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Gluten-Free Bakery Proves Stronger than a Superstorm

Lake Hiawatha's The CakeOver Bakery, six months after its opening, is thriving.

We've been wanting to check back with Lake Hiawatha's The . Our first contact with the enterprise and its enterprising owner Alison Teperman came just as she was preparing to open its doors last October—mere days before Superstorm Sandy hit.

At the time, Teperman was faced with serious challenges—dealing with her own power outage, getting the store open and finding new customers when most people were focused on life and death issues or dealing with the loss of power or fallen trees. But she met it head on with aplomb and continued her efforts to spread the word about her business.

And it's paying off: The bakery, she says, is progressing positively. Already The CakeOver was voted the third best bakery in Morris and Essex counties by Morris/Essex Health & Life magazine. And it will be featured at the publication's May 1 Best of the Best Expo at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park.

So, yes, this seems the perfect time to shine our spotlight on Teperman and The CakeOver.

1.  Your opening coincided with a horrible storm. How did you weather it and how have things gone for the new bakery since?

Well, we were scheduled to be open Oct. 23. That just didn't happen.  We didn't lose much product, but it did throw things off. First we took care of family and then cleaned up here,  and took it in stride. Other people lost so much more than we did and had no power for weeks after we got ours back so we can't complain. we opened  about a week later, with VERY limited items and everyone was understanding and thankful. 

2.  Why do you think Lake Hiawathans are responding so positively?

Maybe because we offer a need, not just a sweet tooth craving. Maybe because [our products are] not totally sweet, because we as a society do [use] too much sugar and fat.  Everyone is more conscious today and we try to listen. Also, there are not many bakeries locally, and definitely not a gluten-free one.  Lake Hiawatha as well as surrounding areas are responding wonderfully.

3.  Do you do all the baking yourself, and when do you do it? If someone else is the baker, where does that happen?  

I do most of the baking. I do have two wonderful ladies who help me. We bake all the time. Gluten-free baking is different and more tricky than 

4.  What are your three best-selling items, and why do you think that is?

Hmmmm.... hard to say. Out of the cupcakes, carrot, pumpkin and red velvet. Rugelach and brownies and coffee cake. And out of the cookies,  probably almond crescents and chocolate chip cookies. It's hard to say. Everyone has a different palette.

5.  Why Parsippany?  

We looked at over 20 spots. Taking into account location, location and finances... [the best place was] Parsippany. Lake Hiawatha is convenient to Montville, Pine Brook and other towns. People travel for their gluten-free foods, and this seemed to be a well-located spot, convenient to major highways, whether you come from Sparta (which people do!), or Wayne, or even Blairstown! We are very lucky so far and hope to keep it going!

Gabriella Ferguson April 11, 2013 at 12:36 PM
We are so greatful to you for bringing gluten free to our area! Baked goods are delicious! Thanks Alison! Good luck!
carl b April 11, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Does anyone know if they are baking gluten-free bread?
Gabriella Ferguson April 15, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Not yet, but I think it's on there agenda.

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