Allergy-free birthday parties

When I was growing up, no one had allergies like me. Fish and nuts are common allergens nowadays but decades ago, having anaphylaxis felt as rare and weird as having a third ear. On bad days, kids at school would tease me and say I should live in a bubble -- like John Travolta in this movie. It's funny in retrospect because fish and tree nuts are relatively easy to avoid for me now, but it speaks to how unusual food allergies were in my world. My parents would send a list of the foods that I was allergic to for all of my friends' parents, to make them aware of what I could and couldn't eat when I went to their house to play. It mostly worked. 

allergy friendly birthday parties

When I got a bit older and went to sleepaway camp, I had to choose a friend to eat separately with me every time fish or nuts were served in the dining hall. The social pressure on that was enormous. Some girls fought over who got chosen and others wanted nothing at all to do with me. The other two hundred campers were instructed to wash their hands and brush their teeth after those meals to keep me safe. Over a loud speaker. Twice a week for 8 weeks. Whether or not they all complied, I can't say for sure, but as you can imagine, it was an unwanted spotlight that highlighted the ways that I was different when all I wanted to do was fit in. The world is a tiny place so it shouldn't have surprised me that during my first semester at college, I ran into someone from that camp. But it did. The first thing she said after recognizing my face was "I washed my hands and brushed my teeth for you!" That's how she remembered me. And so it goes for allergic kids, even today when the rate of allergies is so prevalent and supportive communities are everywhere. We're singled out. 

My kids have an increased risk of having food allergies but as of today, only my youngest has allergies. She can't have dairy or berries but neither of those allergies is life-threatening and I'm told she's likely to outgrow them. She's never tried nuts or fish so we're not sure about those. One of her friends, a sweet, smiley darling kid has lots of food allergies - to gluten, chicken eggs, dairy, nuts, and a whole host of other foods including certain fruits and vegetables and black beans. His mom is used to bringing food to birthday parties so that he's safe, as most allergy moms do today, but given my own childhood allergy experiences, I didn't want him to feel singled out at my daughter's birthday party. 

I spent a week testing several recipes for chocolate cake (my daughter's choice) that were free from gluten, nuts, cow dairy and chicken eggs. The first one, made from dates, butter beans, flax meal and cocoa powder was a complete fail. Also it broke my mini Cuisinart. I consulted the child's mom (she's an absolute pro!) and posted on Facebook and Instagram for recipe help. The internet is a wonderful place, and I received great feedback. Ultimately, I made four cakes with three different recipes for the party -- one that was made without flour of any kind and two that were made with gluten free flour. Two of the three were made with duck eggs (which are safe for him) instead of chicken eggs and one of them was made with goat milk in place of cow dairy. One of the cakes was free from both eggs and dairy. 

Below are links to the recipes. I hope they're useful for you. If so, drop us a line

Gluten Free Wacky Cake

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Roll
allergy friendly birthday cake