Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Is it easy to Add Gluten-Free items to my menu or not a good idea
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is it easy to Add Gluten-Free items to my menu or not a good idea

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

I've been getting a lot of inquiries lately asking if I  make gluten-free cakes/cupcakes...Normally I say no but how hard would it be to offer this??

 

Do I have to have separate stainless steel mixing bowls for the GF mixes?or can I just wash out my regular ones...

 

What can I expect in terms of taste/texture of gluten-free? I think I may just use the new BC mixes.

 

What would I charge for cupcakes each?..The mixes here are almost double the cost of a regular cake mix at $5.49 so my prices would be quite a bit more than regular cupcakes at $3.50 each...

 

Also does shortening and icing sugar have gluten in them?

 

 

 

Thanks in advance!!;-D

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

Reply

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

Reply
post #2 of 50

I have had a number of people ask me about gluten free baking for them so I looked into what all this would involve, after researching I decided not to pursue this avenue because of the potential harm that gluten free customers could experience with cross contamination from wheat products in my kitchen. In my opinion I would need to have a dedicated kitchen for producing gluten free products as even one grain of gluten can wreak havoc on anyone with a gluten allergy/intolerance.  Having a couple of friends that have Celiac's and seeing the pain they suffer from the affects of gluten on their system I don't want to take the chance that it could happen to my customers.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has rules on what can be labelled gluten free, how many parts per million of gluten present in products is allowable to be labelled gluten free etc..

 

If you are going to make your own mixes then you will need to research and experiment with the different gluten free flours and binding agents that are available.  It can be difficult to reproduce the texture of wheat based products in gluten free, and the product will be different, as gluten is what gives elasticity to baked products and allows them to rise when carbon dioxide is produced by the yeast during baking.

 

If you are going with a mix there are some good ones out there it's just finding one that you are happy with, perhaps you can ask your supplier for samples to try first.

 

I worked for a bakery a couple of years ago that decided they wanted to "jump on the gluten free wagon" and decided to go with a mix instead of investing R&D into their own bread product, it was well received it was purchased through Lentia, I don't know what other gluten free mixes they carry.  This bakery did run into a problem with a customer over the gluten free labelling, the bakery kitchen was/is deffinately not gluten free, I mean they were turning out the gluten free mix onto a work table that had the previous flour brushed off, not washed and sanitized, and because of flours propensity to be airborn it was everywhere in the bakery.  There was a small print disclaimer on the product label indicating that it could be cross contaminated, but they still had it labelled gluten free, long story short customer bought "gluten free" bread for son who has celiac's, son became sick from eating bread, customer sent letter to the CFIA, bakery had to provide info on product etc., was directed that they can no longer label product as gluten free, (i think they call it gluten friendly).

 

I guess that's it , sorry i seemed to have gone on a bit of a ramble, good luch with whatever you decide :)

post #3 of 50

I think it's a fine line.  I think either do all gluten free or not just because of the possibility of cross-contamination.  I think gluten free is trendy for a lot of people but for some it's a legitimate issue and I wouldn't want to risk it. 

 

One thing is true, if you specialized in allergy free cakes, you would probably have an advantage over your competitors. 

post #4 of 50

Icing sugars have starch added to them to keep them fluffy and from clumping, check the ingredients list, if it has wheat starch added to it then it is not gluten free, if it has cornstarch added to it then it is gluten free.

 

Shortenings aren't made with gluten products but still may not be labelled as gluten free due to where they are manufactured and may have some cross contamination, for example if a shortening manufacturer also produces one of the baking sprays that has flour in, it is best to check with the company if you have concerns.

post #5 of 50

It's definitely not something you want to just try for the heck of it. Not only does it take some trial and error to get a good GF cake, as stated above cross contamination can be big issue. We do GF and have gotten really good feedback on our GF cake, but we always tell people that we also make items with gluten, so we can't guarantee 100% that there is zero cross contamination, although we do wash EVERYTHING before we make it and do it first thing in the morning before baking anything else to cut down on it. When we tell people that, they are then able to decide whether it will be ok for them based on the severity of their gluten allergy. We had one bride that we did gluten free cake and cupcakes for, and she was very allergic, to the point of anaphylaxis (I was stressed the entire time we were baking for that one!) but everything was great and she went on and on about how good it was. Most of our customers are not nearly that sensitive. You definitely want to do lots of research and think about whether it's worth it for your business.

 

Most shortening and icing sugar do not have gluten, the only way they would is if they were made on equipment that had been exposed to it. That does bring up a good point though, you can't just say "It doesn't have wheat flour, so it's GF." You have to check each and every ingredient you are using and make SURE it doesn't have gluten. Gluten can hide in unexpected places.

 

To answer your question in one word: Is it easy to add Gluten Free to your menu? NO. :) Good luck! 

Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Reply
Before you ask- I'm licensed, inspected, insured, and all that jazz.
Reply
post #6 of 50

what about 'gluten light'?

 

where you do not guarantee absolute freedom from gluten but it's made without any gluten added in

 

where clients can make their own determination of their own level of gluten freeness that they require??

 

can of worms??

 

the gluten thing does not seem as life & death as the peanut allergic epi-pen thing but i am no expert--

 

i say that because i think all of us are improved by gluten free, gluten light--

 

where peanut allergies can cause death bing bang boom done 

 

just a thought and a question about it...

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615 View Post
... We had one bride that we did gluten free cake and cupcakes for, and she was very allergic, to the point of anaphylaxis (I was stressed the entire time we were baking for that one!) but everything was great and she went on and on about how good it was...

 

glad that turned out well

 

see i would have had a very difficult time* doing a cake like this--if she just bought it and didn't tell me she might die--just could roll with 'gluten light' ok cool--

 

but if someone might die from my product --no not at all i would respectfully, very firmly decline the order no ifs ands or buts--

 

if i was able to handle the risk of my client's life & death in my workload i'd be a doctor not a freaking baker--just my $ .02

 

*difficult time defined is aneurism, aortic dissection, cataclysmic blow out of some kind---

 

i shudder to think about it

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 

Some good ideas to ponder Ladies...I may have to give it more careful consideration......Thanks

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

Reply

Busy Bakin Kakes For Kids!!!

Mom to Mitchell 13 yrs and Delaney 11 yrs

Reply
post #9 of 50
We offered a mix of gluten-free and non-gluten-free items from our custom order allergy-friendly bakery that operated out of a commercial kitchen which was not gluten-free. Depending on the mix of allergies in the week's orders we had either one or two days a week that were dedicated to the gluten-free orders.

Gluten-free baking had to wait 24 hours after non-gluten-free baking to allow airborne flour to settle. Before taking out gluten-free items the kitchen and all relevant supplies were carefully cleaned and sanitized. We specifically limited order volume to 10-15 orders per week (depending on order size and complexity) and never had an issue with cross-contamination.

We spent a lot of time on R&D perfecting our gluten-free recipes to take them from "good" to "great". So it's not easy, but it can be a great competitive advantage if you do it right.

I would also not recommend offering gluten-free (or any allergy-friendly items) if you don't have a process in place to avoid cross-contamination (and are comfortable with the processes of your ingredient suppliers) and can explain that process to your customers. For most people with Celiac or food allergies there's really no such thing as "gluten light".
post #10 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

... For most people with Celiac or food allergies there's really no such thing as "gluten light".

 

exactly--so they would not be clients--but weight watching peeps would be--and there's a lot of those and sugar free for diabetics --vast markets for that

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #11 of 50

When someone asks if I do Gluten free I explain that my kitchen is full of  flour and therefore there is dust containing gluten everywhere so I can't do cakes for people who have celiac disease or are medically gluten intolerant.  However, if they want a cake for someone who has made a life-style decision to be gluten free, which is very "in" around here,  I can do that as I have several items that do not involve  wheat flour and/or gluten.  Then I write on the agreement/invoice something like .  "No gluten or products containing gluten will be used in the baking of this item.  However, this is not a gluten free facility. Client understands and accepts this condition."  I do the same for nuts or anything else I'm asked to leave out of a product.  If someone has celiac disease, I am not going to be the one to come to for a cake.  I see that my mini blinds always have a fine deposit of flour on them, for example, no matter how often I dust, so I know there is flour in the air.   This way I can make items for people who are not very sensitive, but have just decided for some reason or other they want to stop eating  gluten. ( Though why people who give up gluten for weight loss, for example, want cookies or cake is anyone's guess LOL.)

post #12 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

exactly--so they would not be clients--but weight watching peeps would be--and there's a lot of those and sugar free for diabetics --vast markets for that

A gluten-free diet does not help you lose weight. Without processes that avoid cross-contamination you might get some customers who are gluten-free as a "fad" but it probably won't be enough to be worth it.

Sugar-free is another story...while cross-contamination is not at much of an issue, it is very difficult to put together great tasting sugar-free recipes and still hit mainstream price points.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post


A gluten-free diet does not help you lose weight. Without processes that avoid cross-contamination you might get some customers who are gluten-free as a "fad" but it probably won't be enough to be worth it.

Sugar-free is another story...while cross-contamination is not at much of an issue, it is very difficult to put together great tasting sugar-free recipes and still hit mainstream price points.

 

i just lost over 35 pounds, my friend, i know exactly how to loose weight and gluten light is indeed part of my process

 

gluten products put on weight too

 

just don't, jason, ok?

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #14 of 50

jason, let me also say i completely defer to you and your wife as being expert in your field--far and away beyond me in this arena

 

and i clearly drew my line at gluten light

 

you are the gluten free and allergy friendly ones--not me--not ever

 

i greatly admire your work and your nerves

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply

if you had your own tv show what would be your favorite commercial/sponsor

i think i'd like ghirardelli and hershey for starters...

Reply
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

i just lost over 35 pounds, my friend, i know exactly how to loose weight and gluten light is indeed part of my process

If it's part of your process that's fine, but cutting out gluten from your diet without changing the amount of calories you consume, the amount of processed food you consume, or your fat/protein/carb mix won't do much.

We're also talking about cake here...if you don't have Celiac a cake made with wheat flour will pack on just as many pounds as a cake made with rice/tapioca/sorghum flour.

We would occasionally get customers who wanted to order a gluten-free or vegan item so the cake would be "healthier", I made sure to let them know the specific differences between their request and a traditional cake and that the substitutions don't make the cake any healthier for you.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cake Decorating Business
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Cake Decorating Business › Is it easy to Add Gluten-Free items to my menu or not a good idea