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Today is the 8th "birthday" of Kids With Food Allergies Foundation, and we're celebrating with a recipe from food allergy cookbook author, Linda Coss.

Happy Birthday to You
by Linda Marienhoff Coss 


If you've got a young child, you know just what a big deal birthday cakes can be. But if you've got a young child who has food allergies, calling the local bakery usually isn't an option. My recommendation: sign up for a cake decorating class, and try out these delicious dairy-, egg-, and nut-free recipes. And for those of you who are new to baking, here are some cake making tips to help make your cake a success.


How to “Grease and Flour” a Pan

Many novice bakers have a hard time getting the cake to come cleanly out of the pan.  The key is in the “greasing and flouring” of the cake pans.


Place about a tablespoon of vegetable shortening (not oil or lard) on a clean, folded paper towel. Using the paper towel, carefully spread a thin layer of shortening over all of the inside surfaces of the pan: bottoms, sides, and that all-important “corner” where the bottom and sides meet. Then place 2 to 3 teaspoons of flour in the pan. Holding the pan over the kitchen sink (to catch any spills), turn and shake the pan until the shortening-covered surfaces are covered with a thin film of flour. Discard any excess flour.


How to Assemble a Layer Cake

Let the cake cool completely before you begin. Place one layer of the cake in the center of the serving platter, upside down (i.e. so that the flat side of the cake, which was on the bottom of the cake pan, is facing you). Using a frosting spatula, spread the top of this layer with frosting. Place the remaining layer on top of this, right-side up. Using a frosting spatula, spread frosting over the top and sides of the entire cake. Serve.

 Chocolate Layer Cake LC

Chocolate Layer Cake Recipe


Always a hit!


Preparation time:  10 to 13 minutes 

Cooking time:  35 minutes


3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup 100% cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups water

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.


In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat with a spoon or wire whisk just until batter is smooth and ingredients are well-blended.


Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting.


Makes one 9-inch round double-layer cake.



Chocolate Frosting


Preparation time: 10 minutes


1/2 cup dairy-free margarine, room temperature

2-1/2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2-1/2 tablespoons water

2-1/2 cups powdered sugar


Place butter or margarine, honey, and vanilla in mixing bowl. Sift cocoa into this bowl.  Using electric beaters at low speed, cream these ingredients together. Add water. Sift powdered sugar into mixture. Beat with electric beaters on medium speed until well mixed.


Makes about 2-1/2 cups frosting, enough to frost a 9-inch double-layer cake.



Posie Cream Frosting


This is especially good for use in a decorating bag, for cake decorating. Please note that it is essential that you use electric beaters for this recipe -- the consistency will be terrible if you mix it by hand.


Preparation time: 5 to 8 minutes


2 cups dairy-free 100% vegetable shortening

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 cups sifted powdered sugar, divided use

1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, room temperature

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food color, optional


Place shortening, salt, 1 cup of the powdered sugar, margarine and vanilla in mixing bowl. Beat with electric beaters at medium speed until mixture is smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar until of spreading consistency. If desired, tint with food color.


Makes enough to frost a 9-inch double-layer cake or a 9” x 13” single layer sheet cake, with enough left over for decorating.


These recipes were reprinted with permission from What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook by Linda Marienhoff Coss, available at


Known as one of the “pioneers” in the food allergy world, Linda Coss is the author of three popular food allergy books: “How to Manage Your Child’s Life-Threatening Food Allergies,” “What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook,” and “What Else is to Eat? The Dairy-, Egg-, and Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook.” All three books are available at

A former food allergy support group leader, Linda is the mother of a son, soon to be a college graduate, who has multiple life-threatening food allergies. Linda lives in Southern California, where she works as a freelance marketing writer.

She was a recent guest speaker in KFA's educational webinar series. You can watch her class online: Raising a Well-Adjusted Child Who Takes Food Allergies in Stride.  



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  • Chocolate Layer Cake: by Linda Coss

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