Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adventures in Egg-Free Baking

This week I had my first opportunity to make an egg-free cake, for a friend of mine who is allergic to eggs.  She wanted an anniversary cake that she and her husband could eat for dessert on their special day.  She had suggested a boxed vanilla cake mix by Cherrybrook Farms, which is egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.  I had never tried making an egg-free cake, so I was interested to see how it would look and taste.  Well, I will be perfectly honest and say that I was skeptical of the thing as soon as I poured the mix into my mixer bowl.  It was grainy looking and dark yellow in color, almost like corn meal.  And adding the water and oil didn't help matters...it looked like I was making cornbread.  Not to mention that it smelled kind of weird, too.   But I reminded myself that I was trying to keep an open mind!  It baked up just fine, and looked pretty much like a "normal" cake when it came out of the oven.  After letting it cool for awhile, I turned it out of the pan.  I sliced off the dome to make the top even, then broke off a piece so I could do a little taste test.  Um, let's just say that my reaction was less than positive.  I immediately knew that there was no way I was going to give this cake to my friend!  The texture was grainy and dense and oily, and the flavor was tinny and tasted like chemicals.  Yuck.  When I relayed this information to my friend, she said, "Oh, surely it's not that bad!  I don't even remember what real cake tastes like, so it'll probably taste fine to me!"  Well, even if you have nothing to compare it to, this cake still doesn't taste good!  So I decided to go on a hunt for an egg-free cake I could make from scratch.

After a little poking around on the internet, I found a recipe for egg-free chocolate cake that looked promising.  It featured "normal" ingredients like sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda (no weird stuff like guar gum, which was in the cake mix.)  Plus it had received rave reviews on allrecipes.com, so I was excited to try it.  I baked it yesterday afternoon, and it looked and smelled awesome.  The whole house smelled chocolately and delicious!  When I sliced off the top for taste test number two, my tastebuds jumped up and exclaimed in delight!  It actually tasted and felt like "real" cake!  If you didn't know it was an egg-free cake, I bet you'd never guess.  I gave each of the kids a little bite to try, too, and even Lauren (my non-cake eater) gobbled it up!  YUM.  Success!!!  This recipe is definitely one that I'm going to use again.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of my marvelous egg-free creation!

Doesn't it look just like a "real" cake??? :)


Here it is with the chocolate mousse filling between the layers, 
and the beginning of the chocolate ganache frosting.


And here is the finished cake!  My friend and her husband met in London, 
so she asked me to try and tie in something from London.  I used the logo for the
London Underground and wrote Happy Anniversary on it instead.  
(I was excited to have another chance to do FBCT!!)

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