Going to a birthday party is one of the more stressful situations for the parent of a child with food allergies. It has all the pressures of trying to make sure your child is included, but still avoiding potentially deadly allergens while smack dab in the middle of a horde of sugar crazed kids. Usually it means bringing a safe cupcake along, so that the allergic child isn't left out of the cake eating extravaganza. As I've gotten more confident as baker, I've changed my tactics, and if I know the birthday child's mom well enough, I'll offer to make a cake for the whole party.
When my coworker invited us to her son's fifth birthday party and I found out that it was going to be Shrek themed, my imagination ran wild with new colors for my Red Velvet Cake. She agreed to let me make (green!) cupcakes and planned to buy Shrek cupcake picks herself to put on them. Unfortunately, none of the stores locally carried them, and there just wasn't enough time to order any. I decided to try to make gum paste "ears" for the cupcakes. As much as I like the way they look, I suggest buying the picks for all the trouble the homemade ears caused! (Hint: they may take from several days to a week to dry. I made them the night before.)
Since I'm already getting questions as to how to make a "normal," i.e., non-allergy friendly version, you may reverse the substitutions by replacing the soy milk and lemon juice mixture with 1 1/2 C buttermilk, and replace the water and egg replacer mixture with two eggs. For the frosting, replace vanilla soy milk with cow's milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
This recipe is also my entry for the Food for Plastic Kidz Challenge hosted by Ben of What's Cooking. The plastic in question is Tupperware, since the company is celebrating April as Children's Month, during which time they are donating a portion of sales to the Boys and Girls Clubs.
2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp allergen free cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice + soy milk to equal 1 1/2 C
1 C vegetable oil, preferably canola
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs yellow food coloring
10 drops green food coloring
1/4 C warm tap water + 1 Tbs Ener-G Egg Replacer
Stir together lemon juice and soy milk and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 18 cupcake liners in standard muffin tins. Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium bowl and set it aside as well.
In a mixer bowl, gently mix together the wet ingredients. Be careful not to splash the food coloring. While mixing, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones in three batches. Stop as soon as they are completely combined. Divide the batter evenly between the 18 cupcake liners. (The batter will reach within half an inch of the top of the liners.)
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly. Cool completely before frosting.
Chocolate Mud Frosting:
1/2 C dairy free margarine
(As usual, I recommend Earth Balance.)
1/2 C allergen free cocoa powder
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 C vanilla soy milk
Cream margarine in a mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and continue beating until fully integrated. Add powdered sugar and vanilla soy milk, then continue to beat until nice and creamy.