Festive treats you can eat safelywithout analysing ingredients
WITH rich fruit puddings, roast dinners and what can feel like a never-endingsupply of chocolate, Christmas can be seen as a time of pure self-indulgence.
But for people with food allergies and intolerances, deciding which treat willtantalise the tastebuds can be an arduous task. Sufferers often have to analyseingredients and sort goods into “can eat” and “don’t ever eat” piles.
This is where Ruth Evans can help. Ruth, of Calthwaite, is the owner of Hot Cakes, a baking company where home-made cakes areproduced without gluten, wheat, oats, dairy products, alcohol and nuts.
The inspiration for the business, which is nearly two years old, came from Ruth’s three children, John, Jemima and Mark, who are all gluten intolerant. One child suffers from a serious nut allergy and two are lactose intolerant.
“Not that we would eat out a lot because of having small children, but when we did, we would find it incrediblydifficult to find cafes to cater for the children,” said Ruth, who is married to Bryn.
Ruth, who began baking only once her children were born, said it started out of necessity. “The kids needed birthday cakes, so I made them,” she said.
The festive period is one of the busiest times of the year for Ruth, who, as well astaking commissions, alsosupplies cafes.
Christmas bakes include upside down mincemeatcupcakes, gingerbreadbiscuits and alcohol-free Christmas cakes. “I can do a Christmas cake in two days. It’s moist because it’s fresh,” said Ruth.
Taking out key ingredients in her recipes means Ruth has to do a lot ofexperimenting to do with different components. She was a secondary school science teacher until she had her first child seven years ago and thinks her new career has a link to her past job. “It’s experimenting, but tasty experimenting,” she said.
So-called free from foods can often be more expensive due to the ingredients costing more. However, Ruth wants her bakes to be accessible to all by making them the same price as standard bakes, even if it means making less of a profit.
Her aim is to make her products taste like “normal” cakes. “I have a couple of recipes from books but generally I use my own. The Internet is an amazing thing, but even recipes on-line still won’t taste normal and need tweaking,” said Ruth.
Ruth, who bakes around looking after her children, aims to make each commission as personalised as possible. Past creations include a Christmas cake decorated with Santa Claus playing cricket, as well as a custard and raspberry-flavoured cake.
She feels as though her skills are constantly developing and, having made her first figure from icing only last year, she more recently made a cake decorated with a completely edible chess set.
“If somebody would have told me three years ago that I would be baking every day, I would have absolutely laughed,” she said. For more information, visit www.hotcakesgf.co.uk.