Birthdays with Food Allergies

Posted 8.23.11 | Rob McCandlish, RDN

Happy Birthday without CakeAs we’ve mentioned before, mixing food allergies and birthday parties requires a bit of effort.  This includes both hosting a birthday party (with guests with food allergies) and sending your food-allergic child to a birthday party.

We wanted to round up a few recipes that could provide a potential solution. It would also be great to have an allergen-free dessert, whether you’re hosting the party or sending your little one to a party.  This way everyone can safely enjoy a treat.

Cakes & Baked Goods

Most cakes and baked goods call for dairy, eggs, and wheat, which are three of the top eight allergens.  In fact, fish and shellfish are the only two of the top allergens that do NOT regularly appear in baked goods! Here are a few alternatives to a traditional birthday cake that could make a great stand-in.

On page 14 of the Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook, there’s a great recipe for a frosted birthday cake, made with a cake mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen – free of dairy, nuts, and eggs. But don’t count out serving cookies, brownies, bars, cupcakes, or cobbler, all of which appear in the same great cookbook. Another great place to check is the Kids with Food Allergies website, which offers a variety of recipes.

Not interested in handling the baking yourself? There are several companies that can bake a great, safe alternative and have it shipped straight to you, candles not included. A few places whose treats are allergen-free to varying degrees are Divvie’s Bakery, Home Free, Liz Lovely, and Betsy & Claude Baking Company.  You can also check grocery stores that cater to special dietary needs, such as Whole Foods.

Delicious Desserts

Who says that an equally delicious dessert can’t make a stellar stand-in for cake? Not us! Here are some ideas for other great foods that most kids would never refuse.

See our Neocate Nutra Recipe Guide for allergy-friendly ice creams and puddings.  Also check back into the Neocate Food Allergy Cookbook for great shake and smoothie recipes, many submitted by parents.  Top suggestions include the Banana Chocolate Shake or Chocolate Covered Strawberry Slushy.  If you really feel like going all-out, you can use one of these frozen desserts alongside a baked good, in place of the usual cake and ice cream.

Feeling REALLY adventurous? Try your hand at a homemade ice cream cake by combining recipes for an allergen-free ice cream, cookies, and frosting.

What have you used in the past when the traditional birthday cake wouldn’t do? Let us know in the Comments section below.

- Rob

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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.