Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Like every other parent on the planet one of my biggest fears is that I’m truly screwing up my kids for life. I worry that my daily choices and decisions are leading them to a long life of counselling, therapy and failed relationships. Of course, the opposite may also be true and they are being set up to be respectful, independent, nice adults but my crystal ball is on the fritz so I have no idea which is true.
One of the things I do worry about is whether my food choices are having a negative impact on the kids. I know that the food that they eat is much better and full of more nutrients than the standard kid diet, but what about how they feel about food? What about their ‘relationship with food’? (I really do hate the phrase).
The kids know about sometimes food and special foods. They’ve learnt what happens to you when you over indulge at a party on foods that Mum doesn’t let you have (8yo H won’t be making that mistake again anytime soon). And they know (or at least I’ve tried to instil in them) both the short term and long term effects of your food choices (fruit and veggies give you energy, lollies taste good now but can make you feel sick later etc) so that they can make their own decisions when they are faced with choices outside of home.
But the downside of this is that they sometimes feel isolated and left out. Take the birthday party S is attending this weekend. The venue can’t provide GF alternatives so I have to provide party pies, mini pizza and fairy bread so he doesn’t feel left out. The same scenario arose last term when the school had hot dog day, so I now have a ready supply of hot dogs and buns in the freezer for the next occasion. Or the tears that streamed down H’s face when they were handing out Zooper Doopers at school and he knew that I wouldn’t ‘approve’.
Making sure your kids are healthy and well cared for can sometimes be at odds to ensuring that they feel included and socially accepted. In my mind health trumps peer pressure, but I do remember being teased for my strass and sauce sandwiches in primary school so I do ‘get it’. Empowering your kids with the knowledge of what good and healthy foods will do for their bodies versus eating too many ‘sometimes’ food is a great place to start, but when they start to get over zealous and condemning their friends then maybe it’s time to also start teaching inclusiveness and respecting others decisions!!
As an over health conscious parent (is there such a thing as a food helicopter parenting style?) sometimes I have to make the decision to let my guard down and weigh up the consequences. Feeling sad and being teased by your classmates for not getting a treat is probably worse than having the rare Zooper Dooper. Making sure there are GF alternatives of ‘sometimes’ foods (albeit foods that I would call super rare) requires extra work but it will make sure that no one feels left out or like they my choices are hurting them.
One of the things I know we are doing right with the kids is encouraging their love of reading. Both the boys are exceptional readers who love books. Reading has become their dirty little habit; they hide in cupboards and behind doors to read when they should be getting ready for school, they read under their covers at night when they should be asleep and they get cranky when we make them stop reading (sometimes they need to eat, play…interact with the non-fiction world).
This Harry Potter Birthday Cake is part of new mission to cook something from each book that we read. As 8yo H is currently obsessed with the boy Wizard (I often catch him hiding in his cupboard reading…I guess it could be worse!) and we just finished the Philosophers Stone we decided to make the Chocolate Cake that Hagrid gives Harry on his 11th Birthday. Hagrid proudly proclaims that he made it himself, and maybe sat on it too, hence the incorrect spelling. Hagrid may not be the smartest at Hogwarts but he is certainly one of the kindest.
This Harry Potter Birthday Cake is an easy cake to put together and can adapted to suit most dietary concerns, including making it Vegan and Egg Free by using this Chocolate Cake recipe. I’ll list the other Chocolate Cake options below but I have used my favourite Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake (don’t worry, you can’t taste the veggies!) as well as my Healthy Chocolate Frosting (more hidden veggie goodness #crazyveggielady).
Hagrid’s birthday cake has red frosting covering it and uses green icing for the lettering. I have made Raspberry cream (but strawberries can also be used) which can be made thicker/stabilised by adding gelatine. This isn’t always necessary (omit if making the cake Vegan friendly) but if your cream hasn’t thickened in the fridge properly (this will depend on the quality of your coconut cream/milk you use and the ambient temperature) or the raspberries haven’t reduced enough it may result in your cream being too runny and not ‘frostable’. My advice is to make the Raspberry Cream and pop it in the fridge. If it hasn’t started thickening enough after 2 hours, then make and whisk the gelatine in then.
The Green writing is a quick mixture of coconut cream and spinach. Yep raw spinach is blended with the cream and peppermint essence is added. You can swap the peppermint for Vanilla if you prefer.
This Harry Potter Birthday Cake is a great way to get your book worm into the kitchen, or a great ‘bribe’ to encourage your child to read.
- Use your favourite chocolate cake recipe. See above for links for vegan and other options.
- 2/3 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa, unsweetened
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 6 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup pureed/mashed cooked Sweet Potato (to cook Sweet Potato; place whole in a moderate oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and squishy. Wait til cooled then remove the peel and use the mushy sweet potato)- This can be swapped for 1/2 Cup ripe mashed Banana.
- 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (rice malt syrup can be substituted)
- 3/4 Cup Milk (of choice)
- 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup pureed Sweet Potato (to cook Sweet Potato; place whole in a moderate oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until soft and squishy. Wait til cooled then remove the peel and use the mushy sweet potato)
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup
- 2 Tablespoons melted Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Cocoa (sifted- or at least no lumps)
- 250 grams Raspberries or Strawberries (fresh or frozen)
- 2 Cups Coconut Cream (place 2 400ml cans of Coconut Cream/Milk opened in the fridge overnight. Spoon off the thickened cream and discard the watery remains)
- 1 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (Optional, depending on tartness of berries)
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 3 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Gelatine (if your cream or the raspberris are too runny adding gelatine will help to thicken and stabilse the cream. Omit for a vegan version. The gelatine mixture can be added after the cream has been made (if it doesnt thicken like it should without it); just allow 4 hours after adding it for use)
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Cream
- 2/3 Cup Spinach
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- Peppermint Essence to taste
- Place one layer of Chocolate cake on a serving tray. Spread the Chocolate frosting over the base cake and then top with the 2nd layer of cake.
- Spread the Red Berry Cream Frosting over the cake evenly.
- Place the Green Cream into a zip lock bag/piping bag and cut a small corner off. Use the piping bag to write Happee Birthdae Harry on the cake.
- Serve immediately or place in the fridge.
- Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Take 2 8 inch (20cm) round cake tins and line them with baking paper. Make sure the paper is long on 2 of the sides to help remove the cake once the sauce has been added. This cake can also be made in 1 20cm round cake tin and then halved when cooled.
- Sift the coconut flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. Add the salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs for 5 minutes, or until fluffy.
- Add the purred sweet potato, maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined. If you are worried about the Sweet Potato being too obvious, first blend it with the milk before adding.
- Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated – about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl (you may need to do this a couple of times) and beat cake batter on medium/high speed for about 1 minute so that the batter is fluffy.
- Pour the batter into the tins and smooth out the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool before assembeling.
- Place all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
- Use immediately or place in the fridge.
- This Chocolate Frosting tastes best 24 hours after making (the cocoa hides the sweet potato). If possible, make it the day before using.
- Place the raspberries, maple syrup and water in a small saucepan and bring to a slow, rolling boil.
- Decrease the heat to medium/low and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thick. Ensure that the pot is stirred regularly to prevent sticking or burning.
- Use a masher or blender to break down the berries slightly if still chunky. Allow the mixture to cool completely before adding to the cream.
- In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk on high until thick.
- Turn the whisk off and add the cooled berry mixture. Whisk on medium until combined.
- Place the cream in the fridge and allow to thicken before using (allow 4 hours)
- Take 2 Tablespoons of the cream and place in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cream and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Place that small bowl in a larger bowl full of boiling water, ensuring that no water is able to get into the gelatin mixture. Stir the gelatin mix until it has melted. Add the gelatine liquid to the cream and whip to fully incorporate.
- Mix the ingredients together in a blender and process until combined and not too many spinach chunks remain.
- Add the peppermint essence to taste.
- Place the green cream in the fridge to thicken before piping.