You are what you wheat

Madwoman serves gluten-free goodies

If you're a cake-lover who's given up teacakes, cookies, cupcakes and the like in pursuit of a low-carb diet, stop moping.

Intolerant of gluten? Cheer up.

You can still indulge in your favorite treats without feeling guilty or damaging your body, thanks to a new bakeshop at 4747 Nicollet Ave. called Madwoman Foods Bakeshop and Foodery. The store offers gluten-free and low-glycemic, low-carbohydrate and low-calorie goodies that still taste great.

I dropped by the little shop to try a teacake on a recent afternoon and was delightfully surprised by the rich flavor of the healthful food.

Madwoman co-owners Bren Start and Char Lofgren offer a variety of teacake flavors, including cocoa mocha, chocolate cherry, orange cranberry, blueberry and others. As a devout blueberry freak, my decision was easy.

The 2-inch by 2-inch, pyramid-shaped teacake was served on a small paper plate and felt surprisingly heavy. The cake was chilly from sitting in the cooler and slightly sticky. Finger licking was required.

I sat down in one of the shop's oversized wrought-iron chairs, scooted up to a small table and took my first bite. A strong almond-meal flavor mixed with the zing of tart, wild blueberries engulfed my palate. The tiny teacake was dense and a bit crumbly, with just the right amount of moisture.

It was rich and filling - not at all what I was expecting from such a small morsel.

Lofgren said the teacake recipe incorporates almond-meal and Whey Low, a low-glycemic, low-calorie natural sugar substitute. She was hesitant to divulge much more.

Each teacake has 3 or 4 net carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein and very little gluten, Lofgren said.

Baking foods with little or no gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, creates obstacles for Lofgren and Start, such as finding products to stretch and raise dough, the partners said.

&#8220Every single item is a challenge,” Lofgren said. &#8220It's learning how to bake all over again.”

Lofgren is intolerant of gluten and Start has a genetic disorder called Celiac Sprue that causes gluten to damage his small intestine. About one in 133 people has the disease, according to the U.S. Celiac Sprue Association website.

Start sports a tattoo on his forearm that features a red circle and cross over a wheat stock. Small print on the circle reads &#8220no gluten.” A sign on the front door of Madwoman states that the shop &#8220bans gluten and guns in these premises.”

Though Madwoman clearly caters to the gluten-intolerant, it's a shop that shouldn't be passed over by those of us who don't have a problem with wheat.

Reach Jake Weyer at 612-436-4367 or