Monday, June 15, 2015

Manic Monday #4 Gluten free, Egg free Fresh Strawberry Pinata Cake

I'm 3 and adorable...oh and my cake is nice, too.

Whew….that’s a mouthful!  Quick dietary history on the Blackard family (well, really just me since the kids and hubby all seem normal), I’ve had gut issues and psoriasis since college.  The gut issues were diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome with the instruction to lower my stress and the psoriasis was thrown a steroid cream that never really helped.  I just figured it was my lot in life to have Freaky Skin Disease (which is what we loving call it at our house.)  Well, right after I had Sadie 3 years ago and our ducks started laying eggs, yes me and the ducks were on the same birthing schedule, I started getting violently ill, spending the entire day in the bathroom.  Guess what!?  I’m allergic to the protein of all egg whites, not just one type of egg like normal folk.  Now could it be that my gut problems were due to this allergy and it just got ramped up to the violent status with the increase protein level in duck eggs?  “Thank you gut specialist doctor for taking my case seriously and not chalking it up to the typical and probably overly diagnosed IBS!” (said with great sarcarsim)  So, in June 2012, I became the mother of a princess and egg free.
3-year-old Birthday Princess with big brother Batman.

Now along with all of this, my psoriasis continued to get worse.  My hands were swollen and cracked along all of my knuckles, behind my knees and elbows were raw from constantly itching, my face on the eyelids would occasionally itch up (which is not very pretty), and my scalp was covered in sores with my hair falling out in clumps.  But, what could I do?  The multiple skin doctors I went to just said to live with it and sent me out with cream that didn’t work, not to mention was steroids that I didn’t really want to handle the babies while wearing.  However, in the later months of 2013, my joints started hurting as well, so much that I could hardly stand from the couch or walk the many stairs in the house we were at.  I felt like I was 80 years old.  After doing research and spending a lot of time over at www.paleomom.com, I decided to do the autoimmune protocol diet for an initial detox period, with leaving gluten out forever (said with doom and drama.)  Within 3 weeks my joints stopped hurting and within 6 weeks most of my psoriasis was gone.  I started adding everything but eggs and gluten back into my diet after 4 weeks with success.  After 3 months of no gluten, even my scalp was healed and my hair was no longer falling out profusely.  I haven’t cheated for a while, but this last weekend we were in town, aka Fairbanks, and I had a slice of pizza.  Two days later and my knees are still hurting so bad I don’t want to walk the two rv steps and my knuckles hurt that typing this post is a test in dedication.
Piñata Time!!!

While being gluten free and egg free can be a real pain and eating dilemma, especially up in the middle-of-no-where-Alaska, the benefits have far outweighed the negatives.  And, quite honestly, most of the time I really don’t miss it.  There are so many great recipes out there, and I spend a lot of my recipe research time on www.glutenfreeonashoestring.com.  Nicole has amazing recipes, and her book on bread is a must for anyone who needs to satisfy that bread craving once in a while.  

Sadie’s birthday party we were having jointly with two of her friends that are also June babies was yesterday, and since I rarely will make a dessert I can’t eat, I went searching for a fresh strawberry cake recipe.  I found one over at Raising Generation Nourished, but when I went to gather up the ingredients, I realized I was running low on multiple items and wouldn’t have enough for what i was doing.  So I tweaked and subbed and ended up with a pretty decent cake.  It’s not fluffy and light, more like a dense cake.  I also saw on Pinterest the idea of piñata cakes with candy hidden in the middle.  One cake had fresh berries, so I thought we’d try that, so I made a double batch of cake (yep, 4 layers of yumminess.)  Now, I have to tell my oops moment.  I can’t bake in the travel trailer.  It has an oven, but it doesn’t work or I’m not smart enough to get it to work, plus it would just make the trailer miserably hot.  So, I take my baking to the parsonage at our church.  Since I only have two 9 inch pans, I knew I’d have to do 2 different batches, since I’ve found that the longer a batter sits the thicker and gummier it gets.  The first batch was made and thick, which the original recipe said it would be, but I was concerned.  I stuck them in the oven, then started mixing wet and dry ingredients to be ready to throw together when the first batch was done.  I got to the dry ingredients and realized I had forgotten the sugar in the first batch!!!!  Seriously!  You can’t have cake without sugar!  But what could I do?  I needed the layers for the piñata part and didn’t have time or ingredients to make a third batch.  Well, while it wasn’t cakey, the messed up batch created a yummy scone-type thing that worked.  In fact, I used the cut out part for a PB&J yesterday and grilled “pancake” today.  So, you get a twofer recipe today!
1st batch or biscuit/scone thing. Still yummy, but not right.
What it is actually supposed to look like--thick cake batter.
Gluten Free & Egg Free Fresh Strawberry Surprise Cake
Bright Pink...Yep.  Crown of raspberries...Yep.

1 cup white rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca flour/starch
½ cup potato starch
½ cup brown rice flour
1 ¾ cup sugar (omit for biscuit/scone thing)
2 teas. baking soda
2 teas. Xanthum gum
1 teas. Salt
1 cup milk
1 cup pureed strawberries
½ cup olive oil
2 Tables. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tables. Vanilla extract
fresh berries for the stuffing

1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare your 9 inch round pans by spraying with oil or buttering and putting parchment paper in the bottom.
2.   Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl well to incorporate all the baking soda (nothing like a bite of soda to ruin a good cake!)
3.    Mix all the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.  I used my immersion hand mixer to get it good    and mixed and all strawberry pieces to little.  You could use a blender or hand mixer.
4.    Combine the wet to the dry and stir until all mixed up and loving each other.
5.   Pour equally into the pans and pop them into the oven to bake for 25-35 minutes.  Mine took a little over 25 minutes to be toothpick done.
6.  Decorate to your heart’s content.

Surprise!  Next time, I'd make the cavity even bigger.

Normally I would make my own frosting, but with time constraints and not knowing where my hand mixer is at the moment I just bought a ridiculously pink can of frosting.  To make the surprise, I took 2 layers (the biscuit-messed-up layers), cut a big circle in the middle of them then stacked the cake.  I used strawberry jam, instead of frosting, to glue the layers together and before putting the top layer on, filled the cavity with fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries.  While I should’ve made the hole bigger, it was still fun to see the kids faces when the berries peeked out from inside.

For the biscuit/scone thing, you could probably put ¼ cup of sugar in it to make it a little more sweet for strawberry shortcakes or a tea party.  However, for PB & J and fried “pancake” this morning, it was sweet enough.

If you have any questions about being gluten free or egg free, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email me.  I may not know the answer, but I sure will try and find it for you!
Remember, even princesses need the Armor of God!

Until next week, have a blessed manic one!  God bless!

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