Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cupcake Cuties


I had a rough morning. Lillie had a tantrum before breakfast. It was a screaming, crying, fling herself on the flour and pound her hands tantrum. It was over a rice cake. Or should I say rice cakes. After she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I sent a big bag with rice cakes, chips, and Passover cookies to school in case she can't eat snacks or treats that are handed out to the other children. I also include a snack in her lunch. Apparently, though, the children receive two snacks in the course of the day, and her teacher has been giving her rice cakes in lieu of the graham crackers or pretzels the other children receive. And, she's had it. While I was trying to calmly spoon oatmeal and yogurt into baby Daisie's hungry mouth, Lillie was stating her case in a very pre-school manner, as to why she hates this practice. But, I don't think it's as much the repetitiveness of the snack as much as that it sets her apart. In general, kids like to be the same, or "normal", as they view normal. The difficulty with a Celiac diagnosis for a child, as opposed to an adult, is that an adult may see a piece of pizza and say, "Mmm, that looks good, wish I could have it.", and move on, the same way someone on a weight loss or salt restricted diet may react to a piece of pizza. A child sees normalcy, what everyone else has, socialization and "fairness" (as in "that's not fair" if they can't have it) in that piece of pizza.

As much as I can, not just for Lillie, but as I have been doing for Rosie for a couple of years now, I try to have very passable substitutes for food items the other children may have. I have a great eggless cake recipe that gets alot of use in my house. I also find that kids tend to judge a cake more by look than taste. So I took a couple of Wilton cake decorating classes at my local craft store, and it was well worthwhile (and fun of course)! I remember walking out of the allergist's office after I received Rosie's diagnosis of egg and milk allergies (among others) and thinking, "My poor baby will never have a proper birthday cake... she'll have to have jello for her birthday." Well here's her first birthday's amazing what you can do with a bit of frosting and a pastry bag...
Another mother of an allergic child told me that she leaves a tray of cupcakes her son can eat in the freezer at school. That way she doesn't have to worry about the teacher remembering to contact her before a birthday party or special event. I thought that was a terrific idea.

I used my easy, cheaty, fast frosting and some colorful sprinkles along with a potato starch based cake mix I bough half-price after Passover to whip up some cupcakes for Lillie to take to school.
I sent her one as a treat in a really neat, individual plastic cupcake holder I received as part of a prize for a cake contest from Cherrybrook Kitchen, a company that makes hypoallergenic and gluten free baking mixes. I call it the "Cupcake Caboose":

Here is my easy frosting recipe. I use a pastry bag for a more decorative application. If you don't have one, you can put it in a zip top plastic bag and snip one of the corners.

Easy, Cheaty Pareve Frosting

1 8-ounce container pareve whipped topping (such as Rich's Whip)
1/2 packet instant pareve chocolate pudding mix (4 serving size)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules(optional)

Pour liquid pareve whip and coffee granules, if desired, into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Sprinkle pudding mix on top of whipped topping. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Yield: Enough frosting for 1 dozen cupcakes or a single layer 8- or 9- inch cake.

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