In hindsight, our son Alex (aka “Buddy”) had stomach issues that were with him as long as I can remember. My husband Kevin and I just didn’t realize that they weren’t typical childhood “ailments.” Between Buddy being a quiet child and the common general symptoms, nothing ever rose to the level of panic or continued concern.
When Buddy was eight, we moved overseas with the U.S. Air Force. After a few months there, his stomach pains seemed to be getting worse. We chalked it up to stress from the move, because Buddy was definitely an anxious child who internalized emotions more than our other children. But when he began to grow thinner and thinner, and his stomach pains caused him to cry and double over - even waking him up at night - I finally realized it was more than just stress.
I will never forget the day I was given Alex’s diagnosis. (Actually, the weekend…I was told on a Friday.) I cried, and panicked, (and maybe drank about a case of wine.) Alex was completely intolerant and allergic to just about every food group on the planet. What was I going to feed this child who was wasting away because everything he ate hurt him? My full-time job became trying to figure out just one more thing I could make for him, that he could eat. I’m sure many of you can relate!
When we moved back to the U.S. in 2015, I was so excited because the United States has everything right? Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc….The problem was that Alex’s food issues were so comprehensive and broad that I couldn’t find ONE product, let alone a dessert, that didn’t have at least one of the items on his forbidden list. I could find gluten and nut free, but not egg free; Or egg free but not gluten free or soy free. Looking for cakes or cookies to treat him, or to send with him to school for “celebration” days -without eggs or gluten or soy- that didn’t taste like dry cardboard, was like searching for the Holy Grail. It just DID NOT exist. So, like any mom of an allergy-kiddo, I had to just figure out how to make it. I couldn’t stand one more unfair tear from Alex not being able to eat what everyone else could eat, or not being able to be included in birthday parties or enjoy the sweets at sleepovers; typical childhood experiences.
So, after months and month of failed recipes and attempts, I finally created a list of recipes for cakes and cookies that Alex could eat. Great news, right? Well, sort-of… The problem was that most of the recipes required expensive ingredients, and the big batches of desserts only lasted a day or two because they lacked moisture and fat. The expense and the waste were becoming a real problem for me. I HATE food waste, and frankly, we couldn’t afford it.
I needed to create a safe single serving dessert that was handy, easy to make, and delicious… Then, one glorious day – nearly 2 years after Buddy’s diagnosis – I tried out my newest creation, a single serving of my “secret recipe” allergen-free mug cake, and got the overwhelming and ever-coveted verbal stamp of approval from my husband and three picky children.
I invented Buddy Cakes, in part, to solve my problem of food waste, as they are single-serving portions. What I didn’t realize, at the time of creation, was how many other problems they solved for me, and can solve for other food allergen friends:
- They are incredibly quick to make; just one minute or so in the microwave and they are baked.
- They don’t require an oven, so there’s no worry about forgetting to turn it off or the kids hurting themselves trying to make a treat. (Although they can be baked in the oven, if desired!)
- There isn’t a risk of overeating or eating too much “junk” food since each Buddy Cake packet makes one perfect serving!
- Buddy Cakes + Frostings are totally portable. Take them on the go! They are perfect to take to sleepovers, playdates, or to keep in school classrooms or dorm rooms. (All that’s required is oil and “milk” – dairy or non-dairy – and a microwave, which most schools and dorms have!)
- They are versatile! Bake some mini Buddy-cupcakes ahead of a road trip or to take on the plane or to the beach! One of our favorite options is making Buddy Cake Bites to take on the go! (see website under “Recipes”)
- THEY ARE FUN!! Go ahead…mix and match cakes and frostings! In fact, Buddy Cakes are a great alternative to any party cake (allergen-free or not) because you can set out a selection of cake mixes and frostings with a home-made topping bar and let the inventive “baking” run amuck! And don’t forget to check out BuddysAF.com for creative “Buddy Cake Variations!”
Having a small business that allows me to bring smiles to kids’ faces, to bring back the joy and anticipation of scrumptious dessert to those who have had to settle or go without because of food allergies and challenges, is one of the happiest aspects of my life! I just hope to spread the smiles as far as I can with Buddy’s Allergen Free!
Your Buddy Laura!
Buddy’s Allergen Free