In my training and working with expecting & new families as Holistic Maternity & Sleep Coach/Educator, I have quickly learned the impact nutrition can have on moods, behavior and sleep. Our society however is still pretty much in denial about this tiny detail.
So what gets me excited is healthier versions of celebration cakes, easier on tiny bodies, yet still delicious. Once you start experimenting with healthier options, the world is your oyster!
When I learned about gluten’s impact on the human body, it was a no-brainer several years ago to test it ourselves. As a family, we decided together to eliminate it for 8 weeks and then add it back in, to evaluate the effect in our bodies. After the period of elimination, to my surprise, my husband concluded that maybe our family should consider ditching gluten. I agreed without hesitation. We are not fanatic about it, but we stopped buying gluten containing products, flours, bread, etc. Yes bread too! That took a while for us to get used to and over weekends, gluten still crosses our paths when out and about but we’ve managed to decrease our consumption by over 97%, which just feels great. Don’t fall in the trap though, to stock up on processed products & baked goods just because they’re gluten-free…
So when any baking is needed, we experiment gladly with gluten-free flours, there are so many now. Usually we just mix a few we have in stock to get a nice texture. Suffice to say, we also opt for natural sweetening alternatives and use fresh, whole, organic ingredients where possible.
For a recent birthday, my youngest wanted to have a Catterpillar cake. We adapted a recipe from The Urban Poser into cupcakes and whipped up our own ganache mixture to decorate.
Et voila! Très facile!
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup ghee
2 cups mix of coconut flour
1 cup cocoa powder
4 tablespoons arrowroot flour (or any other gluten-free flour)
3 Pinches of salt
12 large organic free range eggs from happy hens, room temperature
2 cups full-fat coconut milk
300 ml maple syrup (a natural sweetener)
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons baking soda
24 cupcake paper shapes
1 bag of mixed color Bellpeppers (for the catterpillar)
Buttons or anything round for the catterpillar’s eyes.
For the Whipped Ganache
2 cups heavy cream
1,5 cup extra creamy coconut cream
450 g good quality, organic, fair trade, dark chocolate
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 163°C .
In a small saucepan, melt the ghee over gentle heat, and then set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa and salt till blended.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium-sized bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the yolks in another bowl along with the milk, maple syrup, vanilla, vinegar, and melted ghee. Whisk to combine. Add the egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and whisk till the batter is smooth and no lumps remain.
Using a hand mixer or the whisk attachment for your stand mixer, beat the egg whites till they look like softly whipped cream (soft peaks). Stir the baking soda into the batter and then, using a rubber spatula, immediately beat in one-third of the whipped egg whites to lighten the batter. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites till only a few streaks of egg white are left.
Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake paper molds, which are placed in ovenproof cupcake tins. Bake for about 30 minutes till the tops are golden and spring back when gently pressed. Check the cupcakes in the last 10 minutes of baking to see how it has progressed. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Flip cupcakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
In the meantime, prepare the whipped ganache: Put the chocolate in a large, heatproof bowl. Heat the creams to boiling and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for about ten minutes, then add the salt and blend.
Refrigerate for about two hours, or until firm all the way through. Whip with a stand mixer or beaters until soft, whipped, and slightly lightened in color.
Decorate the cupcakes with the ganache by using a piping bag.
On a tray, lay out the decorated cupcakes in a caterpillar formation and add legs, mouth and feelers with bell pepper strips using the toothpicks to attach securely.
For safety, remember to remove the toothpicks and buttons when serving.
Other party snacks included kiwi slices, mini caterpillars made from grapes, cherry tomatoes, celery and organic 100% peanut butter (Rapunzel). We used dried berries for the eyes.
Each little guest also received a snack bag filled with a babybell, rice cakes, raisins, a clementine and a mini Cote d’Or dark chocolate plus a box of homemade popcorn made with coconut oil and a sprinkle of Himalayan salt.
And our little one was all smiles!
More about the author:
Mother of two darling babies and Holistic Maternity & Sleep Coach/Educator, Marise Hyman works with expecting and new families on Holistic Sleep and Preparing for the Life Change a Baby brings, through Marise Hyman Maternity Coaching – setting them up for success, so they can sail into their new lives with confidence!
She is also the founder of the NGO, Luxmama Club & ParentPrep asbl offering a variety of social and educational events in Luxembourg designed so parents can make the most of becoming and being a new parent in the modern world today.