CREATING a RECIPE for SUCCESS Delicious Cakes Safe for Delicate Palates By Jen Forsyth I n April of 2006, Cathy and her husband Benjamin were travelling with their then-infant daughter Madalyn when some- thing went terribly wrong. “We were in Columbus, Ohio, on vacation. We were driving to my husband’s cousin’s house when Madalyn started projectile vomiting. I never had seen that before! She had a lot of skin issues as an infant. She had horrible eczema. When she started projectile vomiting, we took her to the hospital. They kept her for a couple hours, but they weren’t sure what was wrong, so they sent us home.” “So we went back to my husband’s cousin’s house and spent the night. The next day, I gave Madalyn some Gerber puffs at their condo, and then we went out to eat. When we got to the restaurant, my husband said, ‘Madalyn doesn’t look right.’ I looked at her, and, her face was get- ting bigger and bigger and swelling shut.” Not knowing where the nearest hospital was, the Burnheimers raced to the closest pharmacy and purchased Benadryl, which thankfully saved Madalyn. Upon returning home to Pittsburgh, Pa., Madalyn was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital, where she was officially diagnosed with allergies to wheat, eggs, and peanuts. A few months later, Madalyn turned one year old. Burnheimer wanted to make the occasion special, considering what the family had been through, and also make sure her daughter had a big cake to celebrate with, but she didn’t know how. “This was the first time I had ever not worked since I was 15, and my husband worked long hours, so I had a lot of time on my hands,” the former sales rep explained. “That was when Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman, was really popular. I would just watch it. I was so intrigued that you could do that. It was art, but with food. Both of my grandmas were very artistic. I learned in my 30s I am artistic. I just had to find my medium.” Burnheimer’s medium was confections. In the months leading up to her daughter’s birthday, she played around with fondant, and she made Madalyn a cake that was safe for her to eat. So how do you make a delicious cake without any wheat or eggs that isn’t contaminated by peanut products? Burnheimer says it’s all about finding the right ingredients. For example, rice-based flour can be used instead of regular flour, and an egg substitute can be used in place of eggs. Over the past year, Burnheimer has even expanded to offer choco- late peanut-free and dairy-free cakes. “I’ve been in business for eight years, but I’ve been playing with cake for eleven,” she explains. And she has definitely hit the sweet spot between scrumptious and allergen-free delights. While Burnheimer’s business has expanded drastically, she likes to remind people of the rea- son she got into business in the first place.