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Cake Recipe Dilemma! Help!

There is a family birthday coming up, and I've always had lots of cake recipes (amaretto being a fave) BUT this year there are some new dietary restrictions, and I'm at a loss. Cake can't have any chocolate, no dairy (though butter and eggs are o.k.) and no booze. Please help, Hounds, with a great cake I can make that doesn't have any of the "offending" ingredients!

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  1. A cake doesn't have to have milk in it... you can make any cake you like using fruit juice for the liquid. Apple juice won't affect the flavour at all, orange juice adds a faint hint of oranginess...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kajikit

      I've never baked a cake with milk in it. Chiffon cake is a good choice, since it's very moist and dairy-free. Most recipe use a tube pan, but I've baked it in a regular pan and sliced into layers with good results. And most buttercreams (esp. cooked Italian meringue) are dairy-free. You could also try a fruit-based filling, like lemon curd. Baking911 has a ton of websites and also good forums for getting advice on any questions. They're a lot more experiences than I am.

    2. As long as butter and eggs are okay, I'd say you're in pretty good shape. What about a pound cake? If you find a pound cake recipe that calls for any dairy other than butter, I'd say you've found something else, perhaps quite good, but not a pound cake. I prefer pound cake unadorned, or with a simple glaze. A powdered sugar sprinkling could give a decorative touch. Or fresh macerated berries, with the juice dripping down the cake. If you want a frosting, I'd go with something like a 7-Minute or other boiled white frosting, rather than a rich buttercream. For me, the cake's the star with pound cake, so the simpler the better.

      Renz suggests Baking911.com and it's a great resource. I love their coconut cake (Rick Rodgers recipe) and it fits your criteria.

      Homemade angel food cake (not even butter) is a far cry from the packaged stuff and lends itself to a lot of creativity. Slice into two or three layers and have fun with fillings. Lemon or lime curd. Fruit preserves. Make a fruit coulis and use a squeeze bottle for mustard or ketchup for decorative drizzling. Serve with a complementary sorbet. If you like amaretto, why not use almond extract in the cake batter to get the flavor without the alcohol?

      Finally, check out recipes for fresh apple cakes. There's a good one in "The New James Beard" and an even better one in "How To Cook A Pig," by Betty Talmadge (the second would need to be doubled...it's for an 8 x 8 square pan). (The difference is butter, although, if memory serves, Talmadge might say "shortening" and I just use butter...the book's at a friend's so I can't check.) Whatever, these are incredibly moist, delicious cakes that lend themselves to different glazes or frostings. And to your freelance hand with spices.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Old Spice

        Home made angel food cakes are wonderful. I used to make one with my grandmother (a good midwestern baker) and she would use the leftover yolks to make an orange sauce (in a pan with butter and orange juice) to use on the leftover cake.
        I did not inherit her baking skills and rely on mixes. One of my favorite summer cakes is a poke cake that uses a lemon cake mix and lemon jello mix for the cake, and then when it's still hot in the pyrex pan, you poke holes in it and pour over a lemon juice and powdered sugar mixture. The fresh lemon juice masks that cake mix taste.

        1. re: Old Spice

          Interesting. I've never made a pound cake without milk.

        2. You should be able to make any cake, really - if you need milk, substitute soy milk, it works great. I'm surprised that the cake needs to be dairy free, yet you can use butter? Butter has both lactose and dairy protein, so that seems suspicious to me..however real butter will definately affect the flavor, so being able to use it is a good stroke of luck. Cakes are one of the easiest things to make when baking with dietary restrictions - Trust me..5+ years of baking with no gluten or dairy, and also trying to avoid soy at times...it can be challenging, but the restrictions you are working with shouldn't be too difficult.

            1. Does no booze also mean no vanilla? It makes such a big difference having that. I've seen non-alcoholic vanilla at Trader Joe's but haven't tried it. Anyone?

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowser

                I have used the alcohol free Frontier flavoring and it is fine, not like high quality vanilla, but great for people on really strict gluten free diets. also could use real vanilla bean scrapings, or vanilla powder (I think made by authentic foods) for alcohol free vanilla flavoring.