Yum Baked Goods offers gluten-free goodies

People who suffer from celiac disease often get the short end of the stick when it comes to food. The way celiac affects the body is by causing severe inflammation whenever gluten is consumed, making it difficult for those who are diagnosed to find meals and snacks that won’t harm them.

When Yum Baked Goods owner Kim Brown and her sister were both diagnosed with celiac, they realized how slim the options were for bakery treats in particular. Gluten is most commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye, which practically eliminates every sweet from the celiac diet.

Brown says the lack of dessert options was incredibly frustrating, and she knew she wasn’t the only one suffering.

After moving back to the Mt. Pleasant area in 2015 to get married, Brown was too far away from her job in the automotive industry downstate and she decided to retire.

“I spent about a year getting back into Mt. Pleasant and [baking] was always my passion,” she says. “So I decided to go ahead and start the business, so we've been doing this since 2017.”

Using a homemade blend of different wheat-free flours, Brown can make practically any baked good.

“I've got a few people that like French macarons, and we do them dairy-free, and whip those up for them,” she says. “I work with people. If they're missing or longing for something, I will go out of my way to make sure that I can put that together.”

Kim Brown makes her baked goods in her own home, catering to those with specific dietary needs.

Operating under the cottage food law, Brown sells directly to customers and delivers their treats herself. She is also able to sell at the farmer's market when it’s in season.

The law does restrict her from making certain desserts like cheesecake because it would require her to have a commercial-grade fridge. But she says developing personal relationships with customers makes up for it.

“I have a very solid foundation of clients that know they can count on me,” Brown says. “They know that what they're getting is 100% safe, and I think that's critical.”

With more people discovering that they have celiac, or general gluten intolerance, the gluten-free diet has become popular over the last several years. This has had a positive impact on the number of options for people with celiac, Brown says, but it’s also caused food service workers to take the issue less seriously.

Kim Brown displays her cupcakes on her kitchen counter while she mixes ingredients for other baked goods.
“They think I'm just being persnickety, or it's just miserable people on those funky diets like keto, or if you're doing Mediterranean or whatever it is, so that I think is a little bit of a struggle, in terms of people that legitimately have to deal with this,” she says. “And I'm not saying that if you are sensitive or if you're intolerant it isn’t as serious, but when you're talking about celiac disease, you're talking about a medical condition that can really harm somebody if they're cross-contacted."

Brown prides herself on always having completely safe, gluten-free ingredients. There is no chance of cross-contamination because the kitchen is completely gluten-free.

Although she’s considered starting a brick-and-mortar storefront, Brown says she’s comfortable with the business she’s built.

“I was close in 2020, and then I was glad that I didn't, so I'm busy probably six days a week during the summer,” she says. “And in the off months, I have something going every single week, although not by day.”

To place an order or to learn more about what Yum Baked Goods has to offer, visit yumbakedgoods.com or facebook.com/kimyumbakedgoods.
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Read more articles by Riley Connell.

Riley Connell is a senior at Central Michigan University majoring in journalism and minoring in broadcast and cinematic arts. She has written for CMU's student-run publication Grand Central Magazine for two years and is now the editor-in-chief. After obtaining her degree, Riley would like to become a full-time feature writer. In her free time, Riley enjoys listening to music, trying new food, and collecting vintage clothing. She grew up in Metro Detroit and currently resides in Mt. Pleasant.