Gluten-free baked goods are typically easy to distinguish from their wheat flour-based counterparts. The texture, look and taste of gluten-free cakes, in particular, can take some getting used to on the part of people with Celiac disease or those who have embraced a gluten-free diet for other health reasons.
For those who are gluten averse yet craving sweets, these differences can be especially daunting. There is, however, hope for those who want a decadent delight just like those they might have enjoyed before eschewing wheat-related proteins. Since their introduction last year, the Dreamin’ of Chocolate and Dreamin’ of Strawberries cakes have proven that gluten-free goods can be just as tasty as their conventional counterparts.
“The biggest area of focus for us has been developing what we think are the best gluten-free dessert offerings in the market place,” says Bob Smith, vice president of foodservice sales and marketing for Delta, British Columbia-based dessert maker The Original Cakerie, the cakes’ creator. “We’ve spent two years formulating a sponge cake that, if tasted side-by-side with our original sponge cake, people can’t tell the difference. This is a big step up from what people normally encounter with gluten-free products, particularly desserts.”
The two-layer Dreamin’ of Chocolate and Dreamin’ of Strawberries cakes are made with premium ingredients including Belgian white chocolate, real whipping cream and chocolate ganache. The sponge cake used in the cakes is prepared using proprietary recipes and methods.
“We can’t reveal what our secret sauce is, so to speak, but it is 100 percent the work of our product development and innovation department, who worked diligently with different blends of gluten-free flours to make the perfect match to our sponge cake in quality, taste and appearance,” Smith says.
The company developed the cakes in response to market demand. “We definitely saw the need in the market for a quality gluten-free product,” says Ben Carpenter, the Original Cakerie’s foodservice marketing manager for North America. “Much of the time, with gluten-free products – be it bread or desserts – there is textural mouthfeel that is sandy or just generally subpar. We saw the need for something that could match the quality of conventional product and serve the needs for people with Celiac or those cutting gluten out of their diet.”
The high quality of the Dreamin’ cakes has earned the Original Cakerie the notice of consumers and industry peers. The company was awarded the National Restaurant Association (NRA)’s 2015 Food and Beverage (FABI) award. The awards recognize “breakthrough achievement and innovation in taste, marketability, creativity and foodservice market profitability potential,” and are judged by a panel of industry leaders, the NRA says.
In addition to the award, the cakes also earned the notice of a national restaurant chain during the NRA’s annual trade show in Chicago last year. The cakes – which are also available at retail locations throughout North America – will also be available in the restaurant’s locations early this year.
The Original Cakerie last year also won Prepared Foods’ “Spirit of Innovation” award for the cakes.
The Finest Quality
The Dreamin’ cakes are part of the company’s “Inspired by Happiness” line of gluten-free products, which also includes three-layer cakes. The line is available at major retailers throughout the United States and Canada, as well as through foodservice operators.
The company launched retail products a few years ago as an expansion of its offerings. The Original Cakerie has served restaurant and foodservice customers since 1979, when founders Doug McFetridge and Kent Norris started it as a small bakery producing high-quality desserts for local restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia.
Today, The Original Cakerie offers more than 60 dessert flavors and a variety of products such as single-, two- and three-layer cakes, brownies and other baked goods for retailers and foodservice operators. The company uses the highest-quality ingredients in all of the desserts it produces, including dairy-fresh whipping cream, pure fruit fillings and blends of European chocolates.
“Our quality control and use of quality ingredients distinguishes our products from competitors,” Smith says. “We have the attitude that we not substitute or take shortcuts to making the finest dessert product possible.”
The Original Cakerie is British Retail Consortium certified for food safety. “We hang our hat on the quality of our products and their formulation,” he adds. “The foodservice operators carrying our products can be assured their customers will be very satisfied with the dessert options we offer.”