Now, for some of you, you’re thinking, big deal. I could do that in my sleep. Well, you are probably always a crafty mama, whereas I would like to be a crafty mama, but in actuality everything I do comes out crooked. You probably cook things on a regular basis, and they probably come out okay. Now, I can cook, kind of, but I’m not what you’d call good at it, and I have never made a cake, and certainly not one that resembled anything besides a brick.
So… I hunted down this recipe for a gluten free cake, crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t taste like poo (which so many of them do), and set off in search of the ingredients. (I’d like to pause here and formally thank my friend Adam for recipe hunting for me. I wound up not using the delicious looking recipe that he sent me simply because I couldn’t find some of the things I needed.) You’d think this would be a fairly simple task. Rachel, you’d say, just go to the store.
Except that I live in a tiny little town (quite charming, really) in Montana. There are two grocery stores, but only one of them carries any sort of gluten free items, namely, Gluten Free Mama Almond Flour. Which is awesome, but very expensive, and totally not helpful in this particular instance. Forgetting this, I went to one store, then the other, and then to Walmart (which is what we do here when we’re desperate, because there’s nowhere else to go), where someone finally informed me that there’s actually a little health food store here (we’ve grown up!), but it was of course closed. Try again tomorrow. Saturday morning my mom agrees to watch the birthday boy so I can go on my hunt for xanthum gum. I was there for over an hour and a half (not sure what happened to me there, I think I entered some sort of time warp) when Mom called to inform me that J was crawling around looking for me signing “nurse” (see, that signing thing is handy), so home I went to care for the boy with xanthum gum in hand.
Hour later, back to the health food store for the flours (yes, that’s plural, go look at the recipe), then back to Super One hunting for the other things like eggs and mayo (which I hadn’t gotten the night before, in case I never found xanthum gum). I get everything in the basket, only to discover that they didn’t have chocolate twizzlers. This was crucial to the make it look like a horse directions. I decided since I now needed to go to Safeway for the twizzlers, I should get everything there. Well… no twizzlers there. Back to Walmart. Nope. I finally found chocolate twizzlers at the gas station, awesome. Headed back home… and realized that I had never gotten the rest of the ingredients at the grocery store, so now all I have is xanthum gum, tapioca flour, white rice flour, and twizzlers (and some other delicous gluten free goodies I found at the health food place, but that’s besides the point). Back to Super One. (Now maybe my mom will understand why it took me two days and several hours to go shopping for his cake. It’s really not that big of a town.)
Home, put the boy down for nap, and finally, time to start baking the cake! I carefully lay out all the ingredients, get everything ready, measure the flour… and J wakes up. Now I’m holding the boy and pouring the flour, patting myself on the back for not making a huge mess, and then my mom comes in and comments on what a wreck I’ve made of the kitchen. Apparently, I really am that awkward, especially when there’s flour involved.
After the cakes cooled, the real work began. First, I had to cut up cardboard boxes and craft a tray big enough to hold the thing. Then there was the issue of construction. See, the only square pan that I had was 8×8 instead of 9×9, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s time to cut out shapes to make it look like the little diagram. I wound up doing some weird cake jigsaw puzzle to try to make it work. Luckily, chocolate frosting makes a *wonderful* glue. Horse successfully painted (the ears were kind of tricky), eyeball added (Junior Mint with a touch of vanilla frosting for twinkle, which my mom tried to wipe off), nose attached, halter carefully draped, it was time to add the mane. Two hours of cutting twizzers into strands and carefully arranging them to look like hair, and I was finally done.
We managed to cart the cake to my sister’s house for the party without any mishap, quite an amazing feat considering the windstorm and yet another stop at the store. I am pleased to announce that not only did it look pretty good, it tasted delicious, even to my gluten-eating companions. Jayden certainly enjoyed it.
Next year, I’m thinking cupcakes…