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{"id":992908574767,"title":"Interview with Amy Tan, Owner and Baker of Cake Girl in Los Angeles, California","handle":"copy-of-interview-with-amy-tan-owner-and-baker-of-cake-girl-in-los-angeles-california","description":"\u003ch2\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/glutenfreeglobalicious\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eby Lori Miller\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/hellocakegirl\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eAmy Tan\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e is the GF \u0026amp; Vegan Baker of Cake Girl, located inside the historic St Louis Drug Pharmacy in Los Angeles, (Boyle Heights area), California. \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/hellocakegirl.com\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eCake Girl\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e occupies what used to be a soda fountain counter. Amy and her fiance\/business partner Andres were able to keep the original counter, pastry fridge, and stools as historical decor. Cake Girl specializes in 100% gluten-free baked donuts, cakes and cupcakes. They are located on the corner of 1st street \u0026amp; St Louis right across from the Hollenbeck Police Station. Find can read my interview with Amy below!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: Which food issues are you challenged with?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI’ve been lactose intolerant as far back as I can remember. I just never knew. Whenever I consumed dairy products, my body would feel horrible, and I would get an upset tummy. Just recently over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to gluten and wheat products. After eating a slice of bread, I would immediately feel tired, sluggish and bloated. These symptoms were not because I ate a huge meal and had food coma, it was the effects of gluten and wheat on my body. I have cut out both dairy and gluten from my diet. Both of my parents are lactose intolerant as well.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag:\u003c\/span\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eHow old were you when you decided that baking was your future?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eGrowing up, I was always in our home kitchen helping my father prep for dinner. He had muscular dystrophy, so over the years, daily tasks became more difficult for him to execute. He taught me how to cook and gave me a lot of freedom and creativity whether it was preparing meals or baking. In my early 20’s I decided to focus on baking. I was going to college, and the classes I was taking for my major did not interest me. I would bake recipes I was interested in, instead of writing a paper or reading assigned chapters. My boyfriend at the time Andres (now fiancée\/business partner) would always encourage and support my passion. That was when I enrolled myself in baking school.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhere did you train to do GF baking? Are you self-taught or did you attend a pastry program? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI am a self-taught gluten-free baker. After a lot of trial \u0026amp; error and experimenting with mixing different types of flours, I achieved the right blend and consistency. When I enrolled in baking school, I learned French techniques. A majority of the pastries I learned to make had egg, dairy, and gluten. I was unable to eat my creations. At the time when I signed up for baking school, there were very few options for alternative baking in Los Angeles.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirldonuts_large.jpg?v=1539451512\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhich country's pastries do you favor? For example - \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eItalian pastry? Maybe French?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is a hard question! I grew up eating a lot of Chinese pastries, Chinese pastries with French influence, Mexican pastries, and American pastries. I try to incorporate many of my childhood memories into what I make today.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eCan your GF creations only be purchased at Cake Girl or do you take orders or sell at Farmers Markets or sell wholesale to markets?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBesides my storefront, my gluten-free baked goods can be purchased at a few local coffee shops. Holy Grounds Coffee \u0026amp; Tea in El Sereno have my brownies and baked churro donuts. Two Kids Coffee in South Pasadena carries my baked donuts almost daily.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirlbrown_large.jpg?v=1539452020\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eDo you have a set menu that you make for Cake Girl or do you rotate? For example seasonally?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eA few favorite items are set on the menu. I do offer many seasonal items. Now that Fall is coming up, we are offering maple cinnamon cupcakes, pumpkin spice cupcakes and pumpkin donuts with maple glaze or cinnamon sugar.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat are some of your best-selling GF goodies? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBest selling gluten-free goodies would be the baked donuts. The popular flavors are matcha, hibiscus lemon, strawberry, chocolate, and churro. For cupcakes, the sunbutter + jam is really popular. It’s like a pb\u0026amp;j without nuts, made with sunflower seeds. We are an allergy-friendly bakery. Everything is free from eggs, dairy, nuts, all vegan and mostly gluten-free. I say mostly gluten-free because I  have one bread item that I have not made gluten-free yet, but it is not offered at the shop and only for preorder.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat is your earliest food memory? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy earliest food memory was with my Father. He cooked for a living, making Chinese BBQ in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. At a young age, he taught me how to cook, for the reason that (1) he had muscular dystrophy and the task of cooking was getting hard on his body and (2) for me to learn and cook for myself one day. My father was such an inspiration to me. He always encouraged my passion. He passed earlier this year, but I know he is proud.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat was your favorite food as a child?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy favorite childhood food would be Long Life Noodles (Yi Mein). It’s a noodle dish stir-fried with shitake mushrooms, usually eaten as a birthday dish. It is a simple dish, but it always reminds me of family events and gatherings. Though now I substitute the noodles with a rice noodle option.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirlcupcakes_large.jpg?v=1539451664\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat is your favorite food today?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy favorite food today is any potato dish. I am a carb lover, and any potato dish will make me happy, whether its French fries, plain boiled potato, mash potatoes…etc. Sounds silly, but it’s true.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhich of the GF products that you make is your favorite?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe gluten-free products that I make and are my favorites are biscuits and baked donuts. I offer three biscuit options: vegan cheese with salsa verde, vegan coconut bacon with maple glaze and a strawberry jam. But my all time favorite would be the vegan cheese with salsa verde. For donuts, my favorite is chocolate dipped.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat do you enjoy doing on your time off? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOn my time off, I enjoy spending time with my family.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWould you like to add anything else for our readers? Any events you'll be doing in the next few months? Any travel plans? Any culinary training events?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI don’t have much time for events or pop-ups, but I am having a pop-up bake sale Saturday, October 20th for the South Pasadena Arts Crawl. Marz Bazaar Gifts will be featuring Cake Girl along with my friend Confetti Fiesta. The event is free and is from 5p-9p. I will be selling Fall inspired baked goods that are gluten-free and vegan.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e","published_at":"2018-10-11T17:01:44-07:00","created_at":"2018-10-19T09:32:41-07:00","vendor":"GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine","type":"International GF Bakery \u0026 Cafe Interviews","tags":["Amy Tan","Cake Girl Bakery","Gluten-free","Gluten-free Bakeries USA","Gluten-free Bakery","Gluten-free Baking","Gluten-free California","Gluten-free Food","Gluten-free Foodies","Gluten-free Los Angeles","Gluten-free Travel","Gluten-free USA","GlutenfreeGlobalicious","GlutenfreeGlobalicious Interviews","GlutenfreeGlobalicious Magazine"],"price":0,"price_min":0,"price_max":0,"available":true,"price_varies":false,"compare_at_price":null,"compare_at_price_min":0,"compare_at_price_max":0,"compare_at_price_varies":false,"variants":[{"id":9553143070767,"title":"Default Title","option1":"Default Title","option2":null,"option3":null,"sku":"","requires_shipping":true,"taxable":true,"featured_image":null,"available":true,"name":"Interview with Amy Tan, Owner and Baker of Cake Girl in Los Angeles, California","public_title":null,"options":["Default Title"],"price":0,"weight":0,"compare_at_price":null,"inventory_management":null,"barcode":""}],"images":["\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/Cakegirl_d51d5cfb-72f7-4fb4-b7e5-9052394e49cc.jpg?v=1539966762"],"featured_image":"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/products\/Cakegirl_d51d5cfb-72f7-4fb4-b7e5-9052394e49cc.jpg?v=1539966762","options":["Title"],"content":"\u003ch2\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/glutenfreeglobalicious\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eby Lori Miller\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/hellocakegirl\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eAmy Tan\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e is the GF \u0026amp; Vegan Baker of Cake Girl, located inside the historic St Louis Drug Pharmacy in Los Angeles, (Boyle Heights area), California. \u003cstrong\u003e\u003ca href=\"http:\/\/hellocakegirl.com\/\" target=\"_blank\" rel=\"noopener noreferrer\"\u003eCake Girl\u003c\/a\u003e\u003c\/strong\u003e occupies what used to be a soda fountain counter. Amy and her fiance\/business partner Andres were able to keep the original counter, pastry fridge, and stools as historical decor. Cake Girl specializes in 100% gluten-free baked donuts, cakes and cupcakes. They are located on the corner of 1st street \u0026amp; St Louis right across from the Hollenbeck Police Station. Find can read my interview with Amy below!\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: Which food issues are you challenged with?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI’ve been lactose intolerant as far back as I can remember. I just never knew. Whenever I consumed dairy products, my body would feel horrible, and I would get an upset tummy. Just recently over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to gluten and wheat products. After eating a slice of bread, I would immediately feel tired, sluggish and bloated. These symptoms were not because I ate a huge meal and had food coma, it was the effects of gluten and wheat on my body. I have cut out both dairy and gluten from my diet. Both of my parents are lactose intolerant as well.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag:\u003c\/span\u003e \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eHow old were you when you decided that baking was your future?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eGrowing up, I was always in our home kitchen helping my father prep for dinner. He had muscular dystrophy, so over the years, daily tasks became more difficult for him to execute. He taught me how to cook and gave me a lot of freedom and creativity whether it was preparing meals or baking. In my early 20’s I decided to focus on baking. I was going to college, and the classes I was taking for my major did not interest me. I would bake recipes I was interested in, instead of writing a paper or reading assigned chapters. My boyfriend at the time Andres (now fiancée\/business partner) would always encourage and support my passion. That was when I enrolled myself in baking school.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhere did you train to do GF baking? Are you self-taught or did you attend a pastry program? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI am a self-taught gluten-free baker. After a lot of trial \u0026amp; error and experimenting with mixing different types of flours, I achieved the right blend and consistency. When I enrolled in baking school, I learned French techniques. A majority of the pastries I learned to make had egg, dairy, and gluten. I was unable to eat my creations. At the time when I signed up for baking school, there were very few options for alternative baking in Los Angeles.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirldonuts_large.jpg?v=1539451512\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhich country's pastries do you favor? For example - \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eItalian pastry? Maybe French?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThis is a hard question! I grew up eating a lot of Chinese pastries, Chinese pastries with French influence, Mexican pastries, and American pastries. I try to incorporate many of my childhood memories into what I make today.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eCan your GF creations only be purchased at Cake Girl or do you take orders or sell at Farmers Markets or sell wholesale to markets?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBesides my storefront, my gluten-free baked goods can be purchased at a few local coffee shops. Holy Grounds Coffee \u0026amp; Tea in El Sereno have my brownies and baked churro donuts. Two Kids Coffee in South Pasadena carries my baked donuts almost daily.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirlbrown_large.jpg?v=1539452020\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eDo you have a set menu that you make for Cake Girl or do you rotate? For example seasonally?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eA few favorite items are set on the menu. I do offer many seasonal items. Now that Fall is coming up, we are offering maple cinnamon cupcakes, pumpkin spice cupcakes and pumpkin donuts with maple glaze or cinnamon sugar.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat are some of your best-selling GF goodies? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBest selling gluten-free goodies would be the baked donuts. The popular flavors are matcha, hibiscus lemon, strawberry, chocolate, and churro. For cupcakes, the sunbutter + jam is really popular. It’s like a pb\u0026amp;j without nuts, made with sunflower seeds. We are an allergy-friendly bakery. Everything is free from eggs, dairy, nuts, all vegan and mostly gluten-free. I say mostly gluten-free because I  have one bread item that I have not made gluten-free yet, but it is not offered at the shop and only for preorder.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat is your earliest food memory? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy earliest food memory was with my Father. He cooked for a living, making Chinese BBQ in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. At a young age, he taught me how to cook, for the reason that (1) he had muscular dystrophy and the task of cooking was getting hard on his body and (2) for me to learn and cook for myself one day. My father was such an inspiration to me. He always encouraged my passion. He passed earlier this year, but I know he is proud.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat was your favorite food as a child?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy favorite childhood food would be Long Life Noodles (Yi Mein). It’s a noodle dish stir-fried with shitake mushrooms, usually eaten as a birthday dish. It is a simple dish, but it always reminds me of family events and gatherings. Though now I substitute the noodles with a rice noodle option.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0027\/9796\/1263\/files\/cakegirlcupcakes_large.jpg?v=1539451664\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat is your favorite food today?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eMy favorite food today is any potato dish. I am a carb lover, and any potato dish will make me happy, whether its French fries, plain boiled potato, mash potatoes…etc. Sounds silly, but it’s true.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhich of the GF products that you make is your favorite?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe gluten-free products that I make and are my favorites are biscuits and baked donuts. I offer three biscuit options: vegan cheese with salsa verde, vegan coconut bacon with maple glaze and a strawberry jam. But my all time favorite would be the vegan cheese with salsa verde. For donuts, my favorite is chocolate dipped.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWhat do you enjoy doing on your time off? \u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOn my time off, I enjoy spending time with my family.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2\u003e\n\u003cspan\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eGFG Mag: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003cspan style=\"color: #ff0000;\"\u003eWould you like to add anything else for our readers? Any events you'll be doing in the next few months? Any travel plans? Any culinary training events?\u003c\/span\u003e\n\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eI don’t have much time for events or pop-ups, but I am having a pop-up bake sale Saturday, October 20th for the South Pasadena Arts Crawl. Marz Bazaar Gifts will be featuring Cake Girl along with my friend Confetti Fiesta. The event is free and is from 5p-9p. I will be selling Fall inspired baked goods that are gluten-free and vegan.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e \u003c\/p\u003e"}

Interview with Amy Tan, Owner and Baker of Cake Girl in Los Angeles, California

by Lori Miller

Amy Tan is the GF & Vegan Baker of Cake Girl, located inside the historic St Louis Drug Pharmacy in Los Angeles, (Boyle Heights area), California. Cake Girl occupies what used to be a soda fountain counter. Amy and her fiance/business partner Andres were able to keep the original counter, pastry fridge, and stools as historical decor. Cake Girl specializes in 100% gluten-free baked donuts, cakes and cupcakes. They are located on the corner of 1st street & St Louis right across from the Hollenbeck Police Station. Find can read my interview with Amy below!

GFG Mag: Which food issues are you challenged with?

I’ve been lactose intolerant as far back as I can remember. I just never knew. Whenever I consumed dairy products, my body would feel horrible, and I would get an upset tummy. Just recently over the years, I’ve become more sensitive to gluten and wheat products. After eating a slice of bread, I would immediately feel tired, sluggish and bloated. These symptoms were not because I ate a huge meal and had food coma, it was the effects of gluten and wheat on my body. I have cut out both dairy and gluten from my diet. Both of my parents are lactose intolerant as well.

GFG Mag: How old were you when you decided that baking was your future?

Growing up, I was always in our home kitchen helping my father prep for dinner. He had muscular dystrophy, so over the years, daily tasks became more difficult for him to execute. He taught me how to cook and gave me a lot of freedom and creativity whether it was preparing meals or baking. In my early 20’s I decided to focus on baking. I was going to college, and the classes I was taking for my major did not interest me. I would bake recipes I was interested in, instead of writing a paper or reading assigned chapters. My boyfriend at the time Andres (now fiancée/business partner) would always encourage and support my passion. That was when I enrolled myself in baking school.

GFG Mag: Where did you train to do GF baking? Are you self-taught or did you attend a pastry program? 

I am a self-taught gluten-free baker. After a lot of trial & error and experimenting with mixing different types of flours, I achieved the right blend and consistency. When I enrolled in baking school, I learned French techniques. A majority of the pastries I learned to make had egg, dairy, and gluten. I was unable to eat my creations. At the time when I signed up for baking school, there were very few options for alternative baking in Los Angeles.

GFG Mag: Which country's pastries do you favor? For example - Italian pastry? Maybe French?

This is a hard question! I grew up eating a lot of Chinese pastries, Chinese pastries with French influence, Mexican pastries, and American pastries. I try to incorporate many of my childhood memories into what I make today.

GFG Mag: Can your GF creations only be purchased at Cake Girl or do you take orders or sell at Farmers Markets or sell wholesale to markets?

Besides my storefront, my gluten-free baked goods can be purchased at a few local coffee shops. Holy Grounds Coffee & Tea in El Sereno have my brownies and baked churro donuts. Two Kids Coffee in South Pasadena carries my baked donuts almost daily.

GFG Mag: Do you have a set menu that you make for Cake Girl or do you rotate? For example seasonally?

A few favorite items are set on the menu. I do offer many seasonal items. Now that Fall is coming up, we are offering maple cinnamon cupcakes, pumpkin spice cupcakes and pumpkin donuts with maple glaze or cinnamon sugar.

 

GFG Mag: What are some of your best-selling GF goodies? 

Best selling gluten-free goodies would be the baked donuts. The popular flavors are matcha, hibiscus lemon, strawberry, chocolate, and churro. For cupcakes, the sunbutter + jam is really popular. It’s like a pb&j without nuts, made with sunflower seeds. We are an allergy-friendly bakery. Everything is free from eggs, dairy, nuts, all vegan and mostly gluten-free. I say mostly gluten-free because I  have one bread item that I have not made gluten-free yet, but it is not offered at the shop and only for preorder.

GFG Mag: What is your earliest food memory? 

My earliest food memory was with my Father. He cooked for a living, making Chinese BBQ in Los Angeles’ Chinatown. At a young age, he taught me how to cook, for the reason that (1) he had muscular dystrophy and the task of cooking was getting hard on his body and (2) for me to learn and cook for myself one day. My father was such an inspiration to me. He always encouraged my passion. He passed earlier this year, but I know he is proud.

GFG Mag: What was your favorite food as a child?

My favorite childhood food would be Long Life Noodles (Yi Mein). It’s a noodle dish stir-fried with shitake mushrooms, usually eaten as a birthday dish. It is a simple dish, but it always reminds me of family events and gatherings. Though now I substitute the noodles with a rice noodle option.

GFG Mag: What is your favorite food today?

My favorite food today is any potato dish. I am a carb lover, and any potato dish will make me happy, whether its French fries, plain boiled potato, mash potatoes…etc. Sounds silly, but it’s true.

GFG Mag: Which of the GF products that you make is your favorite?

The gluten-free products that I make and are my favorites are biscuits and baked donuts. I offer three biscuit options: vegan cheese with salsa verde, vegan coconut bacon with maple glaze and a strawberry jam. But my all time favorite would be the vegan cheese with salsa verde. For donuts, my favorite is chocolate dipped.

GFG Mag: What do you enjoy doing on your time off? 

On my time off, I enjoy spending time with my family.

GFG Mag: Would you like to add anything else for our readers? Any events you'll be doing in the next few months? Any travel plans? Any culinary training events?

I don’t have much time for events or pop-ups, but I am having a pop-up bake sale Saturday, October 20th for the South Pasadena Arts Crawl. Marz Bazaar Gifts will be featuring Cake Girl along with my friend Confetti Fiesta. The event is free and is from 5p-9p. I will be selling Fall inspired baked goods that are gluten-free and vegan.

 

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