What's up with allergies: birthday parties

My daughter just turned 4! My mother just turned **! Birthday parties are all around ... and so are the allergens. Have no fear, though, there are plenty of ways for them to have their cake and eat it, too!

To start with, I'm a cook. Not professional or anything. But I like to cook. I hate to clean up after myself, but I love to make the mess. I can follow recipes well. I know enough terminology to get me through from start to finish. With that in my back pocket, I can bake, roast, saute, fry, and broil. I can cook.

This is great news as it means I can whip up a cake, cookies, or a pie like nobody's business. And I've brought several to birthday parties over the past year.

About a year ago, a dear friend couldn't decide which princess candle to buy for her daughter's birthday cake. She bought all three and had the brilliant idea to make three 8 inch cakes. She let me make one of the three cakes so that my daughter could eat the same cake as everyone else! Another dear friend, who's also an avid cook, went and bought all the same baking goods I have to make a cake that not only my allergy child could have at her son's birthday party, but also another allergy child with different allergies!

Obviously, these two friends went above and beyond the call of duty. Normally, what I do in birthday party situations is ask the parent what the cake is going to look like, and then I try my best to make something close. Sometimes you just can't do that, though. In these cases, I try to make something new for my daughter as a special treat. Maybe a new icing on a cupcake or a new juice to go with a standard cupcake. I try my best to make something special. It's hard to compete, though, when the store bought cakes (which look so tasty and cute) are doused in food coloring! That'll bring on the vomit pretty fast in our house!

To prepare for random sweet needs, make a batch of cupcakes and ice them before freezing them individually. This way, when you have a last minute party to attend or a dinner out with friends, you can grab that cake and go! Of course, this goes for cookies, sticky buns, sweet breads, muffins, etc. Make a bunch and then freeze them in individual portions. Another option is to make mini: mini pound cakes, mini sweet breads, etc.

Recently, a friend called to remind me that cake was going to be served at her daughter's baptism. Being me, I left the house without telling my husband this news, didn't have my cell, & didn't get home until 9pm. When I made it home, we tag-teamed baking a cake, and it was good! We made four mini-loaves, and two are in the freezer as I type (one went to the baptism and one was eaten that night. Yes, there is a cake monster in our house!). It was the pound cake in America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I simply substitute all my allergy friendly versions of the ingredients for the ones listed to make the best cake! I swear that I don't have any contact with America's Test Kitchen....I just adore this cookbook and swear by it!

You can make your allergy child feel special at birthday parties, too! A little communication with the other parent, some minor planning, and time in the kitchen will make your little one feel like all the other kids! Happy birthday!

(BTW, the cake above is a coffee ice cream cake for my mom's birthday! My daughter asked for and help made a lemon bundt cake with lemon icing!)

3 comments:

DandW said...

Both cakes were delicious -- and appreciated by all. Baking and freezing is truly a life saver for those unexpected parties.

nana said...

that is one of the smartest thing i heard. i got a call from my daughters doctor as i sat on the computer look up new ideas for cupcakes for her birthday and the doctor said she cant have egg milk soy or peanuts. i did want to not give here cake on here own birthday but ive been look and there are so many was to make it happen

Renee @ FeedingOurLives.com said...

Glad you liked these ideas! I wish you the best on figuring out your daughter's new diet...it's always so hard in the beginning. It does get a little easier as you get your feet under you, but it's still a challenge. Hope you find other helpful tips on my site, too!