Gluten-free, egg-free vegan baked goods have come a long way from the days of tasteless cardboard grit, and BabyCakes Bakery is catering to a growing mass of consumers with dietary restrictions, diabetics, children with food allergies and people who simply have reservations about the default ingredients that go into the majority of sweet treats today.
After taking New York City by storm and winning fans like Madonna and Martha Stewart, BabyCakes has opened a new location in downtown Los Angeles earlier this year – but don’t associate this allergen-free bakery with “restriction.” If anything, BabyCakes is a godsend of sweet freedom to those who are not allowed the unhealthy ingredients of sugar, refined flour and butter cream that dominate most bakeries and most people’s ideas of dessert.
At BabyCakes’ cute new shop on 130 E. 6th Street in downtown Los Angeles, you can try all-natural and all-organic cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cakes and doughnuts that are free from many common allergens including wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, casein (milk protein) and gluten. In this kosher and parve bakery, chemical sweeteners are banned in favor of unrefined, evaporated cane juice and agave nectar. Although agave nectar is considered a high fructose syrup and therefore not “healthy” (few sweeteners are), it is still a natural sweetener that is much lower on the glycemic index (below 40) than refined sugar (at 100), and therefore slightly better for you as it does not spike the blood sugar levels so intensely. BabyCakes occasionally uses unprocessed and unrefined sugar in its treats, but these are clearly labeled.
For parents of children who suffer with food allergies, BabyCakes offers a chance to take back a bit of carefree childhood, and to see the look on a normally deprived kid’s face as she picks out gluten-free pink cupcake tops, sugar-free macaroons or brownies with no eggs.
BabyCakes uses rice or garbanzo/fava bean flours for its gluten-free products and spelt flour for its non-gluten-free treats, preferring the ancient grain of spelt due to its high content of protein and complex carbohydrates. Canola oil and cold pressed virgin coconut oil give the baked goods their moist texture, although using the coconut oil means that the bakery cannot declare itself “nut-free.” This is a small price to pay to use an oil that has been associated with anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoal properties, is recommended for toddlers and stimulates healthy thyroid function and an increased metabolism.
But don’t think that it’s all seriousness at BabyCakes; this bakery is not defined by what it doesn’t serve, but by the open, fresh and fun attitude at their shops and in their treats. The new Los Angeles location boasts quirky décor like vintage family portraits, dog paintings and an affinity for levity that is easily recognizable not only in the delectable baked goods but in the shop’s attitude (and the staff’s pink striped uniforms) as well.
All of BabyCakes’ nutritional information can be found on their website; but as with pudding, the proof of their sweet treats is in the eating. Madonna’s favorite confection from BabyCakes is the gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, vegan, agave-sweetened vanilla cupcake with lemon frosting – what will yours be? With choices like gluten-free mocha chip doughnuts, key-lime cupcakes and princess brownie cups, BabyCakes is revolutionizing the idea of healthy treats, one delicious mouthful at a time.