Living With Food Allergies

Keeping Students with Food Allergies Safe at School

Kids With Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, has many free resources for parents, schools, teachers and staff to use to prepare for the upcoming school year and keep students with food allergies safe.

New! Must-Have Planning Guide for Food Allergies

A step-by-step guide to prepare for a safe school year. Print and share a copy today!

Food Allergy Tips for Schools
Tips and Articles
School Guides and Handouts
Free Downloads and Other Resources

Webinar Videos
Videos and Webinar Archives
School Guidelines and Laws
Guidelines, Laws and Recommendations
for School Policies and Staff Training

Tips and Articles

10 School Planning Tips When Your Child Has Food Allergies
Advance planning and a positive relationship are the keys to success in sending your child off to a new school. Find out how you can plan and what you can do to give the school to set your child up for a successful school year.

504 Plans, IHCPs, ECPs: Food Allergy School Health Care Plans
What are 504 plans, IHCPs and ECPs? What are the laws that address the needs of students with food allergy in schools?

Bullying of Children with Food Allergies - How You Can Help (Blog)
Together we need to advocate to prevent, and swiftly deal with bullying of our children. Find out ways you can be proactive in dealing with bullying.

Epinephrine Auto-Injectors: Everything You Need to Know
Learn about the four options available in the U.S., and things you should know before you get your prescription filled for school (including discounts).

Free Downloads and Other Resource Guides

10 School Planning Tips When Your Child Has Food Allergies (includes printable PDF)
Advance planning and a positive relationship are the keys to success in sending your child off to a new school. Find out how you can plan and what you can do to give the school to set your child up for a successful school year.

Potential Food Allergens in School Crafts and Activities (includes printable PDF)
Unexpected places you can encounter common food allergens, along with alternatives and precautions that can be used.

What's the Big Deal about Food Allergies? (includes printable PDF)
New handout that you can print and distribute to answer common questions about food allergies for people who do not live with food allergies. School Training Modules (Leave the KFA website) offers online staff training to assist school nurses or their designees in school-wide food allergy education. Interactive online video modules and written materials are available.

Food Allergy Management Education Toolkit for Schools (Leave the KFA website)
St. Louis Children's hospital, in collaboration with allergy experts from around the nation, created a free manual for schools to help schools create and adopt food allergy policies consistent with the CDC voluntary guidelines for managing food allergies in schools.

Videos (Webinar Archives)

Preparing for School with Food Allergies and Asthma (July 2014)
David Stukus, MD, Director of the Specialty Asthma Clinic, Nationwide Children's Hospital, and Michael Pistiner, MD, MMSc, of, answer common questions about preparing to send your child to school and how your allergist can help with back to school planning.

504 Plans and IHCPs (January 2014)
Laurel Francouer, JD, presented the different options available for school health plans for students with food allergies, reviewed federal laws and definitions, and explained students' rights. A second webinar for Section 504 Plans Q & A  was held in August 2014.

Food Allergy in School Part 1: Overview (July 2012)
Dr. Michael Pistiner provides practical tips for managing food allergies in school settings.

Food Allergy in School Part 2: Ask the Experts (August 2012)
A panel of six experts (allergists and school nurses) from around the U.S. answered questions submitted by attendees. Topics covered included school staff training, where epinephrine should be located, cafeteria concerns, partnering with your school and more.

Nutrition and Food Safety for Allergic Students (August 2013)
School nutrition expert, author and speaker Dayle Hayes, MS, RD and KFA Nutrition Advisor Debra Indorato, RDN, discuss school meal regulations for students with food allergies; current thinking about food allergies in schools; the importance of establishing relationships with school food service directors, and more.

Partnering with Your School Nurse (July 2013)
Dr. Michael Pistiner of, and Sally Schoessler of the National Association of School Nurses, provide tips on how to work with your school nurse to set up a plan to keep your food-allergic child safe at school.

Guidelines, Laws and Recommendations for Schools

bts CDC Guidelines for Schools and Early Education Centers
The CDC created guidelines for schools and early childhood education programs to help them manage the risk of food allergies and severe allergic reactions in children.

State Honor Roll from Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) (Leave the KFA website)
This is an annual report by AAFA to help identify states with the most comprehensive public policies supporting people with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis and related allergic diseases in grade schools. Find out how your state ranks.

Stocking Epinephrine in Schools (Video from May 2013)
Find out why it is important that schools keep an undesignated supply of epinephrine to treat allergic emergencies that occur on school campus.

Sample Section 504 Plans
A Section 504 Plan provides guidelines for changes in the classroom and other locations to provide a safe education.  See four examples of existing Section 504 plans for students with food allergies.

504 Plans and IHCPs (January 2014)
Laurel Francoeur, JD, presented the different options available for school health plans for students with food allergies, reviewed federal laws and definitions, and explained students' rights. A second webinar for Section 504 Plans Q & A  was held in August 2014.

Kathy P's Wacky Cake

Recipes & Diet

Safe Eats ™ Recipes (Allergy-Friendly, Search Free of Your Allergens)

Kathy P's Wacky Cake

Rate Kathy P's Wacky Cake

4 starsAvg. rating: 4 from 87 votes.

 Recipe Information  
Category: Cakes
Recipe Created By: Kathy Przywara

Kathy P's Wacky Cake


1 1/2 cup flour (see below for gluten-free options)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar
5 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.

Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl and stir to combine.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until you get a smooth batter. Do not beat.

Pour into greased and floured pan (8" square or 9" round) or 12 cupcakes. Bake in oven until tests done - about 35 minutes for cake, about 20 minutes for cupcakes.

Wacky Cake is a classic recipe from the Depression era because of the rationing of butter and eggs. The original recipe I saw mixed it right in the pan. You mix the dry ingredients, make 3 holes and pour the wet ingredients in. You can not screw this up. I even accidentally left out the oil one time and they were still OK - a bit dense, but OK. I've made it in several versions and even gluten-free.

The vinegar cannot be omitted, unless another acid ingredient (see below for orange or lemon alternative flavors) is substituted, since the acid is crucial to making this rise.

Vanilla: Omit cocoa. Double amount of vanilla.

Spice: Omit cocoa. Add 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice.

Orange: Omit cocoa and vinegar. Substitute orange juice for the water

Lemon: Omit cocoa. Substitute lemon juice for vinegar. Some lemon extract can be added.

Gluten Free: Substitute 1 3/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour Mix for wheat flour. Add 1 tsp xanthan gum. Works well with Kathy P's All Purpose Rice Flour Mix.

Others have used the following rice free Sorghum Flour Mix for Wacky Cake:

1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato or cornstarch
1/4 cup tapioca starch

If you prefer using bean flours, you can also use:

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup bean flour (garbanzo)
1/2 cup potato or cornstarch
1/4 cup tapioca starch

From Lynn in Denver at 5280ft ... my wacky cake cupcakes were delicious but a bit flat and even sunken, so I dug out my cookbooks to read up on baking at high altitude, and based on that info made the following adjustments to the recipe:

1) reduced the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon
2) reduced the sugar by a couple tablespoons
3) increased the baking temperature to 375 degrees
4) reduced the baking time a couple minutes (cupcakes I do about 18 min)

Gluten: Gluten is a protein found in specific grains (wheat, spelt, kamut, barley, rye). Other grains are naturally gluten-free but may have cross-contact with gluten-containing grains. Look for certified gluten-free products if you need to avoid gluten. Find out more about wheat and gluten substitutions.

 This recipe is free of:
 Milk  Peanut  Egg  Soy  Tree nut
 Gluten  Wheat  Fish  Shellfish  Sesame

 Keep in Mind  
  1. Always read labels! Product ingredients can change without notice. Do not assume a recipe or product is safe for you. Contact manufacturers to confirm safety for your allergy needs.
  2. A check in a box on a recipe means you can make a recipe "free of" that allergen. You may need to use a substitution or alternative product to make that recipe safe for the allergies you are managing.
  3. If you need assistance with a recipe or ingredient substitution, post on our Food & Cooking support forums. You will receive personal help to alter a recipe to make it allergy-free for your child’s needs.
  4. You are welcome to link to our recipes. If you would like to publish our recipes elsewhere in print or online, please contact us for permission.

Comments (30) -

Bless you, Kathy! You have given me cake! We found out a month ago that my one year old daughter is allergic to the Top 8 allergens, among other things. I'm still nursing her so we both went on an allergen free diet, and I have to admit, I was really missing cake. I tried and failed making vanilla cupcakes from another recipe. Then I found this one (the chocolate cake) and made it with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Flour (using your advice to add an extra 1/4 cup), and the cake came out great! I baked it in a square 8x8 pan. For icing I poured on some Enjoy Life chocolate chips after the cake came out of the oven. When they were melted I spread around the chocolate with a knife - perfect icing, both warm and later at room temp. Thank you so much for giving me cake again. My outlook on life has improved greatly!

Kathy P - KFA Admin 7/23/2015 4:54:39 PM

Yay for cake!  I'm glad the recipe works well for you.  As a nursing momma on a restricted diet, it's the little treats that can be so important!  

Be sure to check out our on-line community forums as well to connect w/ other parents going through the same day to day struggles as you are -

Just wanted to make a side not to those with severe allergies that xanthum gum can be derived from common allergies like wheat, soy, corn, and dairy

I am excited to try this recipe with almond flour arrowroot starch!

My grandmother used to make this cake when I was younger,  and I today make this for my kids as me and one of my sons have a lot of food allergies this is the go to cake and it's vegan friendly which is great.

I have another recipe for wacky cake that is quite similar, but I am trying to make something gluten free and dairy free for a girl scout friend who cannot eat either substance..... I see a comment from a few weeks back, asking about using almond flour in this recipe.  Does that work?  I have used almond flour before for paleo recipes, and I like it.  Do I need the xanthan gum in that case?  What does xanthan gum do for the mixture?  Also, do you have any particular suggestions for icing that would not include dairy products?  Thanks for any help you've got to offer.  This is all new to me!

Hi I'm a baker and have been struggling for some time to find a sponge recipe that will work without eggs. Everything I tried had been a disaster!
Until now.... I tried your recipe as cupcakes. They looked a bit pale, but they rose well and were light and fluffy like cake and most importantly they taste like cake!
I'm so pleased to be able to offer cake to people with allergies it's so brilliant to be able to say "yes I can make cake for you" ☺️ Xx

Kathy P - KFA Admin 10/5/2015 9:24:03 AM

Hi Meili - I have not tried almond flour in this recipe. There are several gluten free options in the substitutions section that people have tried.  We have a several blogs with great cakes and frostings highlighted.  You'll be able to find a dairy free frosting idea in there.

Kathy P - KFA Admin 10/5/2015 9:26:16 AM

Hi Gemma - that's exciting that you've found a recipe that works for you!  This is a great naturally egg free cake.

How many cupcakes would this make?

ooops, I just saw that it makes 12 cupcakes Smile

Has anyone tried this with coconut flour? If so, how much coconut flour do I use?

Thank you for this!  My soon to be 1 year old has severe milk protein and dairy allergy but I don't want him to miss out on the fun of tearing into a cake for his 1st birthday.  Will definitely be making this for him.  

Instead of any gums for gluten free baking, as the same amount of ground flax seed, ground psyllium husk, or ground chia seed as a replacement.  I reserve a coffee grinder just for that purposes, bought just for a couple of bucks at Salvation Army.  These can be found at most grocery stores. Just grind as needed, and stir into flour with dry ingredients, then mix as per recipe.

Also, if you are out of baking soda, 2 - 4 tsp of baking powder omit the vinegar.

Kathy P - KFA Admin 12/17/2015 5:03:04 PM

Sarah - glad your little one will have cake!

Rosa - great tips! Thanks for sharing!

My son can't  eat maida & eggs.So can I make this cake with  wheat flour? ?

Kathy P - KFA Admin 1/19/2016 11:08:36 AM

Sangeeta - the original is written for wheat flour. Did you mean whole wheat flour? I'm not sure it's been tried w/ whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour.

You mention that your son is allergic to maida - isn't that a type of wheat flour? Do you need to avoid all wheat?

My son is turning 1 soon and he's allergic to dairy, eggs, and chocolate. I'm excited to be able to make him a little cake that he can actually have!

Kathy P - KFA Admin 1/28/2016 7:51:43 PM

Happy birthday to your little guy! Hope he enjoys his cake. Let us know how it comes out and post a pic to our Sweets & Treats photo album -

just made the cake! it is really yummy for a wheat dairy egg free cake! but i did some modifications depending on what i had in the kitchen: i used oat flour, baking powder instead of baking soda, no vanilla. must try

I made them this evening as a triall for my sons bday in may. the cupcakes came out a bit thicker than normal cupcakes, like dense, but also very moist. i used 1-1 ratio for the oil. i substituted applesauce for the oil. is that the reason they did or is there something else that i can do?! thanks

Kathy P - KFA Admin 3/28/2016 12:09:00 PM

It may be from the applesauce. They are a bit more dense than most box cakes if that is what you are used to. Is there a reason you swapped out the oil? Are you using wheat flour or non-wheat flours?

I would just like to say thank you for sharing this recipe. I am a baker from England. I was asked to make an egg free,dairy free, nut free and soya free cake. I tried and tested 3 recipes and yours was by far the best. I quadrupled the ingredients to fill a 10 inch circle cake tin which is 2 1/2 inches deep. The cake turned out fantastic. I also made marshmallow fondant and covered the cake and then went on to design Toothless from "How to Train a Dragon". I am confident my customer is going to love the cake love the cake. I will be posting a picture on my Facebook page as soon as I've delivered it on Sunday. I will be sure to give you a shout out. Thanks again. Kind Regards Rebekah Smile xx

Kathy P - KFA Admin 4/1/2016 1:36:59 PM

Oh, that awesome! Can't wait to see the finished cake - be sure to tag Kids With Food Allergies when you post it! Or share it to our Facebook page.

I've posted a picture of the Toothless Cake  on your Facebook page. Thanks again Smile xx

Hi Kathy,

I will be baking this on a Thursday to serve on Saturday. How would you recommend I store it?

Thank you

Kathy P - KFA Admin 4/7/2016 11:19:25 AM

Hi Nathalie - You could freeze them (after frosting) if you have room in your freezer. Just put them on a tray and pop in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, you can put them in a sealed hard-sided container. To defrost, just leave the container (closed) on the counter for an hour or so.

If you can't freeze them, then keep them, covered, in a cool dry place.

Helen Wright 4/23/2016 6:19:43 AM

I would like to try this recipe for my daughter, however I'm not quite sure which type of vinegar to use. Could you enlighten me, please ? We live in the UK.

Kathy P - KFA Admin 4/23/2016 10:45:14 PM

You can use any kind of vinegar. It doesn't really affect the flavor. It's there as a acid to react with the baking soda as the leavening. Apple cider or distilled vinegar work just fine. So does red wine vinegar or rice vinegar.

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