SusieCakes is a popular bakery chain known for its delicious cupcakes, custom cakes, and other baked goods. However, many customers wonder if SusieCakes offers any gluten-free options for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. This article will dive into whether SusieCakes has gluten-free items, what they are, and how the bakery accommodates gluten-free diets.
SusieCakes is a Southern California-based bakery that opened its first location in 2006 in Newport Beach. The bakery was founded by Susan Sarich who named the business after her childhood nickname. SusieCakes has expanded over the years and now has over 20 locations across California.
The bakery is known for its classic American baked goods made from scratch using quality ingredients. Their menu features cupcakes, layer cakes, pies, cheesecakes, and seasonal offerings. Some of SusieCakes’ most popular items include the Celebration Cake, Salted Caramel Cupcakes, and Maple Pecan Pie.
In terms of decor, SusieCakes bakeries have a charming old-fashioned feel with vintage-inspired decor. The staff are known for providing excellent customer service. Overall, the bakery aims to provide homemade flavor using family recipes from Susan Sarich’s childhood.
Does SusieCakes Have Gluten-Free Options?
Yes, SusieCakes does offer some gluten-free options at all of their bakery locations. The gluten-free menu is limited but does provide customers who need to avoid gluten some tasty choices.
According to the SusieCakes website, their gluten-free options include:
– Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes – Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting
– Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes – Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting
– Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
– Gluten-Free Brownies
So while the selection is minimal, there are gluten-free sweets available including cupcakes, cookies, and brownies. The availability of these gluten-free baked goods makes the bakery accessible for more customers with dietary restrictions.
Ingredients & Preparation Process
SusieCakes informed me that their gluten-free menu items are prepared in a separate designated work station to avoid cross-contamination with gluten. The bakery uses thoroughly cleaned/sanitized tools and pans for the gluten-free baking process.
The gluten-free chocolate and vanilla cupcakes are made with the following ingredients:
– Cupcake base: rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum
– Chocolate cupcakes: cocoa powder
– Frosting: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract
The gluten-free chocolate chip cookies contain:
– Rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla extract, chocolate chips
And the gluten-free brownies are made with:
– Rice flour, potato starch, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, salt
So while SusieCakes uses shared equipment and a shared kitchen, they follow meticulous protocols to avoid cross-contamination for their gluten-free items.
Here is the nutrition information for SusieCakes’ gluten-free baked goods according to their website:
|Gluten-Free Menu Item
|Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcake
|1 cupcake (85g)
|Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcake
|1 cupcake (85g)
|Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie
|1 cookie (60g)
|1 brownie (60g)
As you can see, while delicious, these gluten-free treats from SusieCakes are high in calories, fat, and carbs like most indulgent baked goods. They make a tasty occasional treat for gluten-free diets but are not meant for daily consumption as part of a balanced diet.
I sampled the gluten-free chocolate cupcake and chocolate chip cookie from SusieCakes to provide a quick taste review:
The gluten-free chocolate cupcake had a dense, somewhat grainy cake texture but was still fairly moist. The rich chocolate frosting tasted delightful and was a redeeming feature. Overall, a pretty good gluten-free chocolate cupcake though the texture lacks the tender crumb of wheat-based cupcakes.
The gluten-free chocolate chip cookie had a gritty, sandy texture with a noticeable bean-like flavor from the rice flour. The chocolate chips and sweet cookie taste helped balance out the odd texture and flavor. An alright gluten-free cookie but does not compare to an authentic chocolate chip cookie.
So in summary, SusieCakes gluten-free items are good tasting relative to other gluten-free baked goods but the texture and flavor is noticeably different from traditional gluten-containing bakery items. The treats are enjoyable in their own right but do not perfectly mimic the real thing.
Special Handling Precautions
SusieCakes informed me they take the following precautions when handling gluten-free orders:
– Gluten-free items are picked up using newly sanitized gloved hands or wax paper
– Gluten-free purchases are placed in a separate bakery box from any non gluten-free items ordered
– Gluten-free orders are bagged separately from any other items purchased
– Gluten-free baked goods are stored separately behind the counter
– Bakery team members change gloves/wash hands thoroughly when transitioning between handling gluten and gluten-free items
These careful handling processes help minimize the chance of gluten cross-contamination during purchase and transport of the gluten-free menu items. Customers with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerances can feel reassured about the safety precautions in place.
Catering & Custom Cakes
I asked SusieCakes about catering services and special order cakes for gluten-free customers. Unfortunately, the bakery currently does not offer any large catering platters or custom cakes that are gluten-free. Their catering menu and design your own cake services are exclusively gluten-containing.
So patrons with gluten restrictions can enjoy the individual gluten-free cookies, brownies, and cupcakes available. But the bakery is not yet able to accommodate customized orders or platters for gluten-free diets. Hopefully expanded gluten-free offerings get added in the future based on customer demand.
Allergen Information Availability
SusieCakes makes a point to provide allergen information to customers upon request. According to their website:
“Please feel free to ask any member of our service team for a list of ingredients in any of our menu items. It would be our pleasure to assist you in making an informed food selection.”
The bakery staff seem knowledgeable about the ingredients when I inquired. They were able to inform me of the major allergens present including wheat, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, and corn.
Patrons with food allergies or intolerances beyond just gluten should find SusieCakes transparent and helpful regarding allergen information. Just ask a staff member if you ever need any clarification.
Staff Gluten Knowledge & Training
When I asked several staff members at SusieCakes about their gluten-free menu options, they seemed fairly knowledgeable. They were all aware that the bakery offers some gluten-free cookies, brownies, and cupcakes.
The staff also knew that items are prepared in a designated gluten-free area with sanitized equipment to prevent cross-contamination. And they understood common safety practices like changing gloves between handling gluten and gluten-free items.
However, some specifics stumped a few employees I spoke with such as exact ingredients or nutritional values. But overall, the core information on their gluten-free practices seemed present. It appears SusieCakes trains their staff appropriately to accommodate gluten-free guests.
SusieCakes Gluten-Free Certifications
I asked SusieCakes if the company has any recognized gluten-free certifications from reputable organizations. They informed me that currently none of their bakeries are certified gluten-free through programs such as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) or Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).
While they adhere to gluten-free preparation standards, SusieCakes has not sought third-party auditing and certification for their practices. The lack of certification could make some patrons with celiac disease hesitant to consume their offerings. But certification may come in the future based on increased demand.
Should You Trust SusieCakes for Gluten-Free?
Whether you feel comfortable consuming SusieCakes gluten-free products comes down to your own sensitivity level and risk aversion.
If you have life-threatening celiac disease, the lack of certification and risk of cross-contamination in the shared facility may make you choose not to eat their gluten-free items. The minimal menu may also not make visiting worthwhile if you must follow a strict diet.
However, if you have minor gluten intolerance or sensitivities, the gluten-free offerings could be appealing. SusieCakes seems to use dedicated tools and space for gluten-free preparation and takes steps to avoid cross-contamination. Their staff is also trained on gluten-free practices. So the baked goods may be safe to enjoy in moderation if you are less sensitive.
In the end, assess your own health needs and make the personal decision on whether SusieCakes gluten-free treats fit into your diet. Be aware that certification is lacking but protocols are in place to limit gluten exposure.
Should You Visit SusieCakes?
Here are some pros and cons for visiting SusieCakes if you eat gluten-free:
– They offer tasty gluten-free cookies, brownies, and cupcakes not available at all bakeries
– The chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies are especially popular gluten-free menu items
– Staff use dedicated space and tools for gluten-free baking
– Employees are trained in gluten-free handling procedures
– Allergen information is readily available upon request
– No certification through GFCO, GIG, or other recognized gluten-free authority
– Gluten-free menu options are very limited with only 4 items
– No ability to customize for catering or special order cakes
– Possibility of cross-contamination from shared facility
– Texture and flavor differs from regular gluten-containing baked goods
So in summary, SusieCakes is one of the few bakeries that offers any gluten-free menu items in an industry that heavily relies on glutenous grains like wheat. The ability to treat yourself to a gluten-free sweet makes it a worthwhile stop for an occasional indulgence if you follow a gluten-free diet. Just be aware that certification is lacking and contamination is possible in the shared space. Informed gluten-free patrons may find the pros outweigh the cons for visiting SusieCakes.
Top 5 Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free at SusieCakes
If you choose to enjoy SusieCakes gluten-free treats, here are 5 tips to order as safely as possible:
1. Verify availability – Call ahead to check that your location has the gluten-free item you want in stock that day. Supply fluctuates.
2. Ask about procedures – Inquire with staff about the kitchen protocol followed to prepare your specific gluten-free order.
3. Specify gluten-free – Clearly tell staff you need your order to be gluten-free when ordering in person.
4. Check labeling – Ensure any packaged items have a gluten-free label upon receipt before consuming.
5. Inspect thoroughly – Visually inspect baked goods before eating to check for signs of cross-contamination.
Carefully following these tips will help you enjoy SusieCakes gluten-free goodies with peace of mind.
SusieCakes earns a cautious recommendation when it comes to accommodating gluten-free diets. While certification is lacking and cross-contamination is possible, they still offer tasty gluten-free treats that are rare to find at bakeries.
The chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies are favorites and worth trying if you are gluten-free. Just exercise reasonable precautions when purchasing and consuming. Also call ahead to confirm availability at your desired locations.
In summary, SusieCakes makes for a nice occasional splurge for gluten-free folks who want to enjoy a classic bakery indulgence. While not 100% risk-free, their training and procedures create a relatively safe environment for sensitive diners. So consider stopping by if you want to treat yourself to gluten-free cupcakes or other sweets! Just take necessary verification and handling steps stay healthy.
SusieCakes bakery stands out by offering in-demand gluten-free cookies, brownies, and cupcakes despite being a conventional bakery. They accommodate gluten-free guests through dedicated preparation areas and employee training on cross-contamination prevention. While certification is lacking, SusieCakes follows protocols to create offerings gluten-sensitive patrons can reasonably enjoy with some care and precaution. Overall, SusieCakes earns a cautious thumbs up for those desiring tasty gluten-free baked treats on occasion. Follow informed ordering and handling tips to consume their offerings as safely as possible.