Baking for Food Allergies

You know the feeling: it’s time to host a party, you prepare the menu, you ask the guests if there’s any food allergies. One replies back with a big “Yes,” and adds, “I can’t eat dairy.”

Dun dun DUUUUUN!!!

Suddenly you have to rethink all that you’re putting in your food. You have to scramble on the internet for substitutions. You come across products that not only have you never heard of, but you can’t actually pronounce.

I told my husband I was “going in.” And by “going in,” I meant that I planned to bake dairy-free cupcakes. This could be either my greatest accomplishment or the biggest mistake of my life.

Now, if you’re new to this kind of thing, turns out Crisco can be a big component when substituting for butter. That’s what I ended up using in the frosting. I followed this recipe from Veronica’s Cornucopia for both the cupcake and the frosting.

Here are a couple of things I learned in the process:

  • Crème Bouquet is a flavoring that baker’s love to use in Royal Icing or Buttercream. There really aren’t any substitutions for this one, so it’s best to buy online.
  • Ghee is a type of clarified butter that originated in India. It’s great for cooking because it’s stable at a high heat. And here’s the kicker: because the milk solids are almost entirely removed from Ghee, most people with dairy allergies/intolerances can handle it in their food. (We had to look this one up!) Casein is the predominate protein in milk and lactose and there are very low traces of it in most ghee. I only frosted half of the cupcakes just to be safe, but as it turns out, when I told my dairy-allergic friend about the ghee, he lit up and said, “Ghee is totally fine! Thank you, I never get to eat desserts!”

Yeah. Totally knew that.

*wipes sweat from brow*

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About Maia Rodriguez

"Military Mom" Maia Rodriguez was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but that was about twenty homes ago. After graduating from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater, she traveled just about everywhere in the country, lived in a green turtle-like tent for 6 months, toured and slept in the back of her van and even worked in Japan for a year. Then she met her husband who tamed her (ha!) and they embarked together on the adventure of parenthood in southern California where she worked as a professional pirate. Now, two children later, the family currently resides in VIrginia, where she sings for the US Navy as a vocalist. When she’s not mothering, she’s writing music for "Evernight," singing and writing for the Baby Bullet Blog.

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