So I scheduled an appointment with the allergist, and had him skin tested for nuts, eggs, and fish, all at the same time. Everything was negative... except for eggs, which turned up positive in BIG way. Giant hive exactly at the egg site; there was no ambiguity about the reaction.
It's not as difficult as you might think to ensure that my son doesn't eat foods with eggs; most commercial pastas and sandwich breads and tortillas are egg-free, and even the cinnamon rolls and pizza dough by Pillsbury is made sans eggs. It's a bit more of a challenge when we're eating at a restaurant - eggs hide in things like chicken strips (the breading) or Schlotsky's sandwich rolls.
I've learned how to be creative when it comes to baking, and for his birthday party, I really wanted a great cake that others would enjoy as well. Last year, I made a vanilla version of Chocolate Depression cake, (created in the era of the same name), which is dairy and egg free. It was decent, but I was aiming for better.
Here's what I came up with: Pumpkin-Vanilla Cake with Buttercream. First, I took a package of yellow cake mix, and mixed with one can of Libby's pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup oil, and enough water to make it cake-batter consistency, and I whisked it well. In this case, I baked it until set in a football-helmet-shaped pan for my little one's birthday, but I think it would be delicious as a 13 x 9 or cupcakes. (Or a Bundt cake. With chocolate chips.) Then I frosted it with homemade fluffy white frosting (Martha Stewart's recipe). It was moist, not overly pumpkin-y, and delicious. I'd definitely make it again. Birthday egg-free mission accomplished!
Pumpkin-Vanilla Cake with Fluffy White Frosting
1 package yellow cake mix
1 14-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
Scant 1/4 cup water
With a whisk, blend the cake mix, pumpkin puree, and oil. Add water until it's cake-batter consistency (not too thick but not runny), and whisk until smooth. Pour into greased and floured cake mold, cake pans, or cupcake liners. Bake as directed on the box.
Frost with Martha Stewart's Fluffy White Frosting:
- 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, about 5 minutes. (After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and beat for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium-high). Add vanilla, and beat until buttercream is smooth. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)