For Russell’s 2nd birthday, he wanted a Moon Party! I always love how Russ wants to say goodnight to the moon before his bedtime story and snuggles. And since we now have a full moon upon us this New Year’s, it’s a timely post.
A moon cake seemed a tall order but it happened. It wasn’t perfect but he and I were OK with that. Who needs perfect? As a busy mom, I would rarely get anything done if I only strove for perfection. So, I happily will share this recipe and wish anyone the best of luck making a round (ish) moon. Happy New Year!
Russell Jacob Pearlstein was born December 27th, 2012 – sorry little guy for your parents’ bad timing. This year we traveled to Phoenix for Christmas to see my family, and as if a flight wasn’t enough, we embarked on a 3-hour car trek to Flagstaff to actually go to Santa’s Village. Side note: if you want an amazing place to take your kids for Christmas then get your tickets early for the NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE. It really was the best children’s Christmas event I’ve ever attended. And my Jewish husband was in AWE. He kept saying, “They did such an amazing job on the set design and casting. This is top notch.” No one would know he works in the entertainment industry.
When we returned from the trip on Russ’ birthday, I had only half a day to prepare for the party I’d scheduled for the morning of the 28th. I take full responsibility for the unrealistic allocation of time and resources to pull off such a stunt. I assembled some simple glittery stars and cutout a moon I pre-purchased at Michael’s to hang over the dining room buffet counter. I set out dishes for the food, labeled dairy and gluten-free dishes for happy special diet guests and attempted Russell’s Moon Cake. Normally I would have used my tried and true reduced sugar, gluten-free Spice Cake recipe, but I thought it would be too heavy and not cook through in the sports ball cake mold I purchased for the moon shape. I opted for a basic vanilla cake recipe from Martha Stewart – how could this go wrong? I wasn’t even attempting a sprouted wheat or gluten-free finagling of the recipe. I only substituted coconut oil for butter to make the cake dairy-free. The results at 10pm were less than spectacular. The center was liquid after the maximum 35 minutes. I quickly scooped the gooey center out and baked another 15 minutes praying the outer edges did not burn. Success – of sorts. I left the cake to cool and attempted the yummy marshmallow frosting I’d envisioned. It was too pink with the raspberry jam I’d added, so I made a second boring standard white frosting with powdered sugar that would suffice.
In the morning I assembled the cake that unfortunately had fallen; the bottom half had cracked. Note to self: don’t put the ball halves together until the day of the event. I quickly stuffed the center with fresh organic raspberries with some of the *Ricemellow Creme and coconut oil frosting. I added extra to seal the cracked area. Next, I coated the cake in a powdered sugar frosting to give it the moon color and effect. Lastly, I sprinkled more organic (corn starch-free) powdered sugar over the cake and the cake dish to hide all the imperfections, which equaled a living, breathing moon cake with a hidden raspberry core – Russ’ favorite fruit.
The results? Russ fell asleep for his nap before we could even cut the cake and sing happy birthday at his party, but when he woke, he was ecstatic. Russ was a very happy moon-obsessed two-year-old who was lucky enough to have big brother Asher help blow out his candles. Russ then ate only the raspberries and marshmallow center of his cake. I was very pleased that my healthy (mostly sugar-free) boy refused to eat the sickeningly sweet frosting exterior. The rest of our guests enjoyed the whole cake. In the end, the “unsuccessful” moon center was the highlight of Russell’s birthday cake eating.
This sweet cake may not be the typical healthy recipe you will find here, and hopefully you’ll enjoy better crafted photos (I had originally not planned to share this recipe), but it is a dairy-free, corn-free special occasion moon cake that brought a lot of cheer to my family. And since tonight is our first full moon of 2015, here’s to a full moon and a full year of love, learning, appreciation and enjoying the journey in 2015!
*Ricemellow Creme is a non-GMO, corn syrup-free, gluten-free and vegan marshmallow cream substitute. It’s not healthy, but it’s much better than regular marshmallow cream. It contains xanthum gum, an ingredient I avoid for many reasons but if eaten on occasion find I have no reaction to consuming products containing this industrial food additive. I would not ever give xanthum gum to an infant. This product at least uses GMO-free soy as its source for the xanthum gum. And on that positive endorsement – Enjoy! Ha Ha