The first time we took my son to a birthday party for one of his friends, when everybody started singing and the birthday boy was getting ready to blow out the candles, I was by the door in near panic mode and planning the quickest escape route. My son had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy only a few months before, and I was still getting used to our new, peanut-free way of life. I was not at all prepared for this moment. I had completely forgotten about the Food Allergy Mom’s nemesis: Birthday Cake.
You see, avoiding foods that obviously have peanuts in them is easy; the hard part is staying away from foods that don’t have peanuts in them, but may have come in contact with peanuts in the manufacturing process—because it’s possible some peanut protein from one product could find its way into another. So even though most birthday cakes aren’t made with peanuts in them, they could still be a threat to my child’s health (and even life). Baked goods are, in my opinion, some of the worst offenders when it comes to possible cross-contamination with peanuts. It’s hard to find cakes, cupcakes, or even breads that don’t carry a “may contain traces of nuts” label.
And so there I was, preparing to tuck my toddler under my arm like a football and hustle him right out of his first little kid birthday party. Because there was cake. At a party.
But luckily for me, before the candle smoke had cleared, the birthday boy’s mom was at my side. She said some of the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard, “It’s okay. They’re blueberry muffins. Here’s the ingredient list if you want to double check them.”
Bless her. I could’ve cried. I didn’t have to tell my 2-year-old that he couldn’t have a cupcake. I didn’t then have to drag my screaming kid out of a birthday party because he was so upset that he couldn’t have a cupcake. He could have a “cupcake”! And the kids didn’t know the difference. That birthday party hostess (unlike me) was totally winning at being a mom.
I will never send my child to a birthday party again without some sort of cake-based plan in place. For a couple of years I was able to just make some safe cupcakes at home for my son to take to parties. But now he’s gotten wise to that game. He wants fancy, not-from-a-box cupcakes with real, not-from-a-can frosting. So I went on a search for peanut-free bakeries in Nashville. So many Food Allergy Moms I’ve talked to were interested in my findings that I decided to compile a list of bakeries in our area that cater to those with food allergies of all kinds. So whether you’re a Food Allergy Parent or a party host looking for inclusive confections, here’s a list of food allergy-friendly bakeries in the Nashville area.
Absolute Confection is a custom-order, home-based bakery run by a Food Allergy Mom. All products are peanut-free and tree nut-free. They will also accommodate for gluten, soy, egg and dairy allergies.
A home-based bakery started by a mom who has a child with severe dairy and nut allergies, Dylicious Cakes offers products free of dairy, nuts, eggs and gluten.
Located in Clarksville, TN, Nerdy Birdy Cookie Company’s products are free of gluten, grains, soy and peanut.
As the name implies, Vegan Vee is, well…vegan (no eggs, no dairy). They’re a take-out bakery, but you can also find their products in several cafes around town. Bonus: they are also a dedicated gluten-free and peanut-free facility, and they don’t use artificial colors or flavors in their products.
Over on the west side of town, you’ll find The Wild Muffin. It’s a gluten-free and peanut-free organic bakery. They’ll do custom orders, and their storefront also has a wide selection of grab-n-go items—including vegan options.