Celiac diagnosis leads to successful bakery

Allison Regan said she never dreamed that her interest in science while a student at Weber State University would play a part in her future success as the owner of Sweet Cake Bake Shop, Utah’s first gluten-free, walk-in bakery.

Regan was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago. According to the Celiac Foundation, symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition. There is not a cure for this disease, but treatment is a gluten-free diet.

Regan said she was relieved to have a diagnosis, but on the other hand, she had no idea where to begin or what to eat.

“My doctor sent me away with ‘don’t eat wheat, and go to the Internet to get information,’” Regan said. “There was no dietician, no handbook, nothing! I was hungry. My body was starving and wasting away, and all I could think was, ‘I’d kill for a piece of chocolate cake.’”

Regan said she had to readjust many areas of her life.

“I had never heard of this disease, and I felt very alone, isolated and singled out,” she said. “I was eating alone at every family get-together and social function. I couldn’t enjoy the same things that I once had. Educating my family and friends was tiresome. Each invite was followed with ‘you’re going to have to bring your own food. You’re too hard to cook for.’ I was alone in my journey and depressed. And yep, I thought about that dang piece of chocolate cake every day.”

Still dreaming of chocolate cake, Regan began the scientific process of researching and studying the properties of different kinds of flours and how they work together. After a lot of trial and error, Regan finally came up with the right combination, which is now her Master Mix.

One thing led to another, and she decided to open a bakery. Sweet Cake Bake Shop in Kaysville is a dedicated gluten-free bakery.

“We focus on creating classic, simple and nostalgic baked goods,” Regan said. “Taste is our first priority. Anything can look pretty, but if it doesn’t taste good, then there is no point in eating it.”

WSU student Sherry Jones has eaten that chocolate cake.

“I have had celiac disease for 15 years. When I first took a bite out of that chocolate cupcake, it brought tears to my eyes. I thought I would never be able to eat anything like that again.”

There are definitely more choices now than there were 15 years ago.

“I am glad the bakery is there,” said customer C.J. Bower. “The hardest thing about being a celiac is recognizing that I can’t eat most of the food that shows up unless I am very lucky. Now I have more options.”

Most of the bakery’s business is by mail order. The biggest sales come from New York City, followed by Texas, Los Angeles and then Utah. Regan plans to open a second bakery in Salt Lake City sometime next year.

“By the way,” Regan said, “that chocolate cake I kept dreaming about? It’s now one of our best sellers.”

Sweet Cake Bake Shop is located at 237 W. 200 N. in Kaysville.