Birchwood Cafe wins inaugural Baker's Dozen Gluten-Free Bake-Off

Birchwood Cafe's sweet potato cranberry cupcake with green tea buttercream
Birchwood Cafe's sweet potato cranberry cupcake with green tea buttercream

This weekend at the Chow Girls Catering Parlor in northeast Minneapolis, the inaugural Baker's Dozen Gluten-Free Holiday Bake-Off was held. Some of the participants included Muddy Paws Cheesecakes, Seward Co-op, Bittersweet Bakery, French Meadow, and the Birchwood Cafe. The event was judged by a panel of local celebrities, which included local cookbook author and chef John Michael Lerma, local Food Network Star finalist Justin D., and Minnesota Monthly's Stephanie Meyer.

The event was held to help raise money for Twin Cities ROCK (Raising Our Celiac Kids), a local organization that helps parents find information on how to deal with children who have celiac disease, which prevents the digestion of gluten in the body.

Some of the baked goods included things like Mexican brownies, pumpkin chai cheesecake, a decadent caramel and chocolate panna cotta, apple-spiced doughnuts, and peanut butter cookies. All the desserts were made without traditional baking flours, and instead used a variety of gluten-free flours or no flour at all.

The winning dessert was presented by the Birchwood Cafe. It was a deliciously dense and not-too-sweet sweet potato cranberry cupcake with a rich green-tea buttercream. The dessert was topped with buttery pistachio brittle. It was also the recipient of a special kid's choice award, as it was the favorite of the lone child on the panel, Max. It was rumored that the cool green frosting on the cupcakes factored largely into his decision. The French Meadow Cafe came in as the runner up with a light and airy toasted coconut cake.

Overall we were extremely impressed with all the gluten-free offerings. We're looking forward to next year to see what kinds of new glutenless creations the chefs can bring to the table.

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