Party Time!!

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My son’s 4th birthday party this year was inspired by Thomas Trainsformers…a crazy mash up of Thomas the Tank Engine and Transformers (check out the cartoon on YouTube). I decided to make a cake for the party based on the symbol for Trainsformers. My son and I did some sketches to plan the cake.

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I made the cake two days ahead and decorated the cake the day before the party. I decided for the party to do a mix of Thomas, train, vehicles and robot type things to pad out the theme.

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I used a train-shaped biscuit cutter to make shortbread and chocolate shortbread biscuits, as well as melon trains cut from watermelon and rockmelon. I used lots of primary colours for decorating, as these colours match both the Thomas and Transformers themes. I made a craft area with wooden robots and trains to decorate, colouring in pictures that were both Thomas and Transformers themed, and stickers for decorating.

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Birthday Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 440g white rice flour
  • 220g tapioca/arrowroot flour
  • 10 Tbs Cacao powder
  • 440g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • 580ml rice milk (or other suitable milk)
  • 220g margarine, I used nuttelex (melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method:

  1. Line and spray oil a deep round spring base tin (I used rice bran oil)
  2. Sift together in a large bowl the flour, cacao, guar gum, and bicarb
  3. Stir in the sugar
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, melted margarine, and vanilla
  5. Gently fold and mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix gently until well combined. If you think the mixture is too dry add more milk or melted margarine until it is a cake batter consistency (I find different milks and flours absorb differently)
  6. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a wooden sewer comes out clean
  7. Cool in the cake tin
  8. I turned the cake upside-down and stored in a cake box until it was time to decorate

Buttercream Icing

Ingredients:

  • 155g margarine
  • 90g icing sugar or icing sugar mixture- sifted. Most icing sugars in Australia are suitable but I have only found ‘Bundaberg Icing Sugar Mixture’ to be top 8 & corn free

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until smooth

Fondant Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups of icing sugar or icing sugar mixture- sifted. Most icing sugars in Australia are suitable but I have only found ‘Bundaberg Icing Sugar Mixture’ to be top 8 & corn free
  • 1 level tsp gelatine
  • 2 Tbs golden syrup or honey
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • Vanilla paste to flavour (if desired)
  • Food dyes to colour (I used Hopper food dyes) http://www.hopperfoods.com.au/Products/NaturalColours.aspx
  • Extra sifted icing sugar to use when kneading

Method:

  1. Sift icing sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl
  2. Dissolve gelatine in the boiling water, add golden syrup and stir
  3. Add wet mixture to the icing sugar
  4. I sifted extra icing sugar onto a plastic chopping board and then kneaded the fondant and added the colourings slowly during the kneading process until the desired colour was achieved.  Because Hopper dyes are natural and chemical free the colours are different to commercial dyes. I did a test run and divided the mixture into four portions and did a test dye to decide what colours I would work with.
  5. Fondant can be stored wrapped in baking paper in zip-lock plastic bags at room temperature (I covered them with icing sugar before wrapping them to store).
  6. When ready to roll and decorate knead again on a mat with icing sugar (to prevent sticking). Use to decorate as you would regular fondant

Putting the cake together

I covered the cake with a layer of buttercream, then froze the cake to get the buttercream to set. I then rolled out the green fondant into a large circle and covered the cake, trimming the edges and smoothing the fondant until I was happy. I made a stencil of the Trainsformers symbol and cut it out of baking paper. I rolled out the blue fondant and cut the stencil shapes out. I kept a master copy of the design so I would know where to place the shapes. I arranged the shapes to make the symbol. To finish the cake I made lots of little balls of fondant and arranged them around the base of the cake, alternating blue and green the whole way around.

I was really pleased that the cake was adored by the birthday boy! Young and old said it was delicious and the mini balls were a big hit with the kids. I sent some home in party bags and we got to enjoy it for a few days after the party as well.

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A Cup of Tea and Warm Scones? Yes Please!

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I’ve been gluten free a long time now – even before we had kids. I always got very excited if we went for a coffee somewhere and they served gluten free scones – it literally made my day! I was always to afraid to make my own…but now I have no choice. If I don’t make them, then we don’t get to enjoy them together as a family. I have trialed these scones a few times now, most recently this morning when some friends came for morning tea. I didn’t get them quite right so I re-baked this afternoon and voila – they are ready to share.

Ingredients:

  • 200g white rice flour
  • 100g tapioca/arrowroot flour
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60g margarine
  • 150ml rice milk (or whatever milk is suitable for your dietary needs)
  • 2 eggs made with egg replacer (2 tsp no-egg powder + 4 Tbs rice milk)
  • 1 tsp honey

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Line a baking tray with baking paper and give a light spray with oil (I used rice-bran oil)
  3. Place dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (I added the no-egg powder to the dry mix)
  4. Add margarine to the mixing bowl and rub the margarine and flour mixture through your fingers (like you would when you make shortbread). Rub until the margarine and flour mixture are fully mixed together
  5. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Add the milk and honey (remembering the extra milk to make up the eggs = 4 Tbs). I don’t want to confuse you with the two different milk additions but if eggs are suitable for your family then you can add them with the milk. If eggs as not suitable, however, then add the egg replacer powder in step 3 and then add the extra milk quantity to make up the 2 eggs at this stage.
  6. Stir together and let the flour absorb the milk. It should be a light, fluffy, but slightly slopping and sticky mixture now. If you feel the mixture is too sloppy then add a Tb of rice flour at a time until it seems like a light fluffy batter (the less you stir the lighter and fluffier the scones will be)
  7. Use a tablespoon to scoop a scone sized amount of mixture out of the bowl and drop it onto the baking tray
  8. Bake for 15 minutes
  9. Cool on wire rack
  10. Serve with margarine and jam…and a cup of tea!

If you give this recipe a try please let me know how it turns out. I’m happy to troubleshoot or discuss how you could substitute these ingredients if some of the ones I’ve used aren’t suitable for your family’s sensitivities.

Chocolate – a magic word for allergy kids

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Chocolate

Easter in our house is not about chocolate as until last year I had never made it. The kids had some memory of dairy free chocolate from when they were less restrictive and able to have it, but there was a gap when they couldn’t have any at all…until my best friend gave me the courage to research and make my own. I have been making this chocolate for a while now and it’s great to store in the freezer and get out if you need a snack, or to chop finely into a baking project, or even grated and mixed into coconut yogurt as an icing or dollop of ‘cream’ with a yummy cake. This would be a great Easter treat for allergy suffers – a treat the whole family could enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 160 g coconut oil (I melted the coconut oil before measuring it)
  • 240 g honey (golden syrup or agave nectar, etc)
  • 75 g cacao powder
  • 1/3 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray or slice tin with baking paper (ensuring it goes up the sides so no chocolate escapes)
  2. Place all ingredients into a blender or mix-master and whizz together until smooth
  3. Pour into the tray and lay flat in the freezer for 30-60 minutes (until solid)
  4. Lift baking paper out of the tray onto a chopping board
  5. Either cut into squares, rip the chocolate up, or use small biscuit cutters to make desired shapes
  6. Work quickly and get back in the freezer before it melts! As it’s based on coconut oil it should be stored in the fridge or freezer and taken out to eat
  7. I store in zip-lock bags or other suitable air-tight containers

Thermomix Method:

  1.  Line a baking tray or slice tin with baking paper (ensuring it goes up the sides so no chocolate escapes)
  2. Place all ingredients into the bowl
  3. Mix for 20 seconds on speed 1 and then scrape down
  4. Mix at 37 degrees, for 20 seconds, on speed 4, and scrape down.
  5. Repeat until mixture is smooth
  6. Pour into the tray and lay flat in the freezer for 30-60 minutes (until solid)
  7. Lift baking paper out of the tray onto a chopping board
  8. Either cut into squares, rip the chocolate up, or use small biscuit cutters to make desired shapes
  9. Work quickly and get back in the freezer before it melts! As it’s based on coconut oil it should be stored in the fridge or freezer and taken out to eat
  10. I store in zip-lock bags or other suitable air-tight containers

Please met me know what you think & share this post with friends or family that are allergy sufferers.