Gluten Tag! Decadent Desserts for Orlando's Diet-Restricted



For some foodies, gluten-free is a healthful new diet fad. For others, serious allergies and other conditions make it an absolute way of life. And the former has been something of a boon to the latter, prompting Orlando’s bakers – Winter Park's Jillycakes, to the the Disney Springs installment of Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC, an entirely gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free vegan operation! Of course, the nice thing about desserts is they’re not one-size, fits all. Winter Park’s Le Macaron is a purveyor of traditional delights that have been gluten-free since their creation – no recipe modification necessary! Even a Food Network stars like three-time “Cupcake Wars”-winner Hollis Wilder is making cupcakes for her gluten-free fans. Like many of her signature flavors, though, they fly off the racks. Call ahead and order a dozen to be sure your treats will be waiting when you arrive. While those included herein all serve gluten-free products, always make sure to ask staffers about their products' ingredients and the kitchen practices they employ before you order!



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Addicted to your handheld device? Well, snap the picture and set your phone down, because you'll want both your hands â€" pie pop in one, mini-pie in the other? â€" to sample the wares of this friendly, from-scratch bake shop in Audubon Park. You may want to bring friends with hands, too. They havecake, "cutie pies,' hand pies, cookies and mason-jar pies, as well. Find a few varieties you love (you will, promise) and you can place an order for a full-size, 9-inch version. And sweets aren't all they do here. Savory versions include chicken pot, Buffalo chicken and quiches, as well. Seasonal ingredients mean fresh fare. Pop in to sample with a cup of joe or just come in to grab a box and go. You'll be back soon enough.


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AnnOlivia's Sweet Shop


 

AnnOlivia's has been a local favorite in Clermont since opening in 2017, a family operation that thrives on spreading sweetness in the community. With wares that include cupcakes, brownies, cookies and more, AnnOlivia's is in its second incarnation (the first one operated in the family's former home state of Mississippi). Professional baking is in the business' bloodline and they have a repertoire of 150+ flavors, though not all are available on the daily in their modest, friendly shop. They aren't a dedicated gluten-free facility, however they do have more than a few GF offerings for those who want to abstain from wheat without missing out on the sweet!


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First things first: tiny versions of things we already like are adorable. As is the suffix "let." Case in point: "bundtlets." You know you want one. You probably want a whole box. They're so cute! And at this popular chain, they are moist and tasty and come in multiple flavors to boot. You can get larger versions, as well, and two styles of icing depending on your level of sweet tooth. It's all good. Gluten-free folks won't find a certified bakery here, or a host of flavors, but they aren't left out. The chocolate chip cookie bundtlet is available every day. Pop in and grab one.


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Beautiful, artful cakes, pies, cookies, pastries and the like set in a sleek, almost resort-like operation, makes for elegant and casual dining – whether you're stopping in for coffee and a pastry or a full-on lunch of soup, sandwich, salad, etc. Either way, you won't want to skip on the confections, which are the specialty here. Sumptuous cakes with silky fillings and delightfully crumbly cookies beckon. Surprisingly elegant doughnuts, along with lovely, delicate little bites for coffee and tea (pick up a box the next time you've got a function to attend!) tempt. Whatever you do, avoid this place if you're dieting; a visit under those circumstances would just be cruel.


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Jillycakes is not exclusively gluten-free but it is almost unbelievably creative in its flavors, virtually all of which can be MADE gluten-free. They have two cupcake offerings on the daily. Sometimes they sell out, sometimes they don't. You're welcome to call ahead, however, and if the flavors of the day appeal, staffers will be happy to set aside some for you. Did we mention the flavors? Everything from churro to strawberry cheesecake to dozens of others could be available. They do custom orders here, as well, which means you can have anything you want if you give them a little time.


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Smallcakes is not a strictly gluten-free bakery, but they do make great accommodations for those with GF interests. Both vanilla and chocolate cupcake varieties are available every day (and, say staffers, only very rarely run out on the fly). What's more, there are generally un-frosted cakes in the back, which means if you're craving strawberry or cannoli icing or one of the bakery's other gluten-free flavors – cookies n' cream is the only one off limits! – you can have your cake and specialty icing, too. Many other GF cake flavors are available, as well, via special order. And of course, they do whole cakes to order, as well.


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Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly
Photo courtesy of Sweet!


 

Hollis Wilder, creator of Sweet By Holly is a three-time winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars, and Orlando is delighted to have her on speed dial. Sweet! by Holly is a cupcakery. And amid the vast array of flavors â€" banana to Boston cream, coffee to carrot, plain Jane to PBJ â€" gluten-free dieters will be happy to note they have not been left behind. Though it's recommended you show up early â€" the GF goodies, which come in the classic size, often go fast! â€" Holly has some available every day. Flavors you might find include red velvet (with two different types of frosting), chocolate â€" with either chocolate or vanilla frosting, and decadent chocolate-raspberry. Custom orders in any size are available, of course â€" and you can call ahead for orders of a dozen or more.


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Artful chocolates, creamy glacee and of course, the bakery's namesake in the form of the most visually appealing macarons you're likely to have seen anywhere. Light yet dense, the delicate outer crust gives way to an almost creamy cake with a sugary-sweet filling. Wonderful variety, from traditional to surprises like basil, ginger and salted caramel make each visit an opportunity to savor new flavors. On the pricey side at $1.80 apiece, but for a quick high-brow sweet fix on tony Park Avenue they make perfect sense. What's more: did you know that macarons are gluten-free, no recipe modification necessary? It's true! Gluten-free eaters rejoice. This is a bakery where you're just like everyone else.


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This lovely, little Winter Garden shop is an allergy-sufferer's dessert dream come true. Not only are all its wonderful wares gluten-free, they also do allergy-friendly varieties that are also made without soy, dairy, eggs, peanuts and/or tree nuts! Literally ANYONE can safely enjoy what they're serving. And the flavors here are as varied as any regular, old bakery - from basics to more exotic offerings like Grandma's Coconut, chocolate salted caramel and snickerdoodle. They can do custom cakes, as well, to ensure those celebrating can indulge without worry. The Tasty Trend makes cookies, cakes, cupcakes and doughnuts. Pop in and try them!


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Disney Springs ®


 

The founders of BabyCakes, upon opening the original New York City-based outpost, gave to the Big Apple an alternative to its many fine bakeries whose anchor ingredients â€" even if organic or other high-quality products â€" were wheat-, and animal product-based. Everything â€" yes, everything â€" at Erin McKenna's offers all-natural, organic alternative desserts free from wheat, gluten, dairy, casein and eggs. And lucky Orlando residents and visitors (particularly those with vegan preferences and allergies) are happy to have their own version at Disney Springs. In fact, the majority of BabyCakes' items don't even have sugar, relying on agave nectar instead. The result? Cupcakes, doughnuts, cakes and cookies even the most persnickety dieter can enjoy with neither guilt nor an upset tummy.


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Meet A.D. Thompson

Amy Drew has spent nearly three decades as a professional writer and roughly half her life as a Floridian. The words, she has found, come easier with bare feet and rum.

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