Special requirements? It’s a piece of cake...

FOOD AND DRINK'Andrea Kilner from Holmesfield h some of her gluten free cakes
FOOD AND DRINK'Andrea Kilner from Holmesfield h some of her gluten free cakes
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Imagine blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, knowing you can never take a slice...

Allergies to wheat gluten, dairy products, nuts or eggs mean many people can never have their celebration cake and eat it.

But canny cook Andrea Kilner is going into business baking for those who can never normally indulge their sweet tooth.

She’s spotted a gap in the market for wedding and anniversary cakes suitable for those with dietary allergies.

Andrea, 36 and a mum of two from Dronfield, perfected her recipes after her mother-in-law Judy, and then her husband Adam, were diagnosed lactose-intolerant.

“It meant they could never have desserts or cakes made to normal recipes without being really ill. I perfected versions using soya or goat’s milk and vegetable oil instead of butter and got such good results I decided to bake for people with other food intolerances,” she says.

She started selling allergy-friendly cakes, cookies and buns at Chesterfield market a year ago and was amazed at how many people are affected. She also discovered it was impossible to buy ready-made celebration cakes that were either egg, nut, gluten and lactose-free.

“Children were having to blow their candles out, then go without. Brides or grooms were ordering elaborately-iced works of art they could never taste, so I started taking orders, ” says the former civil servant, who has baked as a hobby from childhood.

She got so busy she is spending National Baking Week getting her own cake shop ready for opening on October 27.

Kilner’s Home Bakery will be based at the former toy shop on Chesterfield Road, Dronfield, and will sell regular baking and celebration cakes, plus a range of ingredients for all home-bakers – allergy-sufferers included.

Expect to see gluten-free flours, soya products and xanthan gum on the shelves. “They are my super-ingredients,” she says. “When I started using them there were lots of disasters. Gluten-free pastry is especially hard to get right because gluten is what holds everything together.

“Xanthan gum is an absolute blessing. I also add it to the fondant icing when I’m making novelty and three-tier wedding cakes.

“Few people realise that the glucose syrup used to give regular icing its softness actually contains gluten-rich glucose syrup.”