Back in the spring I decided to take a cake decorating class at a local cake supply store. I will admit that the idea of going into a room filled with gluten laden cakes freaked me out; but I was a mom on a mission. Armed with vinyl gloves and sitting at my own table to minimize cross contamination, I dug in. It was a lot of fun, and my curious getup prompted some great questions from the other students so I took it upon myself to do a little Celiac Disease education! Instead of taking my cakes home (too risky), I gifted them to friends, family and the other students. Maybe it will inspire a real professional to start a gluten free bakery in Albuquerque!
There is one bakery in town that makes gluten free cake but it is not a dedicated bakery and the cake just wasn’t that great. It was heavy and loaded with pineapple and nuts… not exactly kid fare. I also knew I didn’t want my boys to grow up just having plain frosted cupcakes for every party or what I call a 9 x 13 “Pyrex cake.” If my boys have to be gluten-free, then I want all of their friends to be envious of their food!
So, where to start? The cake recipe or the cake decoration? I figured that the decorations were most important. If it is bright and not a color found in nature, then I have a foot in the door with the under 10 set. The new GF Betty Crocker cake mixes are pretty good and they are quick. I still want to find a great scratch cake recipe, but time is of the essence, they are already 5 and 2!
Luke’s 2nd birthday party is around the corner, so I decided to do a practice cake before his party. He loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar book by Eric Carle, so that is the theme. Now I need a caterpillar cake! I found a Caterpillar Cakelet Pan from Williams Sonoma which was quite helpful. I made several batches of cakelets out of chocolate and yellow cake batter from the GF Betty Crocker mixes, this way I could alternate each segmented body part with the different flavors. One thing that I learned in my cake decorating class was how to use an icing bag and several different tips. The #21 and #32 tips are good staples for decorating most cakes that you can bake in the little kid shaped pans you can find at a craft store.
Here is my practice caterpillar cake:
My cake board was a bit small so I couldn’t give the caterpillar the accurate shape, but it is a start! I used 2 purple lollipops for the antenna. Luke loved it.