When it comes to birthdays I pretty much turn a blind eye to the whole "avoiding" sugar thing. It's a no holds barred feast on gluten-free chocolate cake and buttercream frosting.
And so it was with this batch of Batman and Lego Ninjago cupcakes. Can anyone help me here? Is the green guy Cole or Jay, or wait maybe it's Kai? My boys would be aghast if they knew I didn't know which was which.
Birthdays can be hectic. So to save time I usually turn to three friends—Bob, Pamela, and Michael. Bob faithfully brings the super-moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix. Pamela rocks it home her sugar coma-inducing (but oh so good) Vanilla Icing Mix.
The cake is easily made without eggs and milk—just sub with chia eggs and non-dairy milk. The icing may be made dairy-free by using either Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread or Spectrum Palm Shortening.
For decorating, I grab the fondant and food coloring (yep, the artificial stuff). My kids know that these decorations are just that—for decoration. We don't eat them. I draw the line at artificial colors, even on special days.
Blocks of white fondant and a rainbow of food coloring can be found at Michaels (they offer cake decorating classes, too—something I could really use to improve my lame buttercream piping skills). All you do is massage the coloring into the fondant and then treat it like playdough (if it gets too sticky, toss it in the freezer for a bit). You could try all-natural India Tree Nature's Colors, however the colors just won't be as intense. A halloween bat cookie cutter came in handy for the Batman cupcakes. An edible food coloring pen for the ninjas' eyes.
A Special Thank You
A special "thanks" goes out to Pamela, Bob, and Michael for helping me look like a rockstar mom at my kid's party. The "mom, that was the best day EVER!" was the best part and made the extra (but not so extra) effort worth it.
This month we have celebrated National Celiac Awareness Month. My son is going on his 6th year of life and 4th year of being gluten-free. I would like to extend a special thank you to companies like Bob's Red Mill and Pamela's for making the transition an easy one for us.
Some other folks hard at work for the gluten-free'ers have been Jules Shepard, John Forberger, and the American Celiac Disease Alliance. They are the founders of 1in133.org, a collaborative effort to refocus attention on the overdue gluten-free labeling rules. Learn more about their cause here and updates on where things stand on Capitol Hill.