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Mar 28, 2013 10:25 PM

GF Dairyfree Birthday Help Please

I have a close friend who has recently become allergic to glutton & dairy.
She's hasn't adjusted to it yet & still struggles.

Her Birthday is coming up next week & I'm going to try to make her dinner as well as maybe breakfast.

If anyone would be willing to share any pancake/breakfast recipes, dinner, or especially an amazing cake recipe or substitute that you use I would forever be indebted to you.

I think I'm going to have roughly 10-15 people for the dinner. I'm asking them to contribute but I'm guessing that they'll end up bringing a fruit or veggie platter & leave me with the brunt of it. While I don't mind spending $ I would also like to avoid an overtly expensive dinner.

Thank you!

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  1. What kind of cake are you looking for? A traditonal layer cake?

    Are nuts a problem? And chocolate [preference-wise]?

    Apart from gluten free mixes and dedicated products, generally, ground nuts are used to substitute flour, and chocolate too, to some extent, as it is solid at room temp. But it is also heavier [and fatter].

    Edit: Forgot to mention that in chocolate you need to make sure it is dairy free and gluten free, as not all brands are.
    Also, check this thread:

    9 Replies
    1. re: McBrownie

      Any birthday esque cake. Nuts are not a problem & no preference to chocolate/non chocolate. If it tastes great and resembles a cake I'm fine with that.

      I have done some previous baking for her with gf flour and it was heavier. I want to say it was buckwheat flour as that is all I had in the house at that moment. I don't have much experience with gf flours but is there any type that tends to produce a lighter end product?

      I'll check out the thread, thanks!

      1. re: dbirney

        Well then most of the flourless chocolate cakes are gluten free. To make them dairy free you could use margarine.
        Here's an example:

        I've made the dairy version and it was delicious.
        Actually, if you use this cake, you can omit the whipped cream part and use a 7-minute-type frosting [I normally use Martha Stewart's recipe], and smooth it on top of the cake [it sinks a little], then pipe "happy birthday" or whatever you want. If you use a high-percentage chocolate, the cake is not too sweet so the frosting doesn't overwhelm. Though be careful with vanilla extract and alcoholic beverages [in the cake] as some are not gluten-free.

        Nigella also has a chocolate-olive-oil cake on her site which I have made with flour, but it does look delicious with ground almonds [she usually makes it with almonds].

        If you want a layer cake, you could try using the cake part of : . I have never made it but I does gets good reviews.

        Good luck!

        1. re: McBrownie

          Thanks for the suggestions. With a decent sized group I'm not sure how well the coconut will go over for all of them but the chocolate one shouldn't offend too many people :) Thanks for the pointers.

        2. re: dbirney

          Buckwheat flour by itself is rather dense & heavy and the flavor is really pronounced, so I always combine it with at least one other GF flour to lighten it. In fact, the key to successful GF baking is to use multiple flours/starches because there's no single one that will produce the right texture & crumb.

          I make my own blends from various ingredients, but that's an extremely expensive undertaking for someone who's just doing a favor for a friend! If you want to make a traditional flour-based cake, I'd suggest using one of the prepackaged blends. The reviews on "Cup 4 Cup" by Thomas Keller have been excellent.

          Otherwise as McBrownie suggested, flourless chocolate is a great option.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            The Cup 4 Cup includes milk powder, so is a deal breaker in this particular case.

            1. re: maxie

              Ooh, thanks for catching that! I've never used it - or any packaged flour mix for that matter - so I didn't know it contained milk powder.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Yeah the buckwheat did come across as heavy handed. There is an offhand chance I'll be making more things for her in the future so I don't mind having extra when all is said in done.

              I'm almost tempted to try blending some hazelnuts & almonds up and using that in conjunction with the chocolate cake recipe above and try a hybrid.

              1. re: dbirney

                I'm almost tempted to try blending some hazelnuts & almonds up and using that in conjunction with the chocolate cake recipe above and try a hybrid.
                That's called a Torta Caprese :) It's a pretty standard recipe, but here are some examples...

                Just use a dairy-free butter substitute, and if you want to serve it with a topping, you can buy dairy-free whipped topping or ice cream, or make whipped coconut cream.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Looks great :) Still tempted to try to sneak some ground hazelnut in and see what happens.

        3. You're a really good friend to be going out of your way to do this for her. We should all have such kind & thoughtful people in our lives!

          I'm happy to help you create dinner & breakfast menus, but first it would be useful to know if there are particular foods or cuisines that she really enjoys or dislikes.

          5 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            =) Thanks.

            I don't think there is one cuisine that she prefers more then others. At the moment it seems to go back & forth as she finds something that she can eat. The last one was curries. The best way to describe it would be food with substance. Last time I talked with her about it a few days ago it was a cheeseburger. She has some knowledge of cooking but because of her work schedule she often resorts to salads or more snack type foods. There are days where since she can't have what she wants she won't bother to eat much.

            But since I'm making it ;) I'm open to anything and she will enjoy it.

            1. re: dbirney

              I'd go with osso buco served with risotto or polenta. It's a hearty/substantial dish that works well for a large group, and people are always impressed :)

              For a vegetable, either a green salad (we can discuss options) or sautéed broccoli rabe.

              I know you'd rather not spend a ton of money on this (which is why I didn't suggest short ribs), so if you can't find a decent price on veal shanks, you can substitute beef or pork.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I think I'm sold haha. Having never made osso buco do you have a go to recipe? & on that note my attempts at polenta have always left me wanting more. Can't find a recipe that I like.

                Salad or broccoli rabe would work. I was thinking of making a gf french onion & gf bread as well. Since she isn't always a fan of having people doing things for her I'm hoping to use this as an opportunity to feed her for a few days haha.

                Thank you for help thus far :)

                1. re: dbirney

                  You can't go wrong with Marcella Hazan's recipe for osso buco, though I do tweak it slightly for a gluten- and dairy-free version. Here's a link to the original recipe:

                  My notes:
                  Use gluten-free rice flour for dredging.

                  Replace the 4 Tbsp butter with 2 Tbsp olive oil plus 2 oz diced pancetta, and saute the pancetta with the onion, carrot & celery.

                  Instead of 2 strips of lemon zest, use 1 strip each of lemon and orange zest.

                  Add 4 minced anchovy fillets or 1/2 Tbsp anchovy paste along with the stock, tomatoes & herbs.

                  *Remove the bay leaves before serving.

                  Don't make the gremolada ahead - wait until close to serving time.

                  One of the best things about serving osso buco when you're entertaining is that it's best prepared in advance so the flavors have time to meld. Make it 1-2 days before the party, refrigerate, and bring to room temperature before reheating. Reheat it in a covered pot over a low flame on the stove top or in a low oven (~300F) until heated through.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Good to hear. It's looking like I might have to make everything in advance right now. :) Thanks.

          2. How about raw cashew cheesecake for dessert? It's easy to make, can be made way ahead, and is surprisingly creamy and delicious. A fresh strawberry topping would be very seasonal.

            An easy dinner might be salmon with roasted asparagus and fingerling potatoes (or chicken or beef -- whatever protein you prefer


            For breakfast, a potato, onion and spinach hash served with eggs would be an alternative to a frittata. If you are compelled to have pancakes, substitute GF flour mix, coconut milk with lemon juice for buttermilk, and cconut butter for butter.

            1 Reply
            1. For dinner, I'd say go with a cuisine that is low in gluten naturally - making stir fries with rice or rice noodles. And let's not forget the power of a good fresh corn tortilla. You could make an assortment of mexican stews, grilled meats and serve them with fresh corn tortillas and folks can assemble at will. Cheap and tasty!

              The best GF cake I have ever had was a chiffon cake made with potato starch, egg whites and oil. I took a bite, it was amazing and then had to tell the hostess "This tastes like passover!" She admitted, she'd found the recipe on a box of potato starch and yes, it was supposed to be for passover. She iced it with whipped cream, but sugared strawberries on top would have been great as well.

              You are a good kind friend to do this - good luck!

              1. Not a cake but this is one of the best GF cookie recipes I have found. Naturally GF and if you wanted to get fancy, you could drizzle the cooled cookie with melted chocolate. (BTW, the just baked cookie tastes a bit bland. Put it aside for a few hours, go back - and it will have turned into a crisp savory yummy treat.)