Rising to the occasion
SUSAN REECE DREAMS of one day baking dozens and dozens of her gluten-free cakes to sell.
She remembers with clarity the first eggless cake she did. She told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY she took it to church with her that Sabbath and people loved it so much “I didn’t get a pinch”.
That was the beginning of great things for the St George resident, who continued baking for her household, her husband’s friends and her neighbours.
“I’ve been baking cakes for over 16 years. I was doing the gluten-free cake 10 years ago and I started because I was looking at the healthy side of it. A lot of people cannot use eggs and I know a lot of people prefer cake.
“Also, some people cannot use the white flour because it does different things to the body, so a lot of people are restricted from using white flour.
“As a Seventh Day Adventist and as a vegetarian, I said there’re a lot of vegetarian people out there who cannot do cake, they don’t know how to make the gluten-free cake but they would love to eat it.
“So I thought of them and also thought [of] who cannot use eggs and white flour that would love to taste cake and that’s what made me decide.
“I used to bake cake and give it to vegetarians and they would also say ‘why don’t you go into selling’. They had loved the cakes . . . and I said I would go into selling. Everybody loves the cake and actually I get more vegetarian cakes sold than the egg cakes,” Reece said.
Fifteen years on, she is ready to formalise her growing business and employ others to assist her.
“I was doing it for a long time but I said I want to go into business selling the cakes – only three weeks ago. Baking is not easy because it’s a lot of work.
“The orders do come but I would really like to see a lot more orders. I would really like to see it expand. I would love to see it happen. I haven’t come up with the name as yet because I haven’t expanded [but] I’m hoping to,” she said excitedly.
Reece explained that whereas “egg cakes are normally done with egg and white flour, [in] the gluten-free cake, which some people call a vegan cake, linseed replaces the egg”.
She added: “I boil the linseed, which is better because the other one that you grind breaks down the protein, So I try to use the one that you boil. Linseed is very rich in Omega 3.”
She uses several fruits including cherries, dates, apricots, prunes, raisins and noted that while the cakes could be baked without them, it was tastier with them.
“Fruits are one of the ingredients that really give it the taste,” she said.
She bakes most Saturday nights to fill the 15 weekly orders.
“If I get a bigger market I can bake on other days. I would really like to go into baking at least two or three days a week. I would love to reach the point where I can actually hire somebody. I bake according to the order because everybody might not want cakes every week.
“Suppose I have about five orders, I prefer to do more than that because to buy fruits and other ingredients it costs a lot more money, so it doesn’t make sense doing five. If I have to put it back to the following week, I’ll do that, persons don’t mind,” Reece said.
A number of Seventh Day Adventists eat healthily and she said there is no need for her to push the gluten-free and eggless cakes to them.
Her interest in baking started after she attended a vegetarian cooking class where she was taught how to do the cakes. She has also started making other vegetarian meals including split pea and lentil cakes, and potato casserole for her household.
Reece’s intention is to do all she can to continue to increase her business but until that time comes she will continue baking her vegan cakes. (Green Bananas Media)