It's been a rather hectic week around these parts. Junior turned from a baby to a one year old which simultaneously kick started a sleep regression leaving us all a little frazzled and emotional. There were cries of 'Awww our little baby's grown so quickly' *sob sob* promptly followed by hair pulling and frustrated mumbling through firmly gritted teeth of 'Aggggh I cannot believe he won't sleep. WHY WON'T HE SLEEP?! I thought we were past this!' all of course punctuated by a lot of internet searches. All of which has directly resulted in me reaching for custard donuts and sugary coffee at 5.30am just to stay alive.
Any ways, aside from my kid turning into a frustrated insomniac overnight there was the issue of a birthday cake to see to! Now any one who has a kid knows the pressure of the FIRST BIRTHDAY cake. It's the stuff of legend. I swore I wasn't going to succumb to the pressure but like a fool I buckled a week before the big day and began my hunt for something simple and passable (these kids are a touch crowd!). Like I touched on previously, I've never been a sugar free baker until this lil man came along but I was determined to find something passable for the small people to eat at his shindig that wouldn't result in a bunch of sugar crazed, kamikaze babies on the prowl. My main concern was icing, how do you make something tasty and remotely attractive? Well I can tell you after a lot of research the secret is apple sauce my friends! This cake is incredibly similar to my strawberry and banana muffins but the cake itself is egg and dairy free and although looks scarily like dry bird seed both before and after cooking, I can assure you it's actually moist and tasty. In fact, several adults said they'd actually eat it out of choice! WINNER. Archie is going through a phase of rejecting everything but even he scoffed a slice!
I've slightly adapted this from a fab recipe I found on Fit Mama Real Food
3-4 Pink lady apples
2 Vanilla pods
1 Cup of water
5 Smallish very ripe bananas (if not ripe see sugar free muffin post for oven ripening technique)
A handful of strawberries (4-5) finely sliced
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1 Tsp bicarbonate of Soda
3/4 Cup plain white flour
3/4 Cup oat flour (blitz porridge oat into a fine flour in your blender)
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Homemade apple sauce
Handful of desecrated coconut
First you gotta make your apple sauce! Now I appreciate it may put you off and feel like an unnecessary, time consuming, pain in the bum but it is worth it. It adds a natural sweetness and moistness to the cake that you'll be glad of when all's said and done! Peel, core and chop your apples into smallish chunks, put in a pan with a cup of water (Keep an eye on it as you may have to add more as it cooks to stop it drying out) and 1 vanilla pod. Leave over a lowish heat, stirring occasionally until apples are reduced and soft (aprox 30 mins). Once it's all soft and reduced down let it cool slightly then blitz in a processor or with a hand blender and set aside to cool.
Set your oven to 170C grease 2 x 8" cake tins
1. Melt the coconut oil and set aside to cool slightly (you don't want it cooling completely as will go back to being solid)
2. Mash the bananas and strawberries together. Add the cinnamon, contents of the other vanilla pod, 1/2 cup of apple sauce, coconut oil and mix until it just comes together
3. In a separate bowl mix the plain white flour, oat flour and bicarbonate of soda together
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the banana mix and again stir until just combined
5. Pour the mix into your two cake tins, it doesn't spread like conventional cake mix so you'll have to coax it around the tin! Don't let it's interesting appearance put you off, it will come good in the end! Put in the middle shelf of your oven for 15-20 mins until a skewer comes out clean of cake mix (be careful it may have some residual goo on it from the fruit so don't let that mislead you, you don't want over done dried out cake!)
6. Whilst the cake cools make your icing! Soften philadelphia in a big bowl, add the 1/2 cup of apple sauce and whisk together until it becomes slightly thickened - it will be slightly lumpy due to the apple sauce but don't let that put you off it taste really good. Once your cake is cool slather the icing in the middle, top and side of the cake and then I sprinkled with a handful of desecrated coconut. Like Fit Mama I adorned mine with a one made from fresh blueberries!
Phew, what a week. In fact, what a year! I'm off to scoff more donuts and reflect on the roller-coaster ride it's been so far!