Decadent, gluten-free lava cake
A gluten free cinnamon roll shouldn’t taste this good, I tell myself, before taking another bite. Then I recall what the woman behind the counter had told me.
4594 30th St, San Diego
“We sold out of the iced cinnamon rolls. The only ones left with icing are the vegan cinnamon rolls.”
This isn’t just gluten-free cinnamon roll, it’s vegan too. And I’m devouring it. Only when my teeth break it down to crumbs do I notice a difference a slightly more granular texture, but by that point I’m distracted. Do I detect a hint of cardamom?
Gluten-free cream puffs, tough to distinguish from the glutenous kind
I’ve just picked it up from the tiny North Park bakery, Gluten Free Baking Co., which had the mixed fortune to open in early February, just before the world of restaurant retail was upended by social distancing measures.
Cupcakes in the case of Gluten Free Baking Co.
Amid this new normal, our social media channels have filled up with friends turned amateur bakers, who show off their homemade loaves, cakes, and bagels. And most of them look pretty good. But, no offense, friends, there is simply no way your gluten-free baking attempts come close to this.
Case in point: a mini lava cake, chocolaty decadent and smooth, and made without the help of gluten. This level of gluten-free baking success doesn’t come without extensive practice, and in fact the founder of this business has been at it for years, and professionally since 2015. According to the bakery’s website, she was inspired by a gluten-free patisserie in Paris.
Christmas decor in April, in North Park's new gluten free bakery
But this glass case is stuff with more typically American baked goods: cupcakes, cookies, muffins, and bagels. I spot a slice of cheesecake and several donuts. The bright pinkish red of a vanilla strawberry glazed donut gets my vote. It’s in the style of a cake donut, with a spongy elasticity that doesn’t quite match the original, but still works for this gluten-friendly eater.
However, when it comes to a pair of chocolate crème puffs, I question whether I could tell the difference between these and the “real” thing.
If you do prefer to gluten-free bake at home, this bakery is offering gluten-free cake and pancake mixes. It’s even selling gluten-free pasta as part of its covid-19 pivot. You may even find paper towels and toilet paper.
A gluten-free strawberry vanilla glazed donut
If you prefer contact-free pick up with your gluten-free baked goods, order through the website two days in advance for curbside pick-up. Choices include packaged boxes for $20-24, each with vegan and dairy-free options). Breakfast boxes include two each cinnamon rolls, muffins, and coffee cakes; bread boxes include half-loaves and bagels; dessert boxes net you assorted pastries, including that lava cake.
Candy cane brownies and ginger bread men, all gluten free
I shouldn’t be amazed by the demand for this stuff anymore. A quick search of the new, searchable restaurant database on the Reader website shows well over a hundred local restaurants now regularly offering gluten-free options — and that includes pizza, pasta, and other bready staples.