Before reviewing all the delicious flavors of Madrid Coffee Cakes, I wanted to get a feel for the company and what makes them so unique. Read their interview below and stay tuned for their product review in two weeks!
So you have this wonderful bakery in Marlborough, Massachusetts and are now selling delicious gluten free baked goods on line. How did you get into baking?
I guess you could say—the old fashioned way. Sergio comes from a long line of bakers. He started helping out at his father’s bakeries in Madrid, Spain when he was just 9-years-old! He was trained by master pastry chefs and bakers as an apprentice and eventually led his father’s bakery team when he turned 17. After relocating to the states, Sergio opened up his own shop, following with family tradition.
Tell us how you got into Gluten Free Baked items?
Our Gluten Free line emerged organically. Being a small family-owned bakery, we have a very personal relationship with our customers. At the bakery, we listened to disheartened customers who had eliminated gluten from their diets describe their frustration at not being able to enjoy any of our goodies. We took a step back and identified many of our traditional family recipes that were inherently grain free, many of them already customer favorites. Once we identified a few favorite recipes, we educated ourselves about how to safely produce gluten free items using top-notch isolatory methods.
We couldn’t have expected the response! Our Gluten Free products, especially our Coffee Cakes, exploded with popularity. They were already favorites amongst our customers, but now that we could serve the Gluten Free community, folks were driving in to see us from adjacent states and began asking us to ship our special Coffee Cakes across the country.
I understand you are a husband and wife team. Now that is exciting! Who does what in the business or do you share the roles?
It’s definitely fun! We are very lucky to work as a family. It is not too far from the way Sergio grew up, in his family’s business.
The division of labor is simple- Sergio is the artist. I take care of the nuts and bolts. He is quite the perfectionist when it comes to the execution of his recipes and takes much pride in preparing every cake himself—from measuring ingredients to including a little thank-you note in all of the packages.
I actually fell into this bakery-business, business, because of him. I help take care of the stuff behind the scenes. Including getting the word out there. A role that works out quite well- since I TRULY believe these cakes are amazing (eat a slice every day, actually), and Sergio is much too modest.
Being that there is a European connection here, please tell us how that has influenced your bakery and on- line gluten free baked items.
European traditions really influence all of our products to the core. Sergio learned everything he knows about the profession from European masters! The bakery actually serves the same recipes that Sergio made in his family’s bakeries back in Spain. That including the Santiago Coffee Cake that started our gluten-free online product line.
I am sure this has set you apart from the usual bakery. What are the gluten-free baked items you feature for our celiac and gluten sensitive individuals?
Our Coffee Cakes are definitely the stars. We currently have them in 8 varieties:
The traditional Tarta de Santiago (Almond), Chocolate Almond, Coconut-Almond, Lemon-Poppy Almond, Almond Anise, Hazelnut, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Pistachio-Almond. In the fall, we also offer a Pumpkin-Almond, which is amazing!
In addition to the coffee cakes, at our physical bakery, we also offer:
Pistachio Chocolate Rochers
Almond Chocolate Rochers
Are these common bread/cakes in Europe? If so, tell me us a bit of the history of gluten free baked good in Europe.
All of the Coffee Cakes are original creations that emerged from the perfection of the Classic Almond cake. This type of cake (based on Almond) has been a classic in Spain for thousands of years. In Spain, it is traditionally enjoyed as supper with coffee, tea, or milk. It’s also enjoyed as an after lunch treat (the heaviest meal of the day), usually accompanied by either coffee or “agua ardiente” (strong digestive liquor).
Many European recipes are based on the combination of a few quality ingredients, where the process of combining these ingredients is the key to complex taste. This approach leads to recipes that are potentially free of specific allergens (in our case both Gluten and Dairy), since recipes don’t call for mile-long lists of ingredients, processed foods, etc.
I see you use no dairy in your gluten free cakes. Is this also a need or preference in Europe?
Both Gluten and Dairy intolerance is a growing concern in Europe, certainly. Many traditional recipes are now being re-discovered because of these concerns. In our case, the traditional recipes and methods that are the base for our products were inherently grain and dairy free. We think that this explains the Coffee Cakes’ amazing genuine tastes. We didn’t attempt to “re-create” recipes to “convert them” into Gluten Free or Dairy Free items, and firmly believe that these Franken-foods often fall short of the original.
I always associate desserts with being a guilty pleasure. You state on your site that you are sure your coffee cakes are the healthiest coffee cakes we will ever enjoy. In your estimation makes yours the healthiest?
I think the key to the healthiness of our Coffee Cake line is the simplicity and quality of ingredients. All of our cakes are not only Gluten/Grain and Dairy Free, They are also 100% natural, free of leaveners, and free of any added fat! At the same time, they all have a substantial protein content and are high in heart healthy Omega 3s.
You also don’t use leaveners yet your cakes are incredibly light and fluffy. They really were a hit with my testers! Tell us what you use to make them rise?
The short answer is- science. Sergio is a bit fascinated with the interaction of ingredients on a scientific level. He meticulously created the Coffee Cake recipes, combining ingredient proportions down to the last milligram with the purpose of making sure that ingredients combine in a way that creates “strength” in the dough allowing the egg to rise on its own. What can I say? The man is passionate.
Do you have future plans you can share in adding any more delicious gluten free baked items? Any other European baked items which may be added to your gluten-free choices in the future? You are on the east coast yet you are shipping all over. Is there any particulars we nee to know about ordering or shipping from you?
Sergio is always developing new taste combinations. Like I mentioned, the Pumpkin-Almond Coffee Cake will be available on the website in the Fall. It has the most amazing “fall” taste! In addition to that, we’re working on getting our goodies on the shelves of quality stores, cafes, etc.
We DO ship all everywhere in the Continental U.S., Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico! We’ve developed a custom shipping system that ensures that cakes make it to any of these destinations fresh and intact. It all starts with baking the cakes AFTER folks order them from our website. Compared to cakes that you might buy off of a store shelf, which were made sometimes months before you open them, it makes for an incredibly fresh product. Most cakes also make it to their final destination within 3 business days. Something most customers don’t know is that even though all of our Coffee Cakes are 100% natural, they have an incredibly long shelf life. They stay moist, fluffy, and fresh—on your kitchen countertop—for weeks! It all comes down to that ingredient combination science Sergio loves so much.
Last but now least is there anything else you’d like to share or say?
Just that, we’re really grateful to all of the folks that are giving us a try and are choosing to support our small family business. We are overjoyed by the appreciation customers have for our artisan goods!
Miranda Jade Turbin
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.