When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child in early 2004 I was ecstatic but just two months into my pregnancy I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly and without warning I was fighting for my life against an aggressive form of cancer that had already spread to my lymph nodes.
As part of my battle with breast cancer I decided to radically change my diet and after taking nutritional advice removed all dairy products from my diet. Thanks to a wonderful Oncologist and an experimental course of chemotherapy which began when I was four months pregnant I gave birth to my wonderful son in November 2004. More chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a course of herceptin followed in a gruelling year and a half of treatment.
As I began to recover from the treatments I started to enjoy socialising taking Charlie to mums and toddler groups and children's parties. It didn't take long to realise that whilst Charlie could tuck into all the cakes and biscuits on offer I couldn't. The cakes that I could eat were full of additives and preservatives and certainly weren't a treat. Coming from a family passionate about baking and eating cake I had a wonderful library of family recipes to refer to so rather than feeling sorry for myself I started to experiment. My early dairy free creations were purely to allow me to indulge myself along with all my friends but they were such a hit that I was soon asked if I could bake wheat and gluten free cakes as well. Enjoying a challenge I was soon perfecting my recipes and trying them out with family and friends. Often using locally sourced, natural ingredients I found that people couldn't tell from the taste or texture that my cakes were free from wheat, gluten and dairy they just thought they were great cakes.
A year of research, experimentation, testing and enjoyable weight gain followed and when Charlie started school I was ready to launch Cake Angels, the Free From On Line Artisan Bakery. In 2011 I wrote my first book Cake Angels: Gluten, Wheat + Dairy Free Cakes published by Collins followed in 2015 by Free From Desserts published by Quadrille both books are Amazon best sellers and regularly feature in their baking top 100 books. In 2015 I changed the name of the bakery to julia + son in recognition of my story and the close bond I share with my son. All our cakes have been well and truly tested, Charlie and his friends are particularly tough customers they are brutally honest and only give the thumbs up if they really like something. Orders can be made on line or by giving us a call which a lot of our customers like to do as food allergies can be complicated. I still personally hand bake to order all our brownies, blondies and sponge tray bakes. We deliver all our cakes nationwide so each order is beautifully packaged and sent on its way to be delivered straight to your door.
I believe that wheat, gluten and dairy free doesn't have to mean taste free too and just because someone is on a restricted diet it shouldn't mean going without or making do. Cakes form such a large part of our lives, personal treats to celebrating a special occasion so it is important that no one misses out, with our cakes we hope to make everyone happy.