Talking Nut-Free Treats With ... Simply Sweet Creations
Let me be very honest here, nut-free bakeries are hard to find. So when I find one, I am a little anxious, hoping that I love their baked goods, and a little ecstatic — all at the same time. On a recent visit to Chicago — my hometown — I stopped by Simply Sweet Creations, a custom bakery that is nut-free in Oak Lawn, IL. Not only are their cupcakes moist and delicious, but there are so many fun flavors to choose from. I sampled the Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcake, Neapolitan Cupcake, and the Vanilla Icing/Chocolate Cake Cupcake. All three were amazing, with my personal favorite being the Neapolitan. Adriana, the owner and self-taught cake decorator, was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions about Simply Sweet Creations, and I am excited to share her story.
Q: What is the story behind Simply Sweet Creations?
A: I’ve always enjoyed baking with my mom. When I was younger, I remember playing pretend as if I had a TV show on the Food Network with my younger sister. But after graduating with a business degree, studying abroad, and working for large financial institutions, I became comfortable with a successful career in commercial lending. However, I always wanted to have a bakery that would bring the same warm nostalgia I felt growing up to others. My business started as a hobby, making cakes for family and friends on the weekends just because I enjoyed it. Soon, I had a small client base and the majority of our clients had allergy restrictions. Fortunately, I don’t have peanut/tree nut allergies in my family but I knew there was a need for a nut-free bakery in the community. So I left my banking career and took a chance on making a dream into reality by starting Simply Sweet Creations. We focus on providing custom cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, and cookies with the utmost attention to detail.
Q: I know your cupcake flavors change all the time, so what’s your favorite and which is your top seller?
A: I love the challenge of coming up with new cupcake flavors every week. My favorite is probably our Key Lime Pie Cupcake. We use the juice and zest of fresh key limes, but the best part about it is the delicious graham cracker crust underneath the cupcake and key lime cream cheese frosting. Our best-selling cupcake flavor is Triple Chocolate Cupcake, which is a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chips, chocolate frosting and chocolate drizzle.
Q: What has been the response to your nut-free business? Do you find that you have patrons without nut allergies?
A: We have had such an overwhelmingly positive response to our nut-free bakery. Although we’ve been nut-free since we opened in 2013, we started offering vegan, gluten-free and soy-free options about two years ago. Clients continuously say that there’s no other bakery that offers the variety and combination of allergen-friendly sweets in the Chicagoland area. We also have many loyal clients that do not have nut allergies, but love our moist cakes/cupcakes, as well as our Italian buttercream made from scratch. We don’t use American buttercream. All of our cupcakes are frosted with the light and creamy Italian meringue buttercream our clients love. It’s more time-consuming to make, but definitely worth it.
Q: What are your goals for Simply Sweet Creations over the next five years?
A: Our plan over the next few years is to expand to a bigger location and offer a larger selection of sweets available for walk-ins. Right now we focus on custom cakes and desserts but would love to offer a variety of cookies, pies, muffins, donuts, and even ice cream. We are passionate about what we do, and we are committed to providing a safe place for our clients to enjoy delicious desserts.