Bakery Offers Vegan, Allergy-Free Desserts for Everyone

Alishs McDarris wrote . . . . . . . . .

Leah Lopez makes parents cry, but she doesn’t troll anyone on Facebook or pick fights at the playground. She’s a baker. Moms and dads call her, weeping on the phone or wiping away tears after meeting her, after their severely allergic kids taste a cupcake for the first time.

Lopez doesn’t just make cupcakes (plus cake balls, brownies, cookie dough bites, and more), at Better Bites Bakery, she makes desserts that just about anyone can eat. Even those who live with any of the top eight allergies – gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, corn, and shellfish. They’re also vegan, GMO-free, and contain no artificial dyes or preservatives. These tried-and-true recipes started as home-baked goods that Lopez whipped up for her son, Gabriel.

When Gabriel, nearly 3 years old, was diagnosed with severe dairy, egg, and gluten allergies, Lopez didn’t want him to miss out on all the sweet treats and sugary joys of childhood. So she set out to create something that was not only free of allergens, but better for him, too. Along the way, she discovered she wasn’t alone.

“We found out there were a lot of other people in the community with kids who suffered from food allergies,” Lopez said. “[Better Bites Bakery] was something I felt was really needed in the community.”

She started experimenting and created recipes people loved, including cream-filled cupcakes reminiscent of those other chocolate treats in the snack aisle (you know, the ones with white curlicues). Parents and kids loved them. A teenage girl with Crohn’s disease tasted cupcakes for the first time in her life, brides got to indulge in their own wedding cake, dads snacked alongside their kids with severe allergies without worrying about cross-contamination.

“This is so much bigger than I would have imagined,” Lopez said. And while Lopez doesn’t take special orders anymore (the business grew too quickly), her products are in stores across Austin – HEB, Central Market, Wheatsville, and many other local markets – and Whole Foods Markets started carrying them nationwide last fall. Keep an eye out for a new product, one Lopez believes will be the new best-seller, in May.

Source: The Austin Chronicle