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Last week I had the opportunity to make a special gluten free birthday cake for a chocolate-loving fellow celiac on her birthday. We planned to surprise Elisabeth Hasselbeck (one of the hosts) during the FOX and Friends morning show, so I had to keep our surprise a secret from you until after the big reveal (see the video here). It was difficult to keep quiet, as I so wanted to ask my readers what recipe they thought I should use, what other goodies I should bring to show the other hosts how great gluten-free food can be, and what special message to put on the cake!
In the end, I had to make these choices without you to preserve the element of surprise, so I wanted to share what I made with you and why. This way, you’ll have some good ideas for your next special occasion (or the next time you want to surprise someone with gluten-free goodies!).
You’ve probably already seen the finished product, but do you know what recipe I used? It is one of my all-time favorites: gluten free Dark Chocolate Beer Cake made with Green’s Dubbel Dark Belgian Ale!
I decided to double the recipe, but I knew that a 4-tier cake of this size would be impossible to eat, and may just topple over! So I baked out 3 layers and used the remaining batter to make jumbo cup-cakes to give the other hosts and producers.
I drove up to New York the afternoon before and visited my friend Michelle Tampakis’ gluten-free bakery in Brooklyn, The Whipped Pastry Boutique™, for a safe place to frost the cake. Michelle is a fantastic Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) pastry instructor who happens to be celiac as well. We met when she volunteered to come to DC to help us build the World’s Tallest Gluten Free Cake in 2011 as part of our 1in133.org push for gluten free food labeling regulations.
I whipped up a dairy-free cream cheese frosting, which is super yummy. But on a hot day in late May, it can be pretty runny. Using regular dairy cream cheese will give the frosting more body, but I wanted the whole cake and frosting to be dairy-free in case someone there avoided dairy products.
Michelle and I trimmed the cakes so they were all even, and stuck 4 lollypop sticks into the center of the cake to help keep the layers together for all the traveling and jostling that I knew would go on before it even arrived at the station. (It’s a good thing we took this step, since the cake was displayed in all different angles for pictures later that day – see this picture, below!)
Michelle cut a swoosh of gluten free fondant to help cover the tops of the sticks, then added gum flowers — in celiac green! — then wrote on the cake using melted Belgian chocolates applied with a paper cornet. (I had taken a bad spill while running earlier in the week and my right hand was still basically useless at this point, so Michelle saved the day with her cake-writing prowess.)
Finally, we pressed gluten free chocolate cake crumbs along the outside of the 3 tiers to emphasize its chocolatey-goodness. Elisabeth’s husband Tim had told me she absolutely loved dark chocolate, so I wanted her to know right away that this cake would make her chocolate dreams come true!
We refrigerated the cake overnight to further set the frosting and help the tiers stay in place, and I topped the remaining cupcakes with dairy-free buttercream (made with Earth Balance®).
I decided to make some gluten free blueberry muffins in case 6:30 in the morning was just too early for chocolate. I also knew that my muffins stay fresh and moist for days with my flour, so it was fine to make them on Tuesday and deliver them on Thursday. I made a bunch by using one of my muffin mixes baked in smaller muffin cups, so I could share them around the station after I was on.
Here’s my gluten free blueberry muffin scratch recipe if you’d prefer to make them from my flour, not using the mix.
I also baked some yummy sugar cookies because who doesn’t love a good sugar cookie?! I stamped them with my “HOMEMADE” stamp just in case anyone thought they were too good not to have come from a bakery! I frosted some with a simple rice milk and confectioner’s sugar cookie icing, and others I topped with gluten free sprinkles from Let’s Do®.
Here’s my gluten free sugar cookie scratch recipe if you’d prefer to make them from my flour, not using the mix.
I also baked out one batch of my famous chocolate chip cookies, using 2 kinds of Enjoy Life® Chocolate Chips and one variety of Pascha® Allergen-Free Chocolate Chips. Since I knew Elisabeth was a chocolate fan, I thought 3 sizes and kinds of chocolate would be a great way to spike these yummy cookies with even more decadent chocolate. Unfortunately, I left these cookies behind at The Whipped Pastry Boutique, so we arranged for them to be delivered to the studio today for everyone to share. Although I made these cookies last Tuesday as well, they’ll still be yummy today since they were made with my flour!
Here’s my gluten free chocolate chip cookie scratch recipe if you’d prefer to make them from my flour, not using the mix.
I also baked gluten free graham crackers for Elisabeth, thinking she and her kids could enjoy them making s’mores over the weekend. These were also left behind in the rush, so she’ll get them this week and will hopefully find time to make some s’mores (or just munch on them!) one day soon. These vegan crackers last for weeks, so she will have plenty of time to enjoy them!
Here’s my gluten free graham crackers scratch recipe if you’d prefer to make them from my flour.
I used Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks or Shortening Sticks for each of these recipes and So Delicious® Coconut Yogurt for the muffins and Almond Milk for the sugar cookies, so each recipe was not just gluten-free, but also entirely dairy-free.
Lastly, I brought along my trusty Zojirushi® bread maker* and baked a loaf of gluten free sandwich bread for Elisabeth in my hotel room so I could give her a still-warm loaf that morning. I used Perrier® and my gfJules™ Whole Grain Bread Mix. My hotel room smelled like heaven, in case you’re wondering!
Here’s a scratch gluten free sandwich bread recipe if you’d prefer to make a loaf from my flour.
So there you have it! The story of the gluten free birthday cake and all the goodies I brought and shared at FOX and Friends. I’ll take any opportunity to spread the gluten free love by sharing yummy baked goods, wouldn’t you?
Fox & Friends Gluten Free Recipe Roundup
I hope you love these ideas!
Pin them for later!