My Mamaw’s birthday was on Sunday.

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Mamaw's present from me, a crocheted cross bookmark

We had a cookout, with hamburgers and hot dogs and loads of other goodies.

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Mmmmm...Indiana sweet corn on the cob

I made the birthday cake. I really like making cakes for our family gatherings, but it presents a bit of a challenge. Two people in our family do not get along well with lactose, one of which happens to be Sunday’s birthday girl. I typically spend some time the week before, researching ingredients to make sure that everyone can enjoy cake without worrying about a nasty reaction. It’s a fun challenge to try and come up with something other than a plain white dairy free cake.

This one was such a winner, that I’m thinking I may need to make it again very soon.

Lactose free strawberries and cream cake

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup lactose free buttery spread
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs (you could use egg substitute if necessary)
1 1/4 cup lactose free milk

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I use plain almond milk and soy free vegan buttery spread

Preheat your oven to 375 ° and spray two 8 inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy. Line the bottoms with parchment and set aside.

Combine flour,  salt, baking powder,  and gelatin in a bowl. Set aside.

Beat buttery spread until fluffy, then add sugar and vanilla and beat some more. Add eggs and mix until blended.

Alternate adding dry mix and lactose free milk a little at a time until everything is combined and you get an even bright pink color (no white swirls). Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes,  or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for about five minutes,  then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

For the icing:

1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup buttery spread
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup lactose free milk
About 2 pints fresh strawberries,  cleaned and cut in half

Blend the Crisco, buttery spread, and vanilla. Slowly add in powdered sugar. Once combined, add milk a little at a time until you have the consistency you want.

When you assemble the cake, top the bottom layer with icing and arrange strawberry slices in an even layer. Pop the second layer on top, frost, and then use the remaining strawberries to decorate the cake.

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The cake was so good it completely disappeared. That middle layer of icing and strawberries is magical. Unfortunately, it was pretty warm and a smidge humid on Sunday, so my decorative strawberries started to migrate south before I snapped a pic. It was still a really good cake.

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I was a bit afraid to really go for it with the strawberries in the middle, because I didn’t want it to be soggy… Turns out, it wasn’t soggy at all and I wish I had used more strawberries. That was pretty much my only regret…Besides forgetting to tell my mom to put bacon in the broccoli salad.

And then I bit into a cherry tomato and it squirted the birthday girl right on her white shirt, so basically I’m saying you just can’t take me anywhere.

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