This spring, four children have died from anaphylaxis, and of those four, three had peanut allergies, like my son, who is also allergic to cashews and chickpeas. In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week 2013, I’m posting pictures of my children’s nut allergy friendly birthday cakes. You can see two other cakes I’ve shared by clicking here and here.
My daughter turned 4 in December and is a creature of habit. When asked what type of cake she wanted for her birthday, she insisted on a Minnie Mouse cake. Why? Because that’s what she had when she turned 3!
I tried to encourage her to go with something different, but then thought better of it. The Minnie Mouse cake was easy, we’d already done it before, and it would make her happy. Plus, she would get to celebrate her birthday at Disney World in a few weeks, so this seemed like the perfect year for yet another Minnie Mouse cake.
This was the cake I learned on, my first fondant cake. My mom talked me through the process step-by-step and showed me how to make the fondant.
Step 1: Bake your cakes and let them cool. We opted for a tiered cake this time, instead of the square one from the previous year. Choose a nut-free cake mix, like Betty Crocker or Pillsbury.
Step 2: Make marshmallow fondant. Add pink coloring and reserve some fondant to stay white for the polka dots. Cover the cakes. We used a simple recipe that my mom found on youtube. I’m sure there are plenty of good recipes out there, but this one involves microwaving marshmallows, adding powdered sugar and a dab of Crisco. AmeriColor makes nut-free decorator colors that are just as good as Wilton, without the nuts.
Step 3: Trace or draw a Mickey Mouse outline on black sugar sheets, which are usually nut-free. Cut with a clean pair of scissors and use a dab of water to make the cutouts adhere to the cake. We only made three and placed them strategically around the cake.
Step 4: Use any round object to cut out polka dots from your white fondant. Place them randomly around the cake. You can see a big difference in the size in polka dots from one birthday cake to the next, because we used a different object. It really doesn’t matter how big or small they are.
Step 5: Details! We topped the cake with the Minnie Mouse ears my sister had bought at Disney World, but you can use anything cute. A cute Minnie Mouse toy that you’ll give to the birthday girl would be a great option too. Add a white border to your cake. Use leftover fondant scraps to make tiny bows for the mouse ears. Add dabs of icing for the candles. Note that my daughter insisted on princess crown candle holders. They didn’t match the cake, but well, it’s her birthday cake! She gets what she wants this time.
Variations: In the first cake above, my mom and sister did not make fondant. They colored the icing pink and then smoothed it out over the cake, using paper towels to create the nice flat look of fondant.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the birthday cakes. If I can make my kids’ cakes, anyone can, because I’m really not good at this kind of thing! It’s been a challenge to learn it, but it’s nice to know I can make safe and cute cakes for my kiddos.
What do you make at home instead of buying from a bakery? Have you tried making your own birthday cakes?