Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eleven Month Safari in the Suburbs

I grew up in a rural area.  LOVED IT!  I loved being outside.  Skiing down trails through our forest.  Canoeing in the summers.  Biking outside.  Perhaps this is why I've been gifted with boys.  When the air warms and the snow melts we are outside as much as possible.  Biking, blowing bubbles, playing in the sandbox, playing on our playset, gardening, etcetera.

As a result, our kids are fascinated by animals and all things outdoors.  If it's natural or "realistic"...then it's good.  That's according to Superhero #1.   When he had to decide what he wanted for his birthday cake he was torn between sharks and wild cats  (tigers, jaguars, lions...).  He decided on wild cats and I managed to shift it a bit to Safari so I could find some themed items for his party.

We've been on our unprocessed food journey for 11 months now.  In a way, it's like a safari in the suburbs.  It's unchartered territory.  Some friends, family, neighbors, smile at us like we're a bit crazy.  Some look like they want to but are scared.  Some see what's happening and decide to take the leap too.

Now you have to realize, I've set a high precedent in the cake decorating field for my kids.  However, ALL of the kids cakes have been processed sugar, processed flour, and artificial dye filled.  See the proof below.

So fast forward to do you make a fun birthday cake for a 5 year old without food dyes?  How?  In reading about the natural food dyes I find it's hard to get as vibrant colors.  How do you make a safari cake without it being completely dye filled.

I'll be honest...I cheated a little but this cake is over 90% unprocessed.  I used the vanilla cake recipe and maple buttercream frosting recipe from Deliciously Organic to make the 3 tiers of vanilla cake.  The chocolate tier recipe came from Paleo Spirit website.  I still used the same maple buttercream frosting from Deliciously Organic.  I dyed the coconut "grass" using a kale smoothie and touch (1/8 tsp) of green dye.  I probably could have done just the kale and made it work if I had added more.  Then I sweetened it with maple syrup and had to dehydrate it in the oven.  The chocolate sunflower seed "rocks" were naturally dyed.  Then the fruit roll-up used for the river/pond has artificial dyes.  Then I used a gluten free graham cracker for the bridge. So overall...3 things with artificial stuff but the rest was unprocessed.  Not bad.

But more importantly...does my boy like it?  Yes.  He loves it.  He was so excited to see it complete.  The party is in 2 days.  The cake is in the freezer.  We've all tasted the samples and enjoyed it.  Now to see if others like it...

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