Lactose-free… Maybe for me?

I very much love dairy.  It can be milk, ice cream, yogurt, what have you.  I eat it, cook with it, dream about it.  So what happens when someone very special to me is lactose intolerant and has to take a “lactaid” pill with everything he eats? Nothing really – I just feel bad sometimes.

Recently, this person and I got into the topic of wedding cakes and how he wants one that is lactose-free.  Instantly, my mind (and my mouth) said “GROSS, absolutely not!”  He insists, naturally, knowing all of the right buttons to push.  But I put my foot down on this one.  However, as a birthday surprise (he turned 23 yesterday), I decided to surprise him with a lactose-free birthday cake.  Well, wouldn’t you know.. I ended up surprising myself.

I found a neat little website called dairyfreecooking.com which, of course, has recipes dedicated to lactose-free and vegan cooking because a lot of the time, the two go hand-in-hand.  It didn’t take me long to find dozens of recipes for lactose-free cakes and icing.  I selected a simple white cake and buttercream frosting, convinced that I would be gagging every step of the way.

The cake recipe was pretty straightforward – flour, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract beaten together to form a thick batter.  Then, egg whites and cream of tartar are beaten into submission until those famous glossy stiff peaks form.  The mountains of foam are then gently folded into the other batter, divided among two 9-inch cake pans and baked until golden.  I let them cool on a baking rack overnight.

Yesterday morning, I made what I was dreading more – the buttercream.  I ventured to Whole Foods to find almost all of the ingredients since almost no regular grocery store sells soy margarine and yogurt.  I don’t blame them.  Alone, each product tasted like chalk, and don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a good glass of soy milk every now and then – but this stuff was just plain awful.  Nevertheless, I combined the margarine, yogurt with a touch of soy milk and a TON of powdered sugar and used an electric mixer to cream them until fluffy.  Once fluffed, I decided to be brave and try some.  Well, can I tell you that I don’t know what suddenly converted my taste buds, but I could have stood over that bowl and eaten every ounce of that frosting with a spoon and nothing else.  I refrained, as the amount of sugar alone in there could have killed me, but it was tempting.  And I was somehow proven wrong.

Overall, he loved the cake and the icing and beamed when I told him that he didn’t have to take a special pill to eat the creamiest frosting on the planet.  All-in-all, a complete success.  Except for one thing – now that he knows that I liked the lactose-free cake, I am never going to hear the end of this wedding cake debate.

Oh well.. my stubborn fault.

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