Birthday Cake?


Months before her first birthday we learned that Hope had severe allergies to nuts, eggs, dairy, wheat and soy. Such allergies eliminate the possibility for a normal birthday cake.

“But every one year-old I know always gets to eat cake on their birthday. It’s tradition!” I whined. So I embarked on a mission to find Hope a birthday cake.

I contacted a gluten-free bakery in Boston and ordered a gluten-free cake.

Then later it occurred to me that the bakery advertised buttercream frosting. Uh oh. (I was still learning to think in terms of what Hope could and could not eat).  So I called back.

“Hi. I ordered a gluten free cake for my daughter. But she cannot have buttercream frosting because she has a dairy allergy.”

“O.K. No problem. We’ll use rice milk” The woman’s voice was jovial.

Then suddenly I was on a roll.

“Oh! And she’s extremely allergic to nuts… so can you clean down all of your baking surfaces?

“Um yeah.” Not as jovial.

“And of course I would need you to use organic vanilla and no food coloring in the frosting.”


“Oh! And no soy flour, please – she’s allergic. It must be rice flour.”

“That’s fine.” The woman seemed ready to get off the phone, so we hung up.

Then I remembered. I called back and said,

“I almost forgot! And NO EGGS!”

I think that was the first time someone ever told me that they didn’t want my business.

Finding a cake for Hope became an afternoon obsession. I finally found a baker in New Hampshire who would make Hope a cake. I think the cake cost more than our wedding cake.

On the morning of her birthday, Brandon drove to NH to pick up the cake. (New Hampshire is not that far away, but it sounds romantic to say that we traveled to another state for Hope’s birthday cake). A small gathering of family and friends waited at the house.

When he heroically arrived with Hope’s cake, I proudly announced,
“Here’s Hope’s gluten-free, casein-free, dye-free, nut-free, egg-free, soy-free birthday cake!”

“Otherwise known as sawdust,” muttered the husband.

The cake was served. To say that it tasted awful is an understatement. People’s faces changed colors. Kids spit it out. Hope would not touch it, her senses were thoroughly offended. My father commented that it tasted like a “good kind of sand.” My sister waxed philosophically about the definition of cake. Is a cake with no eggs and flour really a cake?

This year all Hope wants for her birthday is “happy birthday cake.” She recently saw episodes of Sid the Science Kid and Sesame Street in which the topic was birthday cake. (On today’s episode, Elmo literally talks to a birthday cake.  Of course.) Her birthday cake is all Hope talks about.

So this year, (her b-day is tomorrow) I’m trying to make her birthday cake myself.   What a joke. (Most of the gluten-free cake mixes call for eggs and the egg-free, dairy-free mixes have gluten).  It’s pretty hilarious.

I am so not creative.

I have rice flour, sugar and a $9 bottle of gluten-free vanilla. What do I do now?


12 thoughts on “Birthday Cake?

  1. Oh dear! Good luck with the cake!

    My son is allergic to peanuts and I have often been thankful that that’s all he is allergic to because everytime I check a label for peanuts and see soy, wheat, eggs, etc. listed I realize how lucky he has it.

    Praying for good results!

  2. Ohhh too funny. I know the drill….reminds me of when I made a Vitamin A packed cake for my kids. Full of apricots, carrots, applesauce (pre-GF days). Nobody (but me) ate that one either! Good luck baking and let us know what results. Take a picture:)

  3. I feel for you!! My husband has all kinds of limitations with food. I used to make my own bread at home (came close to buying my own wheat grinder so I could use a special kind of wheat.) It can get really overwhelming.

    If you work out a recipe that actually takes great you could start your own bakery for those who have all those allergies – there are a lot more people out there than most people think!

    I will be praying God will give you guidance and skill!!

  4. Man, it’s the egg allergy that make it so difficult! There are so many gf/cf great mixes out there but, as you well know, they usually call for eggs.

    Good luck with this mission! I’m confident yours will taste better than a “good kind of sand.”

    Wow–I didn’t realize vanilla had gluten! Just when I think I know it all…


  5. Do you have Namaste brand? You could make that and use egg replacer?? I have something called EnerG Egg Replacer. I’ve not used it yet, but maybe soon.. And the Namaste brand chocolate cake … super good! It only calls for eggs, oil and water. And it is free of all the stuff you listed above.

    Here’s a link:

  6. Wow. Thanks for all of these awesome suggestions! I am leery about using egg replacers b/c I once read that most of them are actually made from eggs. Go figure. But the EnerG Egg Replacer that Good Fountain suggested looks to be just fine. I also discovered that bananas can be used as an egg replacer, thanks to JoyMama’s link. Who knew?
    I ended up finding an allergy free mix by Cherrybrook Kitchen (as suggested by Laura), and the cake is in the oven, baby! Woohoo!

  7. Oh, a mommy on a “Hope”ful mission! I am late to the party and notice that you have another post after this one, so I can’t wait to see how this story ends! 🙂

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