“ Steph's Free From Cakes / Dairy, wheat and gluten free cakes made to order „
I first came across Steph's cakes last year when I was searching on the internet for ideas for celebration cakes. I try as far as possible to follow a gluten free diet, and many of the cakes you can buy commercially are not exactly the same as those made with gluten containing flours. Since discovering Steph's I can honestly say that the cakes she makes are the most beautiful in the world, and they shine head and shoulders above anything else you can buy on the market today.
The owner, Stephanie Palmer, is based in Lewes in Sussex. She began trading only 2 years ago, and was inspired to set up the business by the fact that she had been following a gluten, wheat and dairy free diet for some years. It was this inability to purchase really good alternatives to mainstream bakery products that was her inspiration.
Word soon gets round in the gluten free world of blogging, and it wasn't long before I came across one such blog which highly recommended the "Battenburg Cake". This sent me straight to the website as Battenburg has to be my favourite cake of all time.
The website can be found at www.stephsfreefromcakes.co.uk. The site is simple; it has colour photographs of the current range together with prices and keeping instructions. Cakes are baked to order the day after purchase, and are mailed out using a courier to ensure freshness is optimised. There is a fixed delivery price for orders up to 25kgs, and 10% off your first order. Payment is by PayPal and is secure.
So to the range! I have placed two orders so far, and each time I have been absolutely delighted. The cakes are delivered by courier, and on my last order Stephanie took the time to email me to check to see if I was happy for the order to be posted on a Thursday. This was just in case it should be delayed in transit, and might have to sit in a warehouse over the weekend. I thought this was so kind and showed attention to detail. The packing of the cakes is superb. Great care is made to ensure that the cakes arrive in tip top condition, and each time I have been really impressed with the way they are presented.
Postal charges are kept to a minimum, but reflect the urgent nature they require, so for up to 25kgs you will pay £7.66.
A list of ingredients is printed on a label which is attached to the cake, which is a nice touch as of course many of Steph's customers have to be careful about food intolerances. The range also includes products aimed at children including gingerbread men and rock cakes.
My choices have so far been to go for the Battenburg, the Lemon Drizzle, and the Carrot Cake. All these cakes are available in single slices or as whole cakes. This first option allows you to sample the cakes to see if you would like to order a full one at a later date. I found this to be very helpful and a great way to sample many of the products.
So to "The Battenburg" - this is a pastel pink and custard yellow work of art. The ingredients are marzipan, dairy free margarine, sugar, gluten and wheat free flour, eggs, apricot jam, vanilla essence and red food colouring. The cake is soft, moist, generously sized and covered in creamy almond marzipan. Unlike gluten free alternatives, which can be dry or taste synthetic, this cake is absolutely gorgeous. It is soft, creamy and delicious, and it keeps so well. I actually freeze mine having sliced it into little pieces when I unpack it. I don't eat very much sugar or cake anymore, so this suits me, as I then have a supply of cake slices that I can defrost if I have guests, or if I simply fancy a slice myself! The cake will keep perfectly well in an airtight tin for several days, and it retains its moist texture all through this period. The price of this cake is £9 and it cuts into 8 generous slices - so for a home prepared cake which excels anything I have ever tasted I feel this is excellent value for money. Even after being frozen and defrosted the cake retains all of its moist attributes, and tastes as good as when eaten fresh.
The Lemon Drizzle Cake, also £9, is a moist round cake with a delicious lemon sugar topping, and is without a doubt the most beautiful and delicious cake I have ever tasted. The Carrot Cake is also wonderful - in fact with all the cakes it is difficult to imagine how they are so good when they are made with gluten free flour.
According to Steph who actually has a stall at The Lewes Food Market, the buyers who frequent her stall are more often that not free from food intolerances and just love the cakes. I can see why- they are out of this world, and are better than any made with conventional flour!
I love to support small business and to encourage individuals with talent and drive to succeed by supporting them wherever I can. This cake maker who operates in a specialised market has a product which is supreme, and has appeal to those with food intolerances and those without.
When this review wends its way over to Ciao it will be presented with photographs of the cakes in my latest order. The mouth watering home baked treats are out of this world and so is the service- outstanding from ordering through to delivery.