Usually I am opposed to any kind of dessert that in some way, shape or form has swapped it's usual ingredients for healthier or allergy friendly alternatives. Call me stubborn, call me a purist... actually don't call me anything you big jerk! But when I overheard that New York's famous allergy friendly bakery Babycakes opened a store in downtown Los Angeles I decided that Sweet Lady Sass had to give it a shot.
A little context first... Like I said, Babycakes first opened in NYC before opening their LA branch this past Sunday. They make all the usual things a normal bakery would make: cupcakes, quick breads, cookies, brownies, etc. but in a rather unusual way, including multiple combinations of the following categories: Gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, egg free, vegan, kosher, dairy-free, agave (a natural sweetener with a very low-glycemic index for diabetics) or unrefined sugar sweetened. Most of their goods are healthier than their normal counterparts and fit the lifestyle of those who have difficult allergies or certain convictions about food, for example that using milk for butter is immoral (crazy vegans!).
Personally, I am only allergic to dairy (you can ask my husband about the ramifications of that one), cats and pollen. Since most bakeries don't use cats or flowers as ingredients (although most use flour! Haha) I am usually only left with one problematic element, which I usually choose ignore in most cases. So I can not really relate to my diabetic, gluten-intolerant or organic snob friends who are left with limited options for tasty sweets. However, I will try to give a fair assessment of the establishment all the while considering they are missing most of the key ingredients that make baked goods delicious, namely BUTTER....
I picked up my friend Allyse from her office during her lunch break and by the grace of God we found a parking spot on the street. When we walked in the unassuming front door we were greeted by a cute employee who looked exactly like Amy Adams. I asked her if she had ever been an animated princess, and too my disappointment she said no. Immediately I was struck by the cute interior and creative design, which took me a couple minutes to take in, but then I came to my senses and was reminded that I was here for the desserts.
Allyse perplexed by Gluten-Free Donuts
We decided to get a Spelt Vanilla Cupcake, Gluten-Free Brownie, Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie and a Non-Fried Vegan Donut. Since we hadn't had lunch, we walked to a near by diner to scarf down some unhealthy burgers before plunging into our "healthy" desserts.
Here is our assessment: Spelt Vanilla Cupcake: Pretty good, surprisingly not dry. The frosting had an interesting texture because the fats come from coconut milk. Gluten-Free Brownie: Dry, not very good. Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie: Maaaauh, it was ok. But I have definitely had better. Non-Fried Vegan Donut: Really good! It was cakey, which I love, and coated with a really yummy unrefined cinnamon-sugar.
So overall not the best report. However, if you have allergies that prohibit you from usually having these goodies this place would probably be your dream! They do a good job of finding alternatives and making them taste pretty OK, which is hard to do! Also, they serve Stump Town Coffee which is really good coffee from Portland, especially when paired with the yummy donut.
I appreciated that they were honest about their cinnamon roll only "sorta tasting like a cinnamon roll".
I would encourage you to give it a shot; it's definitely different, and pricey, but an altogether fun experience. Unless you get a $50 parking ticket like I did, then it becomes significantly less fun. If you don't feel like risking the parking ticket or have friends or family members with special diets, you can also pick up their cookbook.
If sugar runs through your veins this blog is for you. I am dedicated to researching, tasting, and reporting the tastiest treats this side of the Mississippi. Not to mention I have a knack for dessert novelties and curiosities with a dash of nostalgic reflection on the best and brightest treats of the past. So make sure and leave a trail of breadcrumbs because this is one dessert blog you will want to come back to again and again!