The Sugar Bowl Bakery

Photo Credit: Lisa Lee
I first met Lisa Lee of The Sugar Bowl Bakery at the Grand Rapids Gluten-Free Food Fair. I was very impressed with her cake decorating skills. I mentioned how hard it is for families with Celiac Disease to find gluten-free cakes for graduations and other family celebrations. Seriously, check out the photos on her Facebook page to see all of her cake creations. Read more about her business in Lisa's own words. 

1. What inspired you to become a baker? Why the focus on gluten-free?
I have been baking for 25+ years and came to specialize in gluten-free and allergy-free customized baked goods because my best friend was suffering from health issues. As her health deteriorated, I determined that I would research gluten intolerance and learn how to make gluten-free foods for her. My experiments in gluten-free baking were successful and the quality of life improved for her and her family. Word spread about my baking because of the great need for specialized baked goods. I count it a privilege to help people and provide them with the delight of eating foods they thought they would never be able to enjoy again. Witnessing the joy they have in the products I develop and bake is a great personal achievement.

2. Are there other highlights of your products? Dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free etc?
I specialize in creating baked goods that accommodate most food allergies or food restrictions. Egg free, dairy free, grain free, corn free, soy free, nut free- if my clients need their baked goods specialized, I will do my best to accommodate their needs. We serve the dietary needs of those with autism, arthritis, Chron's disease, and other health issues as well.

Gluten- Free Cinnamon Rolls
Photo Credit: Lisa Lee
3. What steps do you take to insure that your products are truly gluten-free?
I bake at my local church, which is a licensed kitchen. The only other times the space is used is on Friday for a home-school science class and on Sundays to make coffee. Except for the occasional funeral reception, banquet or potluck, I am the only one who uses the kitchen to prepare food. I thoroughly sanitize my workspace to prevent any possibility of cross-contact. My baking clothes, aprons, dish cloths, dish towels, and hot pads are all dedicated gluten-free as well.
I insure that my baked goods are truly gluten-free by using dedicated equipment, pots, pans and utensils. All ingredients that I buy are gluten-free. I NEVER bake with gluten containing ingredients.  Customers call to place their orders and then the baked goods are prepared in this kitchen and area available for pickup or delivery.

4. Can you share a story of a customer who's been greatly impacted by your business?
One of my favorite stories is when I was at a gluten-free food fair. I was sampling eclairs and there was one woman in particular that stands out from that day. She approached my booth all by herself and seemed to be very hesitant but inquisitive. I  asked if she would like to sample an eclair and she looked at me with surprise. She asked if they were actually gluten-free and  I assured her they were. Just then she began to weep, and as she carefully tasted the samples, she wept even more. I asked her if everything was alright and she assured me it was. She was just so delighted and overwhelmed that after 25 years she could once again taste one of her favorite desserts. She was overcome by her emotions, and by the time she departed, she had me in tears as well.

Gluten-Free Eclairs
Photo Credit: Lisa Lee
5. What would you like consumers to know about your products and your business?
I believe that I have been given this opportunity through a series of God-incidences and I am dedicated to His will and guidance. Jeremiah 29:11 is a truth that guides my life and my business.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We have a store front but are not baking out of it at this time. This is because we are in the process of renovating it. As we want to remain debt-free, we work on the facility as monies are available. Until we complete the renovations, all equipment and ingredients are kept in a dedicated gluten-free room at my residence.

The Sugar Bowl Bakery
Hours Vary
(231) 288 - 2760

Website / Facebook / Twitter

The Sugar Bowl is one of many dedicated gluten-free bakers across the state of Michigan. Make sure to follow along with my #MichigansBestGF Bakery Search and learn about over 20 gluten-free bakers in Michigan. Click this link for a comprehensive list of all the bakeries as well as an interactive map! Follow me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Periscope for pictures and live videos too!