This past weekend was my son's birthday party. He does not happen to have food allergies but three of the children who came have severe food allergies and one parent who is gluten intolerant. When I asked my son what he wanted for his birthday he said, "Cupcakes!" And since I have been known to bake on occasion, I felt like it was a reasonable request. His theme was "Toy Story" so I decided to make Mr. Potato Head, Hamm and alien cupcakes. My original plan was to make another wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free and dairy free cupcake for Ella and her friends. (Something that was easily distinguishable from the rest.) I bought a mix from Whole Foods (usually I use a cookbook recipe, but I thought I would save a bit of time measuring if I used a mix). The cover of the box said it was free of everything on my list, plus corn-free. It said, "Add your own sweetener" which I assumed meant that the sweetener was the only thing that I would have to add. I quickly scanned the ingredients and everything looked good. It wasn't until the night before the party when I realized that I would have to add one cup of milk and SIX eggs to make the cake. Please tell me in what world this is dairy free and egg free? (They did not offer any alternatives for the eggs but suggested rice or soy milk, in lieu of cow's milk.) So I was in a pickle. The recipes that I had called for ingredients that I did not have. So I was left to improvise. I decided to make Ella wheat-free and gluten-free cupcakes (with dairy) and then I made rice crispy treats with dairy free margarine. After the treats set, my plan was to cut them into circles and decorate them (along with the GF cupcakes) like Jessie's hat. I pulled out a recipe for vegan/ dairy-free frosting. Everything was going great until I added the gel food coloring... when everything started to separate. Something that really grosses me out for some odd reason. And then I second guessed myself, yet again, when I started worrying that the red food coloring might cause issues for the other little girl. So I made a version with white frosting and sprinkles.
Dairy-free, egg-free rice crispy treats, done 2 ways.
(Intervention? Therapy? This woman needs help!)
And then I ended up frosting Ella's cupcakes with traditional buttercream. Hey, go with what you know! This is how they turned out...
Ella's wheat-free/GF cupcakes
So for a party of 20 children and 2o adults, I ended up making 4 types of cupcakes and rice crispy treats. Each one was worth it. The mother of the little girl told me how much she appreciated my efforts. And that was enough for me.
Unfortunately, everyone at the party is now convinced that I am a total lunatic. Which is not so far from the truth! :)