Everyday living while eating gluten-free and avoiding food allergies is relatively easy until you have a special occasion. This is when it gets hard. We all want to celebrate special occasions, and we are conditioned to doing so with a fancy dessert or cake. Every special occasion has one… weddings, birthdays, and parties of any kind all have a cake. I don’t know about you, but this is always my downfall, this is where I succumb. Who can resist cake?
A Special Occasion Dessert to Accommodate Special Needs
Recently, it was my daughters 21st birthday and I wanted to send a cake to her small group Bible study to celebrate her birthday. The only problem is that she is gluten intolerant, allergic to chocolate, AND vanilla. To add to the challenge, one of the guys in her group is lactose intolerant. Hmmm. What to do, what to do?
In the past, my go-to place for special occasion cakes has been Costco. This was a perfect way to have cake for a crowd that was delicious and affordable. Well, those days are gone forever.
Gluten Free Bakeries
Therefore, I started looking around my area for gluten-free bakeries. I occasionally see gluten free vendors at local farmers markets so I thought I might be able to find one and order a cake from one. Well, after calling around to several different bakeries I only found one that could make a cake for me. The only problem was that they told me you have to order it four weeks in advance because they get so booked up for gluten-free cakes. Oh dear, I am not that organized to think that far ahead.
My dilemma was that I needed a cake in 2 days. Unfortunately, I was going to have to figure out how to make one myself. Not being the biggest baker and not having a lot of time for something too complicated, I need to figure out something that would be quick and simple.
Finally, I decided to go to the store and look for mixes I could use to make the process easier, and I came up with a solution that was better than any expensive cake that a bakery could offer.
My Solution: Custom Created Special Occasion Trifle
I have always love trifles at teas or other special occasions, and I happen to have a beautiful trifle dish from Southern Living I bought years ago that I thought would make a good presentation and delivery to my daughter’s Bible study group.
My original idea was layering white cake, lemon curd, berries, and cool whip. I found a gluten free cake mix that was perfect because it didn’t already have vanilla in it like so many other products. This one called for adding it yourself. I love finding mixes like this because I just don’t add the vanilla and surprisingly you would never know the difference.
My Revisions and Substitutions
This cake mix called for Buttermilk, so I replaced that with Rice Milk. It also called for Almond Extract, which I didn’t have, so I decided to give it an altogether different twist by adding a few drops of Orange Essential Oil. Oh boy, what a great addition. It tasted amazing.
Additionally, I tried to find Lemon Curd in a jar to make things easy, but it had gluten in it. My solution for this was Lemon Pudding. The instant Lemon Pudding calls for cold milk which I couldn’t use. However, the Lemon Pudding you cook on the stove only uses water and egg yolks. Bingo! That works.
Cool Whip vs. Cool Whip Light
The Cool Whip, of course, uses milk products, but the Cool Whip Light does not. It only has trace amounts of sodium caseinate, which is from milk, but less than 2%. I did a little research and found out that even though it is derived from milk, it does not have lactose in it. Therefore, it would be safe for those who are lactose intolerant. However, it would not be safe for those with milk allergies because they react to the protein in milk. So, in that case, the sodium caseinate would cause a reaction because of the trace amounts of milk protein.
Options to Make It Dairy Free
Another option would be So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip
You can click on the above picture for more information or you can search for stores near you that carry these in stock. In my area, it is available at Whole Foods and Publix. I just went this week to get some to try over fresh strawberries and it was delicious.
Homemade Option for Dairy-Free Whipped Topping
An additional option is making it from scratch by using a can of coconut cream. Here is a great step by step tutorial on how you can make whipped coconut cream yourself. Here are the link and recipe. I always keep plenty of canned coconut cream in my cupboard. I get mine from Trader Joes because it is organic and affordable. It is handy to use in recipes like my favorite gluten-free blueberry bran muffins, which is a post I have planned for next month. I also love cooking rice and quinoa with coconut cream as the liquid instead of water. Yum.
The Many Possibilities of Using a Trifle Dish
Furthermore, there are many options for making different kinds of trifles by just changing up the type of cake, the type of pudding, the type of fruit and the type of cream. The possibilities are endless.
Maybe you don’t have a trifle dish. If not, I encourage you to invest in one. There are so many different trifle recipes you can try. Plus it is perfect for layered salads if you need to bring a dish to share at a gathering. Target has a beautiful one right now available online here or click the picture below. (Please note: This is an affiliate link)
How to use the leftovers
Now You Can Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Finally, now you have a gluten free, dairy free option for all the special occasions in your life. This dessert not only tastes great, but it also looks beautiful. Presentation is always key to making someone feel extra special. I hope you enjoy these ideas. Do you have any favorite combinations you use for trifles? Please share in the comments, I’d love to hear your ideas.
Wishing you JOY in your journey,
This trifle recipe is a perfect solution for making a gluten free dessert for a special occasion. Layers of cake, pudding, fruit and whipped topping in a trifle dish make a beautiful presentation as well as a tasty dessert.
- 1 box Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix Hodgsons Mill
- 1 box Cook and Serve JELLO Pudding- Lemon
- 1 container Cool Whip Lite
- 2 cups Fresh Mixed Berries
- 1 cup Rice Milk or Almond Milk
- 2 large Eggs
- 7 drops Orange Essential Oils
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 large Egg Yolks
Prepare cake according to instructions on the box, substituting ingredients stated above, sustitute Rice Milk for Buttermilk, substitue Orange Essential Oil for Almond Milk, and eliminate the Vanilla.
Prepare Pudding according to instructions on the box.
Let both of the above items cool.
Layer in Trifle Dish: Cake, Pudding, Whipped Topping, Fruit, then repeat.
Nutrition Facts: Carbs 68.2 (g), Fat 4.7 (g), Protein 4.1 (g), Calories 327
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