Thursday Dessert

(this yields enough for 2 fairly large cakes - or 1 cake and a lot of cupcakes)

this cake was one of my most treasured recipes before the allergies came into our family, and i've spent 2 yrs trying to perfect it w/ safe substitutes. perfect for the holidays, too - this is a rich moist cake that could win prizes in baking contests, it's so sinfully scrumptious!
2 cup raisins
2 cup brown sugar (non-caramel colored is usually corn-allergy friendly)

2 cup sugar

2 tsp teaspoon real salt

2 cups 'just apples' applesauce or 'Eden's Organics' strawberry-applesauce (available at health food stores, or blend your own!)

1/2 cup 'thai kitchen' coconut milk (available at health and grocery stores in the 'ethnic foods' aisle)

1/2 cup 'tempt' original hemp milk

1.5 cups coconut oil

3 cups 'bob's red mills' gluten-free (bean based) all-purpose baking flour (available at health food stores and some grocery stores)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp 'hain's' corn-free baking powder (available at most health food stores or can omit if unable to find in time!)

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp allspice

2 tsp ground cloves


put raisins in saucepan covered w/ water. heat to boiling. boil 15 mins. drain. blend remaining ingredients w/ mixer. pour into 2 greased (coconut oil) 13x9" cake pans. or 1 cake pan and some muffin pans. sprinkle raisins into batter. bake at 350 for 45 mins.


2 cups corn-free, tapioca starch based confectioners' sugar (available at whole foods, trader joe's and most health food stores)

3 tablespoons 'thai kitchen' brand coconut milk

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon corn-free vanilla extract (rose and ivy, make your own or can omit)

'mc cormick's' brand almond extract (available at grocery stores) is allergen-free and not based in corn, like vanilla. (by allergen free, i mean that it is in no way derived from almonds, or any other nuts or allergens. it is a synthetic imitation patented by mccormick's)

mix to desired thickness, adding more sugar or milk as needed. this is going to be a creamy icing that never stiffens and acts gritty like 'normal' icing, it will remain creamy and soft no matter how much sugar you add. be sure to ice cake when cake has completely cooled to avoid 'bald spots' and allow to set up as much as possible in fridge before serving. this is a cake best eaten in the 1st 2 or 3 days it is made, as it is so incredibly moist, it will begin to turn into an oatmeal consistency if left longer than that - but don't worry, any time i make it, it doesn't survive the 1st night in my house!


Rebecca S said...

Hi. I am dealing with a lot of new food allergies in my third child. I am wondering about your use of nuts-I thought your recipes were nut free?

And, on that note, all Bob's Red Mill flours are processed in a facility with nuts so I am just wondering how you feel safe using those?

I am not at all trying to criticize-just trying to sort out the enormous minefield I have found myself in.


jack said...

hi rebecca!

my recipes are peanut and nut-free, tho i do mention they can be added if the reader has no such allergies. the imitation almond flavoring does not actually contain any nuts or allergens at all - it's a totally synthetic imitation of almond that mccormick's patented.

as for the bob's red mills flour, i'm able to use their products b/c they are processed on equipment that also processes tree nuts, not peanuts. tree nuts is not a serious allergy for any of my children. it would be impossible to eliminate every possible cross-contamination risk in the 8 allergens i focus on. the only way to guarantee that there was never any potential cross-contamination would be to grow and prepare all of your own foods or to find dedicated allergen-free facilities that make all of the things you need, which isn't realistic. bob's red mills is a very allergy-aware and cross-contamination conscious company that uses good practices in trying to prevent unnecessary cross-contamination.

fish and shellfish are also top 8 allergens, but i include recipes with those here. i am only relating what worked for *me* and *my child*, i can't anticipate and provide info for every single allergy profile of every person that reads this blog. my hope is that my recipes will be a springboard, a starting point. i fully expect that my recipes will be tweaked and modified to fit individual needs and allergies. if your needs include no risk of cross-contamination whatsoever, mass-produced and packaged foods might not be a wise option for you right now.

unfortunately, a lot of figuring out what is safe for our children has to be done by trial and error on the parent's part. all of the products i list and use have caused no problems for my very allergic child - with the exception of the 'jones dairy farms' sausage links instead of the patties, which i duly note and suspect is from cross-contamination with one of his more severe allergens. but they might be fine for you, b/c your child might not be as allergic to that same thing. all any of us allergy parents can do is share and compare info on what works for us as we try to navigate through all the misinformation and lack of support that comes w/ eliminating what the rest of the country is eating.

if i were to not list every product that could possibly have come into contact w/ an allergen, i wouldn't have any recipes to share. all i'm saying is my baby has severe allergies and this menu is what's worked to get him to baseline. i'm not saying nothing here was ever touched by an allergen, nobody can guarantee that w/ a menu this extensive - i'm just saying they aren't an actual ingredient in anything i use.

if it's reassuring at all, many companies report that even when they clean their equipment b/t running different foods on it, they still post the warning on labels to cover themselves legally. articles have been published reporting that when tested, the food actually has been cross-contaminated a very small portion of the time and more often than not, never tests positive for the traces of allergens the label warns could be present.

as the parent, you have to make the final decision as to what amt of risk you are willing to take. you know your baby best. joining a food allergy group online might be a rich source of info for you in hearing about which products actually result in very allergic children reacting from cross-contamination and which ones don't. and have been excellent sources for me in choosing safe foods. good luck w/ getting to the bottom of your baby's allergies!

Rebecca S said...

Thank you Jack. I am just very new to this-my baby was just diagnosed in the past 3 weeks and I am unsure of what level his allergies will be. I am a pediatrician myself so since I know how serious a reaction can be, I am scared. That is great to know about McCormick's flavoring.

Of course I understand that nobody can guarantee anything about allergens and most companies are trying to cover themselves. I wish we didn't live in such a sue-happy society or that companies would concentrate more on telling us about the REALLY risky things they do instead of all this CYA stuff but that is a subject for another blog...

I love the title of your blog BTW, it is so nice to hear someone acknowledge that although this is what we have to do, some of us are being dragged in kicking and screaming and just really want to go back to living a "normal" life. I know, in the end, I will feel good about having my family eat healthier but it sure isn't fun now...

jack said...

we're so glad to hear readers can relate to the blog name ! i feel your pain on dealing w/ all the allergy stuff, but besides becoming a better parent w/ a healthier child for it, you are going to be worth your weight in gold as a hcp for having to deal w/ this. what i would give for a pediatrician that knew 1sthand what i deal w/ - half the time i feel like they must think i'm a munchausen mama and the other half, a controlling obsessive-compulsive that's obsessed w/ what my kids eat. if you ever practice in michigan, you must look me up! :-) good luck sorting it out and keep your chin up, it's overwhelming at 1st, but it's doable - and it *does* get easier w/ time and your instincts will start sharpening to guide you on interpreting symptoms and choosing foods.

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