Q: How do you please a 19 year old?
A: Make him the birthday cake of his choice.
T’was the day before Christmas and I had planned to make a raspberry and white chocolate birthday cake for my gf son’s birthday. After all, that is what he asked for last year.
A family crisis had me behind schedule but prepared, that is until I asked KJ “What type of cake do you want for your birthday?”
Rainbow Cake was not the answer I had pre-empted but up to the challenge I flipped through a few gf cookbooks and found a Butter Cake recipe in Women’s Weekly Gluten Free Cookbook. Deliciously Nell from I Need a Feed also has a recipe for butter cake.
Using all my artistic skills, I dolloped tri coloured spoonfuls of cake mixture and then used another palette of colours for the decorations.
For those family members whose tastes are not attuned to gluten free cake without chocolate or almond meal or hazelnut meal or orange or lemon; ingredients which make gluten free more palatable, the texture and taste of the cake was noticeably different for them.
For gluten free-ers, the cake was moist and overwhelmingly colourful. And on the day, eaten by all.
Q: How do you make a 19 year old smile on his birthday?
A: Make him a rainbow cake 🙂
200 g butter, softened
2 1/4 cups (300 g) gluten free self-raising flour
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 180 C (160C fan forced). Grease and line a 20 – 25 cm spring form cake tin.
Beat butter in a medium bowl with electric mixer until changed to a paler colour. Sift flour and 1/4 cup of sugar together. Use half the flour mixture and beat into butter until combined. Repeat using other half of flour mix.
In another bowl, beat eggs and egg whites until thick and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar (3/4 cup), one tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar dissolves between additions. Gradually pour egg mixture into flour mixture with motor running on a low speed, until just combined.
Spread mixture into cake tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Rest cake in tin for 15 minutes for turning out onto wire rack to cool.
Ice and decorate when cake is cooled.
There are many expressions of love, friendship and kindness: a gift on birthdays, a catch up chat and coffee, a quick text to touch base, a hug…
As a mother with an Italian and Catalan heritage, it is firmly embedded in my psyche that cooking is integral to family life. Food doesn’t just nourish the body. Food when combined with love also nourishes the soul.
We show our love to our children by preparing and plating three different meals at the one sitting because of individual likes and dislikes. We cook for unwell friends and relatives. We deliver meals to families who are grieving. We show our love by patiently baking cupcakes when our grandchildren/children are/were young, mess and all.
And when a member of your family has coeliac disease, then we go that step further primarily because we have to, but also because cooking, baking and food shopping is an extension of our commitment and love.
So here are a couple of reflections on gluten free food and the special ingredients it is MADE WITH…
MADE WITH LOVE
I loved reading Dana’s blog about her Gluten Free Rainbow Birthday Cake. A mother’s love is measured in so many different ways and her colourful rainbow cake is such a special expression of love.
MADE WITH THOUGHT
I invited a close friend Dianne to dinner recently and was truly touched by her gesture of bringing dessert. This was not a special dinner, just a catch up so there was no need to bring something. But Dianne arrived with delicious gluten free mini blueberry cheesecakes . She had gone the extra mile not only in bringing dessert but also in thinking about my son and his gluten free needs.
MADE WITH UNDERSTANDING
And then there was a teacher at my son’s school who, as an end of school gesture, arranged pizzas for her students. I started to panic as my son began to tell me about the pizza he had eaten that day. His teacher had made him a gluten free pizza. She didn’t just buy in a base and assemble the toppings, she made the dough from scratch.
It goes without saying that I will continue to bake gluten free for my son even after he leaves home and I will never arrive at his door without a plate of gluten free food. And I continue to be comforted by the fact that people in my son’s life, besides his mother and father, understand his gluten free needs and go the extra distance for him.
Food made with love and thought and understanding is definitely much sweeter.