Thursday, April 21, 2016

Turning 7

I can't even believe it but my big boy turned 7 yesterday. 7! We couldn't be prouder of this kind, curious, funny boy with the infectious laugh and big heart. Love him to bits!

No birthday party this year (we've decided to alternate birthday parties for the boys and he had one last year which I talked about here), instead he took some cupcakes to share with his classmates and we had family over for birthday cake and pizza - his choice.

Being a wholefood and low sugar family birthdays always pose a dilemma for me. While we don't want to take an 'anything goes' approach, we also don't want to restrict treats when to me, having something once a year on your birthday is the very definition of a treat.

So while these recipes definitely contain more sugar than is normal for us, they are also free from artificial additives and full of less-refined ingredients such as spelt flour, raw cacao, coconut sugar and grass-fed butter. And I'm totally ok with that.

Mr 7 was very clear that he wanted mini chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing for school, and chocolate number 7 cake with vanilla icing and sprinkles for home.

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes

125g melted butter
100g coconut sugar
2 eggs
1 ts vanilla extract
170 g white spelt flour
2 1/2 ts baking powder
40g raw cacao
2/3 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 150 degrees fan-forced / 170 degrees Celsius. Line 2 mini cupcake pans with 36 paper cupcake liners and set aside.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl, in the order listed, and mix with electric beaters for about 1 minute until smooth and well combined.

If you have a thermomix, place all ingredients into the mixing bowl and mix for 30 secs / SP 4, scraping down the sides as needed.

Spoon heaped teaspoons of mixture into the prepared tins, filling each just over half full.

Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly. Do not overcook!

Makes 36

Chocolate Icing

90g softened butter
1/3 cup raw cacao
1 1/2 cups powdered coconut sugar (grind coconut sugar in thermomix or high powered blender until as fine as icing sugar and measure after grinding)
1 ts vanilla extract
1 tbs coconut milk

Hoppers 00s & 000s to decorate

Grind the coconut sugar first and then measure out 1 1/2 cups, reserving any extra for another time. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Pour 00s & 000s into a small bowl.

Spread icing on the top of each cupcake then dip lightly into the sprinkles to decorate.

I'm told the cupcakes went down very well at school!

Next was his birthday cake for home. Now I've tried many recipes over the years and I knew that not all of them would work for a shaped cake like this one. I need something that wouldn't fall apart when it was sliced. Rather than reinvent the wheel I decided to tweak a few recipes I've made before and come up with my own.

Wholefood Chocolate Sheet Cake

400g white spelt flour
100g raw cacao powder
2 tbs baking powder
250g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 ts fine sea salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
500g rice malt syrup
250ml water
1 ts vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius / 150 degrees fan-forced. Grease a 23 x 33cm tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and using electric beaters, beat together at low speed until combined, then on high speed for 2 minutes until smooth and glossy.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approx 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Icing

125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup organic icing sugar*
1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar (see chocolate icing above)
1 ts vanilla extract
1-2 tbs coconut milk

Combine all ingredients in thermomix or large bowl with electric beaters and beat until smooth and pale.

*I have experimented using all coconut sugar for the icing before and while the flavour was amazing it was quite caramel in colour which was not the look I wanted here. Next year I will be pushing harder for a chocolate icing so I can use all coconut sugar and some avocado as well.

I used a template to cut out the number 7 shape and did a crumb coat and second coat of icing before decorating with Hopper's 00s and 000s which are free from artificial additives.

So that's it. Our sweet but additive free birthday cakes for our sweet Mr 7.

How do you handle birthday parties at your place? Do you have certain foods that you just won't serve or does anything go?

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