Elizabeth D Bakes is a Great Taste Award winning London based artisan baker. Her American South inspired range of Brownies, Blondies, Breads & Cakes is 100% gluten free, often vegan and sometimes genuinely low sugar.
Together with 4 tough to please non gluten free, non vegan friends I sampled most of the Elizabeth D Bakes range. Spoiler alert! Elizabeth’s bakes were some of the most pleasurable I have taste-tested and for the benefit of scientific discovery I have taste-tested many. They do not rely on being gluten free or vegan since they are simply gorgeous.
Read past the pictures and products for a interview with Elizabeth herself and details of where to buy.
Dulce de Leche Brownie (GF) 5 / 5
Elizabeth D Bakes has a decadently named Dulce de Leche Brownie that contains eggs and milk. But wait. She also makes a Vegan Morello Cherry Brownie. For vegans, easy choice. Which would a non-vegan prefer? My 4 non-vegan friends sampled both without knowing which Brownie was vegan.
Both brownies are of the melt in the mouth, dense and rich and fudgey type. The best kind. The only kind.
The Dulce de Leche Brownie took top place in the taste-test and was preferred by the non-vegans. Creamy and buttery. Luxury melt-in-mouth texture. Rich cocoa flavour. A best in class brownie.
Brownie with Morello Cherries (Vegan, GF) 4 / 5
This receives 5 stars from me! I adored this and preferred it to the Dulce de Leche Brownie but my non-vegan friends did not. Deeply dark, dense, rich, sticky and juicy to the point of being almost pudding like. Notable cherry top notes surrenders gracefully to the darker cocoa flavour. Eat with a spoon!
Elizabeth D Bakes Blondie (GF) 5 / 5
Gave the winning Dulce de Leche Brownie a very close run for most-loved. Soft fudgy interior. Crispy, crunchy base. Tantalising texture contrast. Generously laced with nuts and rich, creamy white chocolate chunks.
Carrot Cake Loaf (Vegan, GF) 5 / 5
Class apart from most other Carrot Cakes. Possibly as good as the one your Grandma makes! Soft, fluffy, spicy sponge laced with juicy raisins, crunchy nuts and plenty of carrot. Zesty, striking lime glaze topping. More of it please! Contender for best Gluten Free Carrot Cake ever sampled within these pages. Strong competition for the non-vegan Carrot Cake from Beyond Bread. A few weeks after I ‘reviewed’ this it won a Great Taste Award. No surprise!
Cranberry, Pistachio, Orange Stollen (Vegan, GF) 4 / 5
This Great Taste Award Winner came third in our own taste-test. Complex, inviting mix of flavours and textures take turns to ‘pop out’ and delight. Soft, sweet icing. Tart, chewy cranberries. Crunchy nuts. Very fruity, juicy and moist. Deserves to be slowly savored.
Banana Bread (Vegan, GF) 4 / 5
Fresh and bright banana flavour paired with balanced sweetness and marvelously moist bread. Wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee or non-dairy milk.
Lemon Drizzle Cake (Vegan, GF, Low Sugar) 3.5 / 5
Elizabeth’s Lemon Drizzle and Chocolate Cakes are genuine “low sugar” cakes. There are three really terrific things about them.
1. Refreshingly honest “low sugar” labeling
2. Their combination of vegan, gluten free and low sugar enables lots of people can enjoy them
3. Their taste!
Low sugar means fewer than 5 grams sugar per 100g. Getting a cake to taste nice AND be low sugar is far from simple. Much easier to label it “no refined sugar” and load up on agave nectar, honey, coconut palm sugar or similar. “No refined sugar” has questionable virtue since there is negligible difference in nutritional qualities between most refined and non-refined sugars. So bravo to Elizabeth for honest labeling and producing genuinely low sugar cakes.
The key enabling ingredient is Xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is neither sugar nor alcohol. Xylitol is a low calorie sweetener found in drinks, gums, sweets and increasingly within baking recipes. It does have a distinctive cool aftertaste however and doesn’t caramelize like sugar does when baked. So . . . . how are the cakes?
The Lemon Drizzle offers light, airy sponge. It is notably dryer, stiffer and more crumbly than others but still pleasant and complimented by the bright, zesty lemon glaze. No ‘cool’ aftertaste from the Xylitol. If this were being scored against other low sugar cakes it would be 5 stars. The moderate score was achieved without any concessions!
Chocolate Cake (Vegan, GF, Low Sugar) 3.5 / 5
Avocado and Maple Syrup are feature ingredients. Simple cake with simple, enjoyable flavour dominated by the generous cocoa. Similar in texture to the Lemon Drizzle but very different flavour. Does have a very mild cool Xylitol aftertaste.
Where to Buy Elizabeth D Bakes?
1. Online from Yumbles.
New to Yumbles? Yumbles provides an online store from which you can buy from a wonderful range of artisanal, gourmet producers. The foods on offer are often not found at all in retail stores or have very limited distribution. I think Yumbles is a great idea.
2. Buy in store at Wholefoods or if you are in the delivery area, online from uberEats
3. Buy direct from Elizabeth’s own online store
An Interview with Elizabeth
Benjamin: Free From eaters in the UK are very fortunate that there are more and more free from foods available, almost spoiling us for choice. What would you say are the things that distinguish your range of bakes from from others?
Elizabeth: I think my range is very personal and many of the products are inspired by my childhood growing up in the American South and by my family’s baking. I have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen and production unit that I work in and increasingly the products are also vegan. I like to think that my products don’t require any “editorial” and that people enjoy them as treats without needing to explain that they are GF or dairy-free. People shouldn’t have to compromise on flavour or texture when they are looking for allergy friendly GF & Vegan cakes.
Benjamin:After the Stollen Cake, what will be the next Elizabeth D Bakes product to win a Great Taste or Free From Food Award? What are you most proud of?
Elizabeth: Funny you should ask!! We won a Great Taste Award 2017 last week for our Vegan and Gluten-free Carrot Loaf. To be honest I am usually proudest of my newest creation, whatever it may be. But I confess that when I open the work fridge searching for a treat for myself it is usually a mini carrot cake I eat or the new Vegan Blondie with coconut oil (launches in September).
Benjamin: Colour me absolutely unsurprised about the Carrot Loaf award, well deserved! How do you personally determine that a new bake is *good enough* to offer for sale?
Elizabeth: Inevitably these things are subjective. I have personal preferences and standards and I am my own harshest critic. But I also listen to feedback – when I was at Berwick Street Market this was a huge bonus. I also get feedback from my clients before a product is finalised. We have to look at not only flavour, texture etc but also packaging, production, cost. This is my learning curve at the moment.
Benjamin: You offer genuinely low sugar cakes with fewer than 5 grams of sugar per 100g. Many *other* products claim “No Sugar” but actually include sugar, albeit a fancy type like coconut palm, agave nectar or dehydrated cane juice – all still sugar! There are many others boasting of “No Refined Sugar” which can contain lots of actual sugar, again of a fancy type. What motivated you to provide a genuinely low sugar option rather than pursue one of the easier alternatives?
Elizabeth: This grew out of a request from the Wholefoods buying team and also from my own experience of doing in store demos with them. So many people were looking for truly low sugar cakes and many also wanted them to be either GF or Vegan or both. The flavours (chocolate, lemon drizzle, Lime Pie, Apple Walnut and Red Velvet) are very up my Southern American Street, but the sweetener is Xylitol, which is plant-based. These cakes are also Soya free.
Benjamin: It is terrific to see your bakes available in Wholefoods and Yumbles. Are there any other places they might appear?
Elizabeth: Yes I am working hard on this and you will see a number of new outlets coming on board over the course of the next few months. My website is being expanded and will have its own shop and new retail stockists will be added.
Benjamin: There is a growing trend towards ‘Free 14’ products free from all 14 major allergens. Do you think you could bake anything tasty without using celery? Joking! Seriously though, have you considered baking free from all 14 allergens?
Elizabeth: Ha! Yes, that brief is irresistible. I just need more hours in a day! Thinking a Southern Caramel Cake…
Benjamin: Elizabeth, thank you every so much, and please don’t stop baking!