Additive free birthday treats

The past week I have been busy with birthday preparations for my daughter’s 9th birthday. After a little bit of label reading on packets of cake toppings, I have succeeded in having a little bit of colour in the party food and cake that is all natural.

babushka doll cake

Babushka doll chocolate mud cake with natural colours used for icing and toppings

It always amazes me just how much artificial rubbish is in the products in the cake aisle of the supermarket. I feel so disappointed in the food industry in Australia. The amount of artificial additives allowed in our food that are known to cause adverse reactions in people is truly shocking. Ever since my son was 5 we have been careful to eat foods which are as pure and natural as possible, which mostly means homemade. We had a few issues at school, and we were struggling with his behaviour. Another parent told us about the effects food additives had on children’s behaviour, and that many foods available in the supermarkets contained heaps of artificial preservatives and colours. She lent us a DVD about the failsafe diet. It made so much sense in relation to my son, we cut out food colours and other artificial additives in our diet, and saw a complete transformation in his behaviour. Unfortunately that meant that birthdays could be a little bit boring, and hard work. Fortunately, over the last 6 years I have noticed there is an increased demand for foods without artificial additives, and now there are more exciting things available to us using natural colours. Hurray!

Treats found in the supermarket that use natural colours and flavours

Some treats and toppings that use natural colours. Even 100s and 1000s!

The Babushka doll cake is a basic chocolate mud cake that I made during the week, so all I had to do was decorate it at the weekend. I made pink butter cream icing by making a basic buttercream mix then adding the water saved from boiling some beetroot to make the pink colour. Yes, beetroot! I thought it would be disgusting (beetroot flavoured icing anyone?) but amazingly, it has no flavour and the icing just tastes like normal buttercream icing, but is a lovely dark pink. How fab is that!

beetroot water added to icing to make pink

Water from boiling beetroot added to icing to make pink!

Cakepops were made with leftover mud cake from shaping the babushka doll. I broke the cake up into breadcrumbs, then mixed it with a little bit of buttercream icing, then rolled into balls. I placed paddle pops sticks into each ball then popped them in the freezer for about 20 mins or so while I melted some white and milk chocolate in tall glasses (I use whitakkers and Nestle chocolate). I took the cake pops out the freezer then dipped each one straight into the melted chocolate to cover completely, then into a plate of natural coloured 100s and 1000s. The cold cake helps the chocolate set quickly onto the cake pop. I then placed them into the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.

cake pops

milk and white chocolate topped cake pops with natural coloured 100s and 1000s

I also found some aeroplane jelly mix with natural colours and flavours, so made a few of those up, topped with fresh cream, then sprinkled with 100s and 1000s. Needless to say it all went down well, and was a nice change from the boring chocolate cakes I used to do (although I did get pretty creative with chocolate and buttercream icing).



If you are interested in reading more about additives found in foods and which ones are known to cause adverse reactions, the food intolerance network website has a comprehensive list. Heres to many more colourful homemade birthdays! in my opinion, homemade is always best, its fresh, and better tasting, and safe – after all you know what went into your products. Can’t get safer then that.

T x


Scones: additive-free afternoon snack

I always think of scones as a summertime treat, picturing picnics, garden parties and high teas, but I reckon a good old plate of rustic scones with jam and cream ready to pile on top is a crowd pleaser anytime. I think they make a nice afternoon tea treat after school too. No additives, low sugar, filling, and quick to make from basic pantry/fridge ingredients. My kids go mad for them.

fresh baked scones

The trick to making good fluffy scones is minimal handling of the dough, so don’t overwork it. Just bring the dough together, roll it nice and thick, dust your dough cutter with flour, cut and place on a tray double lined with baking paper, and bake in a fairly hot oven for a short time. Easy.

scones with jam and cream


Here’s the recipe I use, handed down from my mum. I’ve been making these since I was little and I had to pull up a chair to reach the bench top.

Plain scones recipe

1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs
1/3 cup cream (or milk)


Preheat oven to 220 degrees (200 fan oven)
Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder into bowl
Rub in butter
Beat eggs in separate bowl, then reserve 2 tbsp of egg
Beat cream into remaining egg.
Add egg mix to flour mixture and fold to make a dough. Do not over mix.
Roll out onto floured board, nice and thick (about 4-5cm)
Cut with floured cutter, brush with reserved egg mixture, place on double lined baking tray, then place into oven.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until becoming golden on top.

Lift scones off tray with the baking paper and wrap in a tea towel. The steam is supposed to be good for keeping moisture in.

Once cooled, serve with your favourite jam and a dollop of whipped cream.

You can add dried fruit or dates to this recipe for variation.