Our mission is simple: to provide the best gluten free products and service to our customers at the lowest prices possible. We take great pride in our company, our commitment to customer service and in the products we sell.
Sweet Cake Bake Shop is more than a bakery. In 2002, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I became familiar with the disease after seeing an article in Good Housekeeping Magazine. As I read, I realized that I had every symptom the woman in the article was describing! I went down the list and checked off every one. I was shocked! This mystery illness that was literally sucking the life right out of me actually had a NAME! It was REAL! I took the article and went straight to my doctor and asked him to test me. He had never heard of Celiac Disease, and when the results came back "positive", he said "well, I don't know how to interpret these results, but I think you're onto something. You might want to follow up with a GI." The follow up endoscopy confirmed the initial blood tests. I was a Celiac! This diagnosis came with mixed emotions. On the one hand it was a welcome relief to finally have an answer for the weight loss, anemia, fatigue, and overall ill health I had been experiencing. On the other, I had no idea where to start or what to eat. I was paralyzed with a tremendous fear of food. My doctor sent me away with "don't eat wheat, and go to the internet to get information." There was no dietician, no handbook, nothing! I was hungry. My body, starving and wasting away. All I could think was, "I'd kill for a piece of chocolate cake."
For me, Celiac Disease was just the beginning of other illnesses to soon follow. Within the first three years of my initial diagnosis, I found out that I also had Crohn's Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. It took me years to get well. I endured multiple rounds of steroids, immuno suppressive drugs and blood transfusions every 2-3 months. Time passed, and after 2 years on a strict dairy free and gluten free diet, I could feel that my body was starting to heal. I was slowly transforming back into the person I had been before I got so sick. The person I was supposed to be. The wife and mother I intended to be, but couldn't. I had missed out on so much with my young children. My low energy and the fear of being stuck somewhere without access to a bathroom made it difficult for me to participate in activities or travel (TMI, but reality!) I felt very alone, isolated, and singled out. I had never heard of this disease and had no family history of it that I was aware of. I was eating alone at every family get together and social function. I couldn't enjoy the same things that I once had. Educating my friends and family was tiresome, because of the amount of work AND cost involved in Gluten Free cooking, never mind the taste. Each invite was followed with, "You're going to have to bring your own food. Your too hard to cook for." I was alone in my journey, and depressed. And yep! I thought about that dang piece of chocolate cake every day.
So after a year or so of mourning the loss of my favorite foods, I got up the courage to really start baking and cooking again. The depression had lifted. I finally felt better than I had in years. I started to try every GF Food I could get my hands on. Frozen GF meals, packaged mixes, cookies and snacks, recipes and cookbooks of every kind using every flour imaginable, and yet my hunger lingered! I was never fully satisfied, but rather pacified by the Gluten Free foods I had access to. Frozen, dry, crumbly, bland, grainy, starchy--sawdust!! Those were terms I had become accustomed to when eating Gluten Free. It was horrible! But hey, it didn't make me sick! My husband and kids wouldn't touch a Gluten Free treat for nothing! My kids called it "moms' yucka-puck food." Forget the BLAM!! My food was always followed with a BLECH!! and a large glass of water to get it down.
For all of my life I have enjoyed the process of cooking and baking. My cookbooks are my treasures. I read them like I read literature...the same ones over and over. I love pouring over my recipes and creating unique and beautiful dishes for my family and friends. But enjoying this process had become difficult since my diagnosis. Learning to cook Gluten Free was not easy. So much to remember, so many brands to check. The whole process was tedious, time consuming and expensive! But after a while, I had my "go to" list for most of our meals. Things I knew I could prepare, that tasted exceptional, and my friends and family could eat them right along with me! Baking however, was an entirely different challenge! Nothing was the same. The time it took to bake, how much moisture to add, when to pull the pan out of the oven, it was all so different. And SO temperamental! Accounting for changes in temperature, altitude and humidity were beyond difficult. Step by step, year by year, the more I tried the more I learned. And the more I learned, the more creative I became. I began feeling so liberated by all the new options I had rather than focusing on what I couldn't have. I finally felt like I was in control, and didn't feel so boxed in by my dietary restrictions. Yet again, the feeling of hunger was still there when it came to baked goods. I couldn't remember the last time I had tried a GF treat that tasted like the "real" thing. Still not satisfied, but rather pacified. I dreamt of chocolate cake.
My baking endeavors hit a stagnant period, and I felt that I needed to try something new to get me excited and baking again. Most of the flours I had been baking with had a garbanzo/fava bean base. Using these in baked goods is not ideal (in my opinion), because they have such a strong flavor and noticeable after taste. My Non-Gluten Free friends could always taste a difference. And my children could never lick the bowl! (Silly I know, but something I missed) I wanted something better. I wanted the chocolate cake in my dreams! Moist, light, flavorful...sinful! The answer, I decided, was to try and create my own flour blend using things like coconut flour and almond meal, both of which had a pleasant flavor and left no noticeable after taste. The results were semi-pleasing, but these flours were costly, and it was difficult to convert regular recipes to Gluten Free when using them alone.
The days of spring turned into summer. Trial after trial, hundreds of variations later, I finally got the magical combination that became my Master Mix and my Master Lite Mix. I was thrilled with the results! They proved to be very versatile flours that had surprisingly predictable results. I use my Master Mix for things like cookies, breads, and brownies, and Master Lite for cakes. I could take nearly ANY recipe, like my grandmother's Carrot Cake or my mom's Snickerdoodles, and covert them over to Gluten Free! It had a good "mouth feel" (it didn't feel like a mouthful of starch), there was substance to the cake when you took a bite, it didn't just dissolve and leaving behind a grainy residue in your mouth to swallow. There was no "beanie" after taste and my kids could lick the mixing bowl after I baked! One thing led to another, and I started baking for friends, and friends of friends. Mixing flour and baking in my home became tricky. So after much thought, anticipation and encouragement from my husband, I decided to open my own shop. And thus, Sweet Cake Bake Shop was born! A dedicated Gluten Free Bakery. At Sweet Cake we focus on creating classic, simple, nostalgic baked goods. To us, how our products taste if our primary concern. Anything can be made Gluten Free and can be made up to look pretty, but if it doesn't taste good, then it is of no significance. We use high quality ingredients and bake our products fresh, from scratch daily. We process our flour every week to use in the shop and we sell it to our customers (both in the store and online) who enjoy creating their own masterpieces at home. We also have handmade bread available every Tuesday, mini-bundt cakes every Saturday, pies and stuffing for the holidays, and whoopie pies on Friday! We have a big menu that just keeps getting bigger and better! We are also expanding in the coming year to include dairy free/egg free/sugar free options.
I LOVE what I do. I love the women I work with. I love that together, we have created a place where people can come in and be told yes. A place where little children can press their faces up against the glass, and see rows and rows of freshly baked cupcakes, cookies and brownies so big they have to hold them with 2 hands! A place where you can have that little indulgent treat that makes you grin from ear to ear with guilty satisfaction. A place where you can feel special! I am so grateful for the health struggles I have endured. I have gained a level of empathy for other human beings that I never had before. I am grateful for the gift this shop is in my life and in the lives of my customers. I no longer feel alone and isolated. There are others who have had similar experiences to mine! I still remember the woman who came in when we first opened. She was patiently waiting in line when we gave her a sample of a chocolate chip cookie. It was still warm, fresh out of the oven. She excused herself from the line, and quietly sat down and cried behind her dark sunglasses. When she returned to order and pay, she left with a bag full of warm cookies and a quiet and heartfelt "thank you."
Not many people can say they love what they do. Not many can say that what they do brings them happiness (you know, to the depths of your soul kind of happiness). Not many can say that what they do makes them proud. But I can. This is what Sweet Cake has given me and I hope to others as well. I am so proud of my wonderful staff, my supportive husband and family, and my lovely bakers who "get it. " They see every day the joy our little bakery brings to people. It isn't an easy process. There are long hours involved, many failed attempts to get it right, and endless amounts of trial and error. Many of my employees and customers don't need to eat Gluten Free, but they do because they like the way our products taste, and feel better eating something that is handmade, preservative free, and made with fresh ingredients. Nothing fancy or elaborate, just simple, great tasting Gluten Free treats. Homemade taste, high quality ingredients, handmade with love---Because everyone deserves something sweet!
We hope you enjoy our products!
Sweet Cake Bake Shop
P.S. That Chocolate Cake I kept dreaming about? It's now one of our best sellers :)