There are some aspects of being a parent I have dreamed about for a very long time. I loved baking so much but really had the wind knocked out of my sails once Felix was diagnosed with multiple allergies. I thought I’d be the kind of mummy who slaved for hours over a birthday cake to wow my children with. Felix’s first birthday cake was a total disaster. I was trying to make something free from gluten, dairy, egg, nuts, sesame, coconut and soya. Understandably the task totally overwhelmed me!
I’d read you could make buttercream using trex, a brand of vegetable fat. I tried it, and won’t be using it again. The following two years Felix was presented with a birthday jelly. I can highly recommend this option. With fairy lights adorning the creation the children were mesmerised. If you are catering for a restricted diet I would definitely recommend a giant jelly as an alternative – it is stress free and pleasingly wobbly!
Gradually my free from baking skills improved and I started to get the confidence to make a novelty cake. I still find this very stressful and they never look as polished as I’d like but my goodness love is poured into these cakes!
There is one vital ingredient. Buttercream. No matter how many cracks or breakages you get in the cake, buttercream will plaster over the lot! Little cupcakes look beautiful with a swirl of buttercream on top.
My recipe for buttercream is simple, spreadable, easy to pipe and works every time. I make it the day before I want to ice the cake so I only have to worry about decorating. Just keep it in an airtight plastic container and it will keep very happily. I make no apologies for such a massive quantity of icing – better too much than having to whip up another batch at the last minute.
I have read that dairy free buttercream can turn watery. Whilst this has never happened to me I think it’s because some recipes have too little icing sugar and then get overbeaten. This recipe has never failed me!
200g dairy free spread (we use vitalite) straight from the fridge
800g icing sugar (no need to sift)
Add half of the icing sugar to the spread and beat in a large bowl. I use my freestanding mixer, alternatively you could use a handheld whisk. If you are using a wooden spoon I hope your arms are feeling strong…
Beat until there are no lumps and then add the remaining icing sugar.
Keep beating until smooth, lump free and fluffy. If you are using a mixer this should only take a few minutes.
Now your buttercream is ready, good luck with your cake.