good although not what I had expected. I main recipe I was working from used mashed banana which left a very strong flavour that transformed the cake into blueberry and banana instead of just blueberry (perhaps I should have used grated carrot instead) and the frosting had a strong taste of coconut which was nice except that I was going for lemon! You can see from the picture below that it was quite dense and heavy and very moist but the longer it sat in the fridge the tastier it was (note: it only lasted until midnight despite it being too heavy for double servings in a row). On whole the cake turned out good but the process has planted great ambitions in me to create the perfect 'free-from' cake to match all of my needs and restrictions! So watch this space because I’ll try to get around to it before my next birthday! Note: I should also mention that it is not customary in our family to make your own birthday cake but my mom was so bewildered with inventing a cake that would suit my extreme and random sugar free, animal protein reduced allergy friendly diet that I suggested making it myself while she stuck to dinner and present wrapping! ;)

Blueberry & Banana Bread Cake
makes one double layered 8” cake
*Dairy free
*Gluten free
*Wheat free
*Egg free
*Soy free
*Potato free
*Xanthan Gum free
*Sugar free (note: contains agave nectar)

1 cup Ground Almonds
1/2 cup Rice Flour
1/2 cup Corn Flour (note: I used half & half grainy and smooth flour because the original recipe called for potato starch, which I don’t like & I thought that the grainy flour would add to the texture)
1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
3 1/4 tsp GF Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Chia Seeds
1/2 cup sunflower oil (good quality without a strong flavour or scent)
1 cup Original Organic Rice Milk (less 6 tbsp set aside for the egg substitution)
1/2 cup Agave Nectar
1 mashed Banana
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 tbsp Vanilla
2 tbsp Ground Flax Seeds (mixed with the 6 tbsp of rice milk)
1 1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries (thawed and drained)
1/2 cup sugar free jam (Note: I used St Dalfour: Raspberry & Pomegrante jam which is SUPER tasty and sweetened with grape juice)

1. Preheat oven to 180C and line two 8” circular spring form pans with wax paper, or parchment paper.
2. Mix the ground flax seed into the 6tbsp rice milk and set aside.
3. Sift all the flours, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds and chia seeds.
4. Beat in the oil, rice milk and agave nectar with an electric mixer (for 1-2 minutes).
5. Mash the banana in a separate bowl. Mix the lemon juice, vanilla and flax seed into the mashed banana and add to the large mixture.
6. Gently fold in the thawed blueberries.
7. Divide the batter evenly and pour into the lined spring-form pans and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes.
8. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before removing the spring-form sides and paper.
9. Set the cakes aside to cool completely
10. Spread the jam on the ‘under side’ of one slab. Place the other slab on top with the bottom facing up, creating a sandwich (Optional: you can spread some of the frosting in the sandwich as well, if desired).
11. Ice the cake, decorate if desired and put in the fridge until you are ready to blow out the candles! (I found that the cake improved the longer it was in the fridge)

For the icing:
Coconut & Lemon Cashew Cream Icing
makes at least 2 cups of icing (which was way too much for my cake!)
*Dairy free
*Gluten free
*Wheat free
*Egg free
*Soy free
*Potato free
*Corn free
*Sugar free (note: contains agave nectar)

2 cups Raw Cashew Nuts (not roasted or salted) soaked in water for 4-6 hours
1/2 cup Water (or Rice Milk) or enough to blend smoothly but not become watery
3 tbsp Coconut Oil
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
2 tsp Vanilla
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
Pinch of Salt

1. Drain the cashew nuts, wash them thoroughly in fresh water and drain again.
2. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend thoroughly until smooth (I used a handheld blender which was not ideal. Note: the graininess of my frosting which should be smooth but I thought that my blender was about to burnout!)
3. Place in the fridge overnight before using (4-6 hours should be sufficient but I think its best to make the frosting the previous day and refrigerate until needed)

As I said above, I had way more frosting then I needed. If I had it again I would have put a layer of frosting in the middle with the jam as we ended up scooping more frosting on top when eating it. The frosting was very soft and many recipes included medjool dates for sweetness and possibly strength too (?) but I wanted my frosting to be white as possible. It worked fine overall but I would have liked more stiffness and a smoother blend - For Christmas I’ll ask Santa for a blender I think!

I also suspect that more ground almonds and less liquid and a possible omission of chia seeds would have helped the overall density and moisture so I look forward to the next occasion which calls for cake so I can try again!

Credit: All pictures which include my hands were taken by F. :)
and The icing is a doubled version of an almost unchanged recipe (except for additional agave nectar, lemon juice and reduced water) which I found on and the cake recipe was a converted, substituted and altered version from the same post.


laurelvb said...

Wonderful post. Your first birthday cake. Aw. I have all those same food restrictions and I generally take the easy way out by using a Vegan, like in "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" or a recipe from and switch out the flours. Much easier.
I also wanted to mention that you don't have to use banana. You can buy small jars of baby food and use whatever flavor puree your heart desires, apple/pear may have worked well with the blueberries. One more thing is that it was more likely the banana rather than the chia which added to the denseness of the cake. You can also try adding 1/2 soda plus a squeeze of lemon to help with lift.
Best of luck in your journey. :-)

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

thanks so much for your comment. I was thinking after about the banana but had totally forgotten about the idea of pureed fruit like pear etc! thanks for the reminder! i haven't tried it before but will be sure to next time! I'll also add soda, good tip. Thanks again & thanks for reading!

Richa said...

The cake looks amazing.. happy birthday.. an amazing job wit those restrictions.
Have a great weekend!
Richa @ Hobby And More Food Blog

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes Richa! It did turn out good, I was pleased, but there's always room for improvement in free-from land!

Stacy McDermott said...

Great recipe and caters for all…I've shared it on my latest sugar free cake post on my party blog hope you like it! :)