When Ali Graeme’s son was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease in 2007, and then she was diagnosed with the disease shortly after, everything seemed to change. Suddenly, she worried that her son, who was in middle school at the time, would never get to enjoy any cookies, brownies or cakes again.
So Ali, who had recently retired from working as a financial trader, took matters into her own hands and headed into the kitchen. As a former biology major, Ali loved experimenting with the chemistry of different gluten-free baking flours, and she kept trying new formulas until she hit upon a flour mixture that resulted in cookies, cakes, and brownies that tasted just right.
"We use superior, premium flour. It makes all the difference in the world," explains Susan Graeme, marketing manager at Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Bakery in Hinsdale, adding that their flour is made from a mixture of brown rice, white rice, tapioca, potato starch and xanthan gum (a bonding agent).
Unlike some gluten-free baked goods, which can taste dry and grainy, Susan says Sweet Ali’s cakes, cookies, muffins and more are moist and delicious. “When people take a bite they say, ‘I can’t believe this is gluten-free,’” Susan says.
Since the bakery opened in 2009, it has become a go-to spot in the western suburbs for gluten-free goodies, especially for special occasion birthday cakes and wedding cakes.
Susan says it’s wonderful to bring a smile to children come in with Celiac’s disease who have never had the chance to have a birthday cake before or brides who thought they would never get to experience having a wedding cake. “That gives us the greatest joy to help these customers,” she says.
The bakery has also become known for its dizzying array of cupcakes, which come in flavors such as cookies and cream, strawberry lemonade, root beer float and more.
“I think the salted caramel cupcakes are some of the best you’ll taste anywhere, gluten-free or non-gluten-free,” Susan says.
Two years ago, Sweet Ali’s began selling their baked goods wholesale to grocery stores throughout Chicago, and today, the company has expanded to stores in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, but despite the growing demand for the products, everything is still made from scratch at their Hinsdale bakery.
Potash Markets is pleased to be carrying a variety of Sweet Ali’s gluten-free baked goods – including pound cake, cookies, muffins and more -- in our frozen section at the State Street store. Stop by and try some today!