I am so excited to announce that my Spotlight of the month is the lovely Sarah, who runs Dolfino’s Allergen Free Bakery. Sarah recently made my birthday cake (Harry Potter themed of course!) and ensured that it was free from all of my allergens.
1. What made you want to start a Top 14 Allergen free bakery?
My son has multiple allergies and anaphylaxis to peanuts. It all started when I had to create his first birthday cake, to create something tasty for everyone else but safe for him. When he was born I knew nothing about allergies so it’s been such a journey since then. After joining Facebook groups for support and advice, and I guess a part of me was hoping to find some miracle cure, I started to see more and more parents asking about safe cakes and the only answer seemed to be to make it yourself. While I’m quite happy to be in the kitchen and enjoy it, this doesn’t work for some families, they may not have the time or feel like they can make a bespoke cake. It made me sad to think that there are people out there that have never had a bespoke cake made for them for their birthday that is safe for them, so I started Dolfino’s with this being my mission! To bring those smiles to our allergic community.
2. What do you wish to achieve in the next 5 years with your allergy free bakery?
At the moment I’m taking it day by day, I hope that I could have a physical bakery one day but at the moment with balancing work and family life it’s easier to work at home. I’m enjoying doing orders, enjoying creating and trialling recipes so that one day I have enough up my sleeve to have a bakery well stocked of allergy free treats!
3. Which are toughest challenges you face when creating an allergy free bake?
For cakes especially, it’s getting the rise! I’ve made so so many flat cakes and just thrown them across the kitchen. Eggs help to bind a cake but they also help to give the cake a rise, and sometimes a lot of the egg substitutes just don’t work.
4. What is your favourite piece of advice to anyone who has children with allergies?
At first it may seem the most overwhelming thing in the world, I spent a long time trying to figure out what a lot of things meant for us as a family. That being said, it becomes your new normal and you find ways to figure things out and work out what you can and cant do/have. I would say, allow yourself to feel that overwhelm, really feel it and push through it and find ways to make things work, because it’s that, that pushed me to want to make things as normal as possible for my son.
5. Which ingredient is the hardest to find to make an allergy friendly treat?
As previously mentioned the egg substitute is quite tricky but also the icing! I wanted to avoid any ‘may contain’ as well and icing has been an absolute nightmare to source!
6. What is the most interesting non-allergy related fact about you?
That I’m a secret academic. I’ve got a first class honours degree in Psychology and a Masters in Neuroscience. Secret lover of brains over here!
7. What is your go to comfort food?
Pizza. I cannot get enough of pizza. When I’m happy, sad, whatever, there is a pizza with my name on it to answer all life’s problems.
8. What has been the hardest thing when navigating allergies?
I think in the early days I felt so restricted. I felt we couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without a massive amount of planning going into it. As time has gone on, I tend to plan things in advance now anyway but, I feel less restricted and I don’t want my son to grow up feeling restricted. I want him to be careful and vigilant with his allergies without feeling held back in any way.
Thank you so much to Sarah for being my Spotlight of the month and sharing your answers and for creating such incredible cakes for those with allergies.