Gluten Free Entrepreneurs: Asha Carroll, Cake in a Crate

Everyone loves eating yummy baked goods. Cake in a Crate makes it easy and fun to make delicious desserts from scratch that are gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free, by providing all the ingredients you need with instructions in one convenient package!

We had the pleasure of meeting Asha Carroll, founder of Cake in a Crate, in our favorite city (New York City) for a drink. She shared her gluten free story and insights on the launch of her company Cake in a Crate.

What lead you to a gluten free and allergy free lifestyle?

I was diagnosed as hypoglycemic when I was 15, so starting then, I had to adjust my diet and would constantly eat snacks throughout the day to avoid feeling light-headed or worse. Senior year of college, I started having more serious crashes, low energy, and fatigue. I gained 30 pounds that year. I finally reached a breaking point and realized that my struggles were caused by my diet. (Disclaimer: I grew up in the Midwest, where I ate a ton of processed foods and bread, so that probably didn’t help matters.) Determined to find a solution, I tried a paleo-type diet for one month and though I started to feel better, but couldn’t sustain it (hello, cupcakes). The summer after, I finally stopped eating gluten altogether and started to feel like myself again. With proper diet and exercise, I lost the weight and I got my energy back. I also began to stay away from foods containing a large list of ingredients and focused on plant-based options (and decided to go vegan as well). 

What was your biggest challenge after going gluten free and vegan?

CUPCAKES! I am such a sweet tooth. I couldn’t handle life without cupcakes! It was the worst. Buying gluten free/vegan desserts became so expensive, and they always seemed so lacking to me... Dessert is almost always better when you make it yourself, but I hadn't gotten that far yet. I started browsing Pinterest, and that's when things began to change.

What sparked your idea for Cake in a Crate? 

The first gluten-free recipe I tried at home was a no-bake carrot cake. I lived in Inwood at the time (a neighborhood on the northern tip of Manhattan island), and there weren’t many grocery or bakery options nearby. I didn’t have any of the ingredients that I needed on hand, so I would have to seek them out, always purchasing more than what was needed, and at the end of the day, the quality I was used to in home baked goods just wasn’t there. I thought, why is it so difficult to develop good recipes? There had to be a better and easier way. So I became obsessed with gluten free and vegan baking, determined to create better desserts. It was a difficult start, and I practiced a lot, often testing out my new creations on friends at dinner parties. Only after people asked what the ingredients were would I reveal that they were gluten free and vegan, and it got my wheels turning.

What’s your dream for Cake in a Crate? 

My number one priority is to build a strong community for alternative baking and to keep bringing people delicious recipes. At this time, we're committed to building a nationwide presence, and I'm excited to see how we grow from here.

What keeps you motivated? 

Customers! I love hearing from them. It's humbling to see how many people we've been able to help and how much of a need there really is for our product. I love enabling people to bake (and eat) together. 

What’s your advice to other gluten free entrepreneurs?

  1. Know your audience. Figure out what they are absolutely fanatical about. We have an awesome community that wants to be heard, so just listen. This is the best research you can do.
  2. Be bold. There are still so many untapped ideas just waiting to be brought to the table in the gluten free market, so get creative and put yourself out there. Also, stay connected and meet everyone that you can. You never know who will become part of your story.
  3. Let your passion drive you! Food is a passionate sensory experience, so whether you’re creating a product, a restaurant, etc., you can’t take yourself too seriously. Your motivation has to come from passion for good food and a genuine love for what you are doing. That will lead you to success more than anything else.

Any last words to our followers? 

Never say no to cupcakes. I refused to do so, and it's gotten me this far :)

To learn more about Cake in a Crate, clink the link to check out their website! 

We love to meet and hear about entrepreneurs that make gluten free living easier and more delicious! If you are or know someone who has done awesome things for the gluten free community, like Asha, contact us and let us know. We always love meeting other gluten free foodies!