By Emily G. Peters
Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Vegan. Any one of these dietary restrictions can make the prospect of getting your hands on a tasty baked good tough going. Combine them and you’re looking at saying goodbye to cupcakes forever—right?
Not quite. Katie’s Bakery in Pasadena is a name you’re going to want to know, especially if you fall into any of the above categories. Based in Old Town Pasadena, this mini-bakery is in fact a test kitchen offering products perfected through years of experimental baking.
The woman behind all this R&D is Lynn Griffith: executive chef, mother and passionate advocate for healthy eating. Named for her daughter, Griffith opened Katie’s Bakery in 2016 after learning to cook and bake around Katie’s dietary restrictions.
“At the age of ten, she couldn’t eat wheat or dairy. Gluten-free foods were just coming into the marketplace but we couldn’t find what she liked, so I starting playing around with gluten-free flours,” said the chef. She ultimately launched the bakery to extend her knowledge to others.
“I wanted to change the perception of the taste and texture of gluten-free baked products,” said Griffith. “The idea was to make it so that nobody could tell the difference between Katie’s products and traditional wheat baked goods.”
Of course, it’s not just about gluten. Griffith guards her ingredient list ferociously—there’s nothing genetically modified, synthetic or artificially flavored in her products. Yet Griffith has also expanded beyond the counter display.
“I’ll get ten calls a month for gluten-free wedding cakes—there’s a tremendous demand that I can’t possibly fulfill,” she said. So she developed her pièce de résistance: baking mixes, including a gluten-free white cake mix that’s perfect for wedding cakes. To Griffith, the mixes are the game-changer.
“It’s more cost effective for individuals and or families to bake out the mixes. My main goal is to get to people who don’t have access to gluten-free products that are also dairy free and vegan,” she said. “I’d also love to see traditional bakeries use Katie’s Bakery vegan double chocolate cupcakes and vegan banana muffins for the vegan community.”
With the apparent uptick in diagnoses of celiac disease, food allergies and intolerances, Katie’s Bakery provides a sweet release to those who feel they’re missing out. Ultimately, Griffith is driven not only by the health of those she serves but her family.
“My son Charles has been amazing. He stepped into this with me from the beginning and I have passed off everything I know to him. The best part is, I feel supported and he keeps me sane,” she said. Her support system extends to her community, too.
“I’ve been extremely fortunate to have amazing friends and business associates who have given me their time, energy and unwavering support. Without them it would be hard to keep it together.”
Katie’s Bakery has plans for the future—her brand is at the tail end of a creative overhaul, and her mixes will soon be available online. If it’s successful, the bakery may shutter to allow Griffith the chance to focus on growing online, with grocers and supplying traditional bakers with gluten-free mixes. Until then, the (oven) door is staying open.
Katie’s Bakery is located at 11 W. Dayton St. in Old Town Pasadena. For more information, contact Katie’s Bakery at katiesglutenfree.com | (626) 714-7400 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow along on Instagram @katiespasadena and Facebook @katiesglutenfree.