This cake recipe has changed our lives. Before we discovered all of his food allergies, my son would get terribly ill after eating the slightest amount of typical party fair, including birthday cake. We have come so far!
This recipe came from his preschool director who has multiple grandchildren with an array of food allergies. We now use this recipe for every cake. I bake a couple of extra batches of cupcakes throughout the year and freeze them (some kept at home; some kept at school) so he has a safe substitute for his friends’ birthday parties and treats at school. Our friends have started using it as their go-to recipe as well. Most of our friends and family prefer the taste of this one to other cakes. My son is allergic to dairy, eggs, and soy. This cake has none of those things and it’s so easy!
Chocolate Cake Recipe
• 3 Cups flour
• 2 Cups sugar
• 3/4 Cup cocoa powder
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 Cups cold water
• 1 Cup vegetable oil
• 1 Tbls pure vanilla extract
• Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips sprinkled into batter (optional)
Prepare cake pans with oil or vegetable shortening. I always line the bottom of my cake pans with parchment paper. Because of the high sugar content, the cake tends to stick to the larger surface area. Parchment paper solves this problem and is very easily removed while cooling the inverted cakes. (Simply trace the bottom of the pan with a pencil on parchment paper, cut out and place in bottom of the pan before adding batter.) *Use liners if making cupcakes.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and combine well. Fold in chocolate chips if using. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 325 degrees. When you start to smell the cake baking, start checking it every five minutes or so. Baking time varies depending on size/shape of cake/cupcakes. Let set for 10 minutes, then carefully invert and cool on racks before frosting.
Frosting (I usually double or triple this recipe depending on how large/elaborate cake will be.)
• 1 Cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I prefer Sprectrum brand.)
• 3 Cups powdered sugar (Note: Most manufactured powdered sugar contains cornstarch for those of you dealing with a corn allergy.)
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 2-5 Tbls non-dairy milk
* Adding a pinch of salt makes this taste more like a traditional butter cream. Leave out the salt if you want more of a softer, plain sweet frosting flavor.
*You can also make chocolate frosting by adding desired amount of cocoa powder. It’s already sweet because of all the powdered sugar so you don’t need to adjust anything else when adding cocao.
Combine all ingredients including just a few tablespoons of the non-dairy milk. Whip together with electric mixer. (Start slow as to not make a sugar dust cloud.) Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Can color with soy-free coloring if preferred.
The recipe above is for the chocolate version, but a few weeks ago I made a key lime version (pictured below) for spring. I omitted the cocoa powder and used A LOT of key lime juice since I didn’t have lime extract on hand. I started substituting lime juice for some of the water, but it wasn’t flavorful enough so I ended up adding a lot more liquid than the original 2 cups the recipe calls for. I added a little more flour (honestly can’t tell you how much) to thicken the batter again. To my surprise this actually worked pretty well, but I would have preferred to use a smaller amount of lime extract instead of all the extra liquid/lime juice to keep the scientific ingredient ratios the in tact. If I make it this way again, I’ll try substituting more lime juice for water and update the recipe here.
Instead of almond/coconut milk in the frosting, I used key lime juice. Again, I had to play with the ratios to get the right flavor (I wanted it punchy!) and consistency (not too runny). Oh, my… I honestly could have just eaten the frosting and skipped the cake.
We love this recipe because it allows us to make fun cakes and cupcakes just like his friends get to have. He has to make a lot of sacrifices as such a young child; therefore, we try especially hard to find safe substitutes whenever possible.
Good luck! Enjoy!