This morning, as we were eating breakfast and getting ready for school, my little 3 year old turned around and said to me, “amatxu, these strawberries are better than candy”.
I know it sounds silly, but anyone with a little one must know how good it feels to hear such words. Good parenting often times goes unnoticed and we don’t always get the praise that we deserve (or we would like to think we deserve). It certainly rarely ever comes from our children. So this morning I felt that perhaps after all, after all the guilt and doubt that I feel as a mother, I might be doing something right.
Cooking and baking are such a big part of my life and I feel it’s my mission to instill that in my children. After my diagnosis, I am also having J. tested for food protein sensitivities such as gluten and casein. Of course, I really hope he doesn’t inherit my genes, but if he does, I want him to know that he will not have to give up everything he might consider as a treat in his life.
As I was rubbing a long swab against the inside of his cheeks, he asked “why do I need to have this done, amatxu?”. I told him how we are checking to see if some foods might make him sick and he responded, “I can’t have any more cake?”. Although I explained to him that was not the case, that thought roamed around in my mind. When he came home from school, I told him to pull up his chair up to the counter. We were making cake.
To me, nothing beats the simplicity of some classics such as a lemon cake with poppy seeds. So fresh and fragrant. I took Claudia Fleming’s lemon and lavender cake recipe and made it into a gluten and dairy free version by adding arbequina olive oil, millet flour and superfine brown rice flour. One of my new favorite gluten free flours.
The cakes are soaked in a lemon syrup while still warm out of the oven. Made my little boy happy as can be.
Soaked Lemon, Poppy Seed and Olive Oil Cakes (Gluten and Casein Free)
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract (gluten free)
1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
2 Tbs tapioca starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 Tbs poppy seeds
1 cup olive oil (I used Arbequina)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Whip the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract for about 5 minutes until they are light and thick.
In a bowl, whisk together, the flours, xanthan gum, salt and poppy seeds. Fold the dry into the whipped egg mixture. Be gentle not to deflate the batter too much.
Take about 1/2 cup of the batter and whisk it with the olive oil. Incorporate this to the main batter and fold gently.
Pour into baking cups and bake at 350F for about 18-20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the simple syrup by boiling the lemon juice and sugar. When the cakes come out and are still warm, poke holes on the top and brush them with the lemon simple syrup until well soaked.