I enjoy expressing my artistic side, so when my son and daughter's birthdays approach, I start scouring the Internet for cute birthday cake ideas. A Disney character is usually on the top of their list of themed cakes, but it can vary depending upon their current favorite activity or toy of choice.
Inspired by the recent Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes reality shows, I decided to venture into the world of fondant covered cakes. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that fondant can easily be made with gluten and casein free ingredients. Use the vanilla cake and fondant recipes below as your base, then add McCormick's food colorings and store-bought Pillsbury vanilla frosting, and voila, you have a celiac-friendly and very festive decorated cake. Below are some of the favorite cakes I have made, along with a brief description of what I used to make the cake. My cakes are far from perfect, but I have to admit it is a bit of messy fun rolling and forming the fondant shapes. The expression on the kids' faces when they are surprised with a fighter jet or tea cup are priceless too!
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Cake
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mixture (1 cup brown rice, 1 cup millet, 1/2 cup potato starch)
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup Earth Balance vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (McCormick's is gluten free)
1 1/4 cups Silk Vanilla Almond milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Combine gluten free flour mixture, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, beat Earth Balance and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and sugar. Continue beating until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating in between. Add almond milk and flour mixture in equal parts until all is combined. Pour batter into baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Gluten Free and Dairy Free Vanilla Frosting
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar (C & H is gluten free)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegetable shortening
Beat vanilla and Earth Balance until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners sugar, beating until smooth.
1 lb Jet Puffed white mini marshmallows
2 lbs C & H Powdered Sugar
2-5 Tbsp. Water
1/2 cup Crisco Vegetable Shortening (sticks or tub)
Peggy Weaver's Baking Corner provides an excellent breakdown of the steps for creating fondant. I won't lie - it is a messy process and does take some time to create the various colors.
Springtime Flowers and Butterflies
This was a lot of fun to create for my daughter's 4th birthday. This cake was constructed using two 9-inch cake rounds placed on top of one another with a third, smaller round cake on the very top. I used Betty Crocker's gluten free yellow and chocolate cake mixes and Pillsbury's chocolate frosting as the layer beneath the pink fondant. The grass, flowers and butterflies are all made from fondant dyed pink, green, and yellow. The two large butterfly embellishments are not edible.
Tea Pot Cake
For this cake, I used a 1 1/2 quart ovenproof bowl and made 2 cakes that laid on top of one another. The handle and spout were made using pink card stock. This cake was frosted with Pillsbury Vanilla Frosting tinted yellow. There is a wrapped Hershey's kiss on the lid of the pot - not casein free :(
Blue Angel Fighter Jet Cake
This cake started as a single sheet cake that was cut into a fuselage, a set of wings, and a tail. The standing tail section was created using two gluten free rice krispie treats secured with bamboo skewers. Glenny's Brown Rice Marshmallow Treat are also and option to use and gluten and casein free. The runway was constructed using black and yellow construction paper.
Under the Sea Cake
I think I had the most fun with this cake. The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favorite Disney movies. This cake was constructed using two 9-inch cake rounds placed on top of one another with a third, smaller round cake on the very top. Ariel and her seashell came courtesy of my daughter's toy bin. Flounder, Sebastian, and the other under sea creatures were my own creation.
Lightning McQueen Cake
This cake was probably the most challenging to construct because of all of the rounded edges and fin at the back of the car. It also took quite a bit of red food coloring to achieve the dark red hue. I started with a sheet cake again, and this time cut a smaller, curved piece to place on top as the windshield and roof. The fin is actually a piece of cardboard that I inserted in the back at an angle before covering with fondant. The wheels are made using Kinnikinnick chocolate dipped donuts (gluten and casein free).
Lego Man Cake
This was very quick and easy to create for my son's 6th birthday party. I was short on time, so went the store-bought route for the cake. You can certainly use the vanilla cake and vanilla frosting recipe above. This took 4 Betty Crocker gluten free cake mixes and ended up containing 4 9-inch cake rounds stacked one on top of another with some reserved for the smaller, Lego top. The frosting was simply Pillsbury Vanilla frosting tinted yellow.
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