WALLINGFORD – Chocolate fudge cupcakes topped with homemade frosting are just some of the gluten-free and vegan options available at Mr. D’s bakery and candy shop on North Main Street.
“We like to try and offer as much as we can, so almost all of our fillings and frostings are actually gluten-free,” said Hannah Grills, manager at Mr. D’s. “It’s not just the basic flavors they can get, they can actually mix and match and add what they want on top.”
Gluten-free cupcake flavors include vanilla, carrot cake, red velvet, and chocolate, which is one of the most popular choices, according to Grills.
There are also gluten-free cupcake fillings like peanut butter, chocolate ganache and coconut butter cream among more than a dozen other flavors.
Within the last few years Mr. D’s started creating more gluten-free cupcakes and cakes to serve a growing population of people who do not eat gluten, a protein substance found in most baked goods, for medical reasons or by choice.
“My mom is gluten-free, and has been for years, and I know how hard it is to find these options,” Grills said.
Vegan options, made without dairy or animal products, are also available and include chocolate and carrot cake cupcakes with dairy-free chocolate and vanilla frostings. The vegan cupcakes substitute ingredients with bananas and soy milk.
The gluten-free cupcakes substitute gluten-free flour for regular flour.
“We started doing gluten-free and vegan and that really picked up,” said John Coscia, head baker at Mr. D’s. “People can’t find it easily, so we offer it.”
Coscia said the demand for gluten free and vegan options has grown since the shop opened in 2010.
“Everything is right from scratch,” he said.
Starting before the sun comes up, Coscia makes the gluten-free and vegan cupcakes separately in the back kitchen to avoid any contamination. The cupcakes are then frosted away from the other products.
Grills said at least 100 gluten-free cupcakes are made a week.
“Everyday we get people who come in and order what they want,” she said. “We have people who come in and order a dozen of them or just one of them.”
She said fancier gluten-free cakes for special occasions and birthdays are also popular. Trendy “smash cakes” are available gluten-free as well.
Grills said the next step is to look at expanding the gluten-free flavors and combinations.
“I think lemon is another popular flavor,” she said of future options. “We’ve had a couple requests for it, so that might be the next one.”
Mr. D’s currently makes gluten-free brownies, though cookies and other treats may not be far off. Sugar free selections may also be available in the future.
“It’s been great seeing people’s reactions because we can do so much,” Grills said. “They’re so surprised.”
More information can be found at http://getmrds.com/