I am in Orlando right now for a conference for work and was told of a bakery in Downtown Disney that had gluten-free items- Babycakes NYC. In fact it’s a Vegan bakery so it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and probably more that I’m not remembering. Luckily our hotel was just off the Disney property so I knew I had to check it out. Downtown Disney was cool to visit- I definitely easily get caught up in the magic of Disney and I need to plan a bigger trip back just for Disney World and Harry Potter land.
I’ve had mixed results with items that are basically all allergen-free as compared to just being gluten free. This past summer when I was in Philadelphia for work I visited a bakery that was free of many allergens but I loved their stuff (Sweet Freedom Bakery for those of you in the Philly-area- http://www.sweetfreedombakery.com/). Luckily Babycakes NYC at Downtown Disney has found a similar balance between being allergen-free and still making delicious desserts! I found the items to be very similar to what you find at Sweet Freedom- down to the similarities in frosting.
I knew this wasn’t a time to hold back and ordered a cookie sandwich, brownie bite, maple doughnut, vanilla cupcake, and chocolate chip cookies. I’m still feeling the affects of the sugar overload (although I am saving the chocolate chip cookies for tomorrow!). The prices were great ($14 for all that, deals like 2 cookies for $2, etc), especially considering we’re in the middle of overpriced tourist central!
The cookie sandwich I tried first because that was my favorite at Sweet Freedom in Philly and it was similarly delicious. It’s at the higher end of gluten-free cookies (not a lot of “gluten-free” taste, but probably not something a regular cookie eater would find too amazing) and it took care of a chocolate chip craving for me (rich chocolate chip taste with a touch of crispy dough taste). The frosting is a nice touch that brings it all together. Since it’s dairy free and refined sugar free the “frosting” is made from cane sugar. It isn’t like regular frosting but adds a nice moist sweet taste to the cookie. In warning it’s quite sweet.
I did enjoy the cookie sandwich, but the thing I was most surprised by and what I will finally say is my favorite was the maple doughnut! Doughnuts sometimes sound good to me, but I don’t usually crave it like cookies. The doughnut was amazing! It was very moist and the texture was very doughnut like. As well the maple was the perfect amount of sweetness to make an enjoyable but not overpowering dessert.
The brownie I had third. I’m not a super huge brownie fan so that might have something to do with it, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the brownie. It wasn’t dry, but it also wasn’t moist and the taste was pretty bland.
Finally I had the vanilla cupcake. It had the same frosting as the cookie sandwich, which I think made the cupcake taste more moist- at least on top when there was frosting. I still enjoyed the bottom part without the frosting. The one thing I noticed was that it didn’t seem to have a vanilla taste- it in fact reminded me of a slightly-lemony pound cake. I still happened to enjoy it and was a nice less sweet way to finish the top of the cupcake with the frosting.
Still have the chocolate chip cookies for tomorrow, but I really liked the ones I had in the cookie sandwich. UPDATE: I think that even non-gluten frees wouldn’t notice much of a difference between these and regular cookies. I really enjoyed them without the frosting and they reminded me a lot of the cafeteria cookies in middle school/high school I’d sneakily buy in my gluten rebellious stage.
For those visiting Disney World/the Orlando area I’d highly recommend Babycakes NYC in Downtown Disney for those looking for gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan desserts. I just would recommend not buying as many of the desserts as I did- as I type this out in the middle of my sugar crash. They also have locations in New York City and LA, plus I want to make another plug for Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philly right off Broad St and South St (I enjoyed a lot of their baked goods besides the cookie sandwich like their cupcakes).
UPDATE: Just got back from a trip to Disney World and of course made a trip to Baybcakes. I got a lot of similar things- cupcakes, cookies, and a doughnut. This time though I got a cookie crumble doughnut, which was interesting. While in general this seems like something I would absolutely love I think I preferred the maple or vanilla glazed doughnuts I had before. All the doughnut have a sort of lemon cake taste and the maple/glazed just compliments it better. For the cupcakes I tried brownie cupcakes with a mint frosting and one with a mocha frosting. The mint was my favorite definitely! Since the frosting is vegan it’s pretty artificially sweet. The mint flavor seemed to be the best to go with that kind of sweetness.
Babycakes NYC at Downtown Disney- 1674 East Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL
*Note when I Google mapped the address it placed the restaurant north of Downtown Disney. The bakery is right in Downtown Disney inside a Pollo Campero next to the LEGO store.