But what happens if you have a guest at a birthday party who happens to be allergic to both wheat and dairy?
It’d be way too mean to say, well, tough, they can’t have any birthday cake. So I did a few experiments (some of which were utter disasters, because gluten-free flour definitely gives cakes and cookies a different texture). But then I discovered the recipes on Doves Farm - http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/recipes/search-recipes/ - and everything was much easier after that! I’ve adapted their chocolate cake recipe, as the one on their website isn’t dairy-free. But I have to say it’s one of the best cakes ever, and a houseful of teenage boys left nothing but crumbs.
Ingredients – cake
200g dairy-free spread
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g white self-raising gluten-free flour
3 tbsp cocoa (you need to check it’s nut-free – some aren’t)
3 tbsp rice or soya milk
Ingredients – filling
50g dairy-free spread
75g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa (see above)
Ingredients – topping
50g dairy-free chocolate
25g dairy-free spread
1 tbsp golden syrup
Method - cake
• Beat together the dairy-free spread and sugar.
• Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, flour, cocoa and rice or soya milk.
• Divide the mixture between two oiled and lined 20cm/8”round tins.
• Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
• Cool the cakes on a wire rack.
Method - filling
Put the dairy-free spread in a bowl and mix in the icing sugar and cocoa. Spread the filling over the top of one cake layer and place the other on top of it.
Method - topping
Put the dairy-free chocolate, dairy-free spread and golden syrup into a bowl and gently melt together. Once melted, stir and spread it over the cake.
Enjoy! (The cake fountain is obviously optional, but I can't resist indoor fireworks...)
In the UK, you can get a reprint of Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh in the anthology The Sheikh Who Loved Her. You can also get an early copy of A Date With The Ice Princess from eHarlequin in the US, the Mills & Boon website in the UK, and on Amazon.) You can find out more about these books, and Kate, on her website (http://www.katehardy.com/) and her blog (http://katehardy.blogspot.com/)