i don’t remember a single kid in my entire elementary school that had a peanut allergy. maybe bees (epi pens look so fucking cool when you’re 7), but not peanuts- and certainly not gluten. as a matter of fact, i lived the majority of my adult life not really even knowing what gluten is, or that people even could be allergic to it. but there it is. all of the sudden, everybody and their grandma has celiac disease or is gluten intolerant… where there were once no food allergies or sensitivities, now even walmart has a gluten free department. wacky.
i hate to conjecture as to why there has been this apparent spike in food allergies and conditions (pesticides? medications? evolutionary failure?), because it will just make me want to enclose myself in a plastic bubble (and not the sexy jake gyllenhaal kind, the creepy john travolta kind). but the fact is that gluten allergy/intolerance is a new reality that many have to deal with every day, and it totally sucks.
i fucking love gluten. i can tear through a bread basket in the blink of an eye (no seriously, if you ever go out to dinner with me- DON’T BLINK if you have any interest in pre-show bread), so my heart goes out (way out) for anyone who can’t enjoy the glory that is starchy, glutenous goodness. that said, there are a growing number of products out on the market dedicated to our gluten repellent friends that are actually quite tasty. for example, i’m a big fan of the lucy’s brand cookies (specifically the sugar cookies). what i’m learning, is that gluten free baked goods can be totally kick ass, as long as they’re done well. unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
to add another layer of suck, gluten free shit is FUCKING EXPENSIVE. can you imagine having to spend $6 every time you wanted to buy hamburger buns? so basically, there’s not much you can eat, and what you can eat is ludicrously pricey. and then what about things like birthdays and holidays? maybe you can get some gluten free mix or something from the whole foods, but it’s not hardly the same as having someone make you real cake or cookies from scratch.
therein lies the subject of our blog post/love letter today. cakeface contacted me about a week ago about doing a review of their startup gluten free bakery business. now, i get contacted semi-regularly to review things on my blog, and i don’t always say yes. what appealed to me about cakeface is the fact that they’re local, they’re vegan, and that i would get to eat cupcakes. sold! i headed on over to their website and ordered half a dozen peanut butter cupcakes, 3 blueberry scones, and 3 chocolate chip scones. the goods were delivered to my office promptly the next afternoon (they deliver to a good chunk of the southern maine area).
reason #1 to love cakeface– the people who own it are some of the best people you will ever meet. jj does the baking, simon handles the business end, and they are both ridiculously nice, charming, and completely genuine. i kind of want them to be my new best friends. basically, you can rest assured that your cupcakes will not be made by assholes.
i decided to share the scones with the people in my office, and hoard the cupcakes for myself (well, and possibly the boyfriend). everybody snarfed theirs down in record time, and the only complaint by one of my coworkers was “not sweet enough”.
reason #2 to love cakeface- they make smart food. as far as i’m concerned, people who who like their food overly sweetened have stupid tongues. too much high fructose corn syrup and processed snack cakes have made them unable to appreciate any flavor above and beyond twinkie level sugar shock. it’s tragic. i thought they were the best scones that i’d ever eaten (they are so not paying me for this in cupcakes or otherwise, i just thought they were kick ass scones). moist but not soggy, not too sweet, and with just a tiny bit of salty in there to make things more interesting. similarly, the cupcakes had a nice flavor balance (mildly sweet and nutty), were the perfect moist but not oily texture, and had exactly the right amount of jj’s killer peanut butter frosting (just ask the boyfriend who shoved down 3 of them in a sitting).
cakeface simon and i actually had a funny conversation today about how too much frosting can destroy a perfect cupcake experience. too much frosting for me is a clear sign that the cake portion of a cupcake can’t stand on its own. it’s showboating. excess frosting is full of lies.
reason #3 to love cakeface- they’re unpretentious. food that tastes good doesn’t need 4 inches of buttercream and a fondant daisy to make it worth eating. my cakeface treats came neatly packed in a brown bag, simply presented, without a ganache floret in sight. oh, and they also threw in a totally adorable bumper sticker, just because.
ok, so we’ve covered their charmingness, their taste goodingness, and their lack of showboatingness… all excellent and necessary qualities in a bakery. but what’s the bottom line on all this deliciousness?
reason #4 to love cakeface- you can afford them. i’m a girl who has (and will again) paid upwards of $5 for a single cupcake, and you might expect a company like cakeface that uses pricey ingredients like hazelnut flour and vegan sugar to be in the upper ranges of the cupcake market. not so! starting at $1.50 a cupcake, $1 a scone, and $.50 a cookie (less if you order more), you’d be lucky to get some gas station hydrox for the same price.
ok, before this lovefest carries on for too long, let me just say one thing- i know hardcore product/ pimping is not my general modus operandi, but when really good people are doing something admirable and worthwhile (and delicious)… i think they deserve a little shout out. along with throwing down an order of your own (what’s on their order page is just a starting point- give them a call for everything from birthday cakes to alternative scone flavors), if you want to help support cakeface’s future development (they’re working on a second set of dedicated cookware so that they can also offer nut-free treats), you can also donate to their kickstarter account to help assure that their venture gets started with a real chance. after all, it’s always the right time to get your cake on.