If you’ve been known to avoid certain foods for reasons of ethics, health or just plain vanity, chances are your thought process before any big party goes something like this:
1. I wonder if there will be anything I can eat besides slimy baby carrots at Aunt Mildred’s party.
2. No, of course there won’t.
3. I know, I’ll make [vegan/gluten-free/paleo/low-fat/sugarless] brownies!
Then, suddenly, it’s the day of the party and there’s no way in hell you’re going to cook something, even if it does come from a mix.
Thankfully, there are a few vegan and gluten-free bakeries in New York City where you can pick up cakes, cookies and pies, prepared from scratch by people who understand the finer points of specialty baking, beyond just mixing coconut oil with store-bought brownie powder.
• Candle Cafe, various locations, vegan and sometimes gluten-free
Don’t mess with a classic. Candle Cafe is one of the oldest health food restaurants in the city, having been open since 1994. They offer vegan chocoltes, vanilla, carrot, chocolate-peanut butter and banana cake and coconut cream pie. Their chocolate mousse pie, chocolate-peanut butter pie, fruit crumb pie and cheesecakes are vegan and also available gluten-free. Vegan mini cookies and phyllo pastries with cashew cream are also available. Prices range from $22 to $65. All catering orders must have 72 hours notice. Call 212-537-7179 or email email@example.com for more info.
• Tu-Lu’s Gluten-Free Bakery, 338 E. 11th St., 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., some vegan goods available
Over the counter, mini cupcakes, regular cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cookie dough balls, brownies, croutons, crackers, and even cheddar and chipotle chicken paninis are available at this wheat-less smorgasbord. There’s also a sugar-free, vegan Agave brownie for $2.95, and a selection of donuts and a pumpkin loaf that also happen to be dairy-free. For $22 to $38, you can pre-order large coffee cake, banana bread and pumpkin bread loaves, as well as chocolate chip and apple spice bundt cakes or a vanilla cheesecake. They also deliver throughout Manhattan for $30. With 48 hours notice, you can order personalized layer cakes and icings in a variety of flavors. Call 212-777-2227 for more info.
• Vegan Divas NYC, 1437 First Ave., btwn. 74th and 75th streets, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This shop offers not only vegan, but also nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free desserts. Doughnuts, muffins, cakes, brownies, cookies, pies and macaroons are on offer, with Hanukkah and holiday specials available. Same-day delivery is available throughout New York City. Call 646-499-4843 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
• BabyCakes NYC, 248 Broome St., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., vegan and gluten-free; no refined sugar or soy
With eggs, dairy, sugar, gluten, wheat and soy missing, what is in these baked goods? We’re not sure. But proprietor Erin McKenna has baked on TV with Martha Stewart, and that’s all we need to know. Cakes, donuts, cupcakes, loaves, muffins, rolls, cookies, cookie sandwiches and brownies are all represented here. Order online or head to their Lower East Side storefront.
• Blossom Bakery NYC, 174 Ninth Ave., all vegan, some raw and gluten-free selections
You might have tried their baked goods at one of the Blossom Du Jour vegan juice bars and restaurants throughout the city. For strictly baked (and raw dessert) goods, head to their Chelsea location. You can order large amounts of, say, raw key lime pie or vegan pumpkin pie by calling 48 hours ahead of time. For more information, call 212-242-3339.
• Jennifer’s Way Bakery, 263 E. 10th St., all gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease
This East Village wins the award for most celiac-friendly — and perhaps, most interesting backstory. It’s owned by Jennifer Esposito, who starred in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer before become an advocate for people with celiac disease. Now, she divides her times between acting and maintaining her bakery. You can order her bagels, donuts, rolls, cookies and quinoa cake online or stop by the bakery. As a bonus, orders are 15 percent off with the coupon code HOLIDAY until Jan. 1. Call 646-682-9501 for more information.
• Juice Press, various locations, raw vegan
If all else fails, head to one of Juice Press’s 21 New York City locations and pick up a slice of their raw vegan pumpkin pie. You might not have enough to share with the rest of the party, but at least you will be happy and full.