From LA''s trendy bakery comes the new definitive grain-free baking book that makes eating paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free diets a lot sweeter for home bakers.
From the beginning,
Sweet Laurel has been about making sweet things simple. The recipes here are indulgent yet healthful. They use just a few quality ingredients to create delicious desserts that benefit your body; all of these treats are paleo, and many are vegan and raw. From Matcha Sandwich Cookies to Salted Lemon Meringue Pie to Classic German Chocolate Cake, these treats are at once uncomplicated, beautiful, and satisfying, made only with wholesome ingredients such as almonds, coconut, cacao, and dates. Here, too, are basic staple recipes to keep with you, like grain-free vanilla extract and vegan caramel, and fancy finishes, like paleo sprinkles and dairy-free ice cream.
Whether you’re looking for simpler recipes, seeking a better approach to dessert, or struggling with an allergy that has prevented you from enjoying sweets,
Sweet Laurel will change the way you bake.
“The women behind the popular L.A. bakery have mastered delicious GF treats that require fewer than 10 ingredients—none hard to find.”
"If you''ve ever been curious about grain-free, sugar-free baking, let this be your entrée into the delicious world of possibility. After this gorgeous chocolate caramel cake with fudge frosting emerged from our test kitchen, the forks were OUT and grain-free skeptics were quickly converted."
"A collection of mega-yum recipes for everything from grain-free crackers and Southern-style biscuits to s''mores pie and tres leches cake. The best part? The ingredient lists are shockingly miniscule."
—Well + Good
“Claire Thomas and Laurel Gallucci infuse their cakes, tarts, and pies with healthy ingredients that satisfy without the sugar rush.”
"This is healthy baking that’s actually GOOD."
—Molly Sims, The Strategist
“Laurel Gallucci and Claire Thomas make grain- and refined-sugar-free desserts that are anything
but a compromise”
"If you''re a healthy baker, this is the book for you.”
“[Gallucci and Thomas] enhance recipes with high-quality ingredients, hitting the farmers market to hunt down the juiciest, ripest produce.”
“If you’re looking to bake grain-free, not just gluten-free, consider Sweet Laurel’s cookbook.”
“[A] gorgeously illustrated book.”
“This book is answered prayers. I don’t regularly eat grains and while my energy has radically improved since this shift, I have truly missed baking at home. Laurel is a genius. I trust her implicitly in the kitchen and even trusted her with my wedding cake! This is a powerful and delicious way to change your life.”
—Amanda Bacon, Moon Juice
“Sweet Laurel bakery holds secrets every person with a love of baking must know! Laurel figured out a way to add natural sweetness, texture, and flavor and love into every bite of her decadent desserts using only the best ingredients and techniques to share goodies that will fill your hearts and bellies with love.”
—Catherine McCord, Weelicious
“Sweet Laurel’s magical creations have long been a godsend to Angelenos following grain- and or dairy-free diets. Now Laurel and Claire’s indulgent yet virtuous recipes are available to all. Their debut cookbook is a beautiful resource that offers approachable techniques and ideas perfect for any home baker.”
—Candace Nelson, Sprinkles
“Laurel is my go-to resource when it comes to paleo baking. The recipes in this beautiful cookbook are easy to follow, completely refined-sugar-free and, most important, delicious beyond reason.”
—Shira Lenchewski, MS, RD, dietitian, nutritionist, and author of The Food Therapist
“Laurel and I first met over the love of coconut, and since then I have been endlessly inspired by her creations. Even for the most skilled chef or baker, gluten-free baking is intimidating- with long lists of ingredients and flours; one recipe can feel like a science project. Laurel truly has a gift. She has simplified ‘clean’ baking in a way that produces a product that is exquisitely refined, delicious, and beautiful! I am seriously so excited about this book—she''ll make a better baker out of all of us!
—Meredith Baird, Nucifera, author of Coconut Kitchen
“Laurel has redefined the art of home baking. Her desserts are a staple in my home, both for their healthy nature and the creativity she infuses in every treat. Choosing nutritious, wholesome ingredients for myself and my children is important, and Laurel’s baking has allowed us to sub out the unhealthy sweets for desserts that are even more delicious and beautiful than the sugar-heavy goods. Her Chocolate Caramel Cake is our ultimate favorite. Sometimes I even eat leftovers for breakfast! It’s safe to say Laurel’s baking has changed my life in all the best ways.”
—Jenni Kayne, designer
“For … sumptuous whole ingredient, grain-free sweet treats, this collection is a well-conceived, enticing primer.”
"The recipes in Laurel’s debut cookbook are guaranteed to become staples."
—The Chalkboard Mag
Laurel Gallucci has baked delicious treats since she could turn on the oven. After she was diagnosed with an aggressive autoimmune disorder and her doctor put her on a strict diet, she started creating recipes of her own. Excited by the encouragement of friends and family, she turned her test kitchen into Sweet Laurel Bakery.
Claire Thomas is the cofounder, creative director, and photographer of Sweet Laurel. Claire and Laurel''s shared love of old-fashioned cooking, Los Angeles history, and blush-colored roses has led to a business founded in friendship. She is also the cook, writer, and photographer behind The Kitchy Kitchen.
Sweet Laurel is a story of friendship and passion, told not through words, but through cake. It’s our story.
Let’s back up. Baking has always created memories for us. Laurel’s love of baking started when she was four or five years old. She made banana bread with her mom, and tasting the batter, was instantly hooked. Her nanny let her help make homemade snacks, and with her grandfather she made stacks of pancakes that were so tall, she couldn’t see over them. Baking became her hobby, and soon she was old enough to gain freedom in the kitchen.
Ten years later, Laurel had shelves of cookbooks and stacks of culinary magazines, the covers threadbare from flipping pages thousands of times. But her love for baking came to a dramatic halt when her life was rocked by the derailing diagnosis of an autoimmune condition, Hashimoto’s disease, and a digestive disorder. The doctor told her she would never eat chocolate cake again. But Laurel’s desire to bake remained, so she refused to accept that answer. How could she enjoy the life ahead without grains, especially gluten, dairy, and refined sugar? After all, nearly all Laurel’s homemade recipes contained at least one of these now-forbidden ingredients.
Laurel’s distress did not last long. Soon she learned the beauty of whole food ingredients: almonds, coconut, cacao, organic eggs, dates . . . and many more she never imagined could play a role in baking. She began making treats with the foods that nourished her, keeping the recipes simple. Laurel found that when working with nutrient-dense foods, fillers, thickeners, and other undesirable additions were not necessary. With just seven to ten staple ingredients, Laurel created recipes that brought back memories of her childhood baking, but they were so much more nourishing.
A few months later, Laurel shared a grain-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free chocolate caramel cake with her friend Claire. Laurel was an educator and home baker and Claire was a food blogger, so we had connected over a love of emotional baking. Claire has no food allergies or sensitivities, so when Laurel offered her the slice of cake, she didn’t provide any context. While Claire was licking her fork, Laurel smiled and asked, “So, you liked it?”
Then Laurel dropped the bomb. This delicious chocolate caramel cake with fudge frosting was completely devoid of what Claire thought were her favorite ingredients. It was wholesome, nutritious, and autoimmune friendly. Claire was floored—she had been constantly disappointed by gluten-free or vegan baked options, and was a self-described carb snob. The textures and flavors always seemed a bit off, like a photocopy of a photocopy of the thing they claimed to be. That was the moment when we knew we had to do more with that chocolate cake.
With our mouths full and plates clean, we decided to start a bakery together: Sweet Laurel.
The next few months were spent baking, tasting, and then baking some more. Inspired by the simple recipes Laurel had developed, Claire began decorating the cakes with small bouquets of edible flowers. Anything too fussy or polished just didn’t feel right. Our naked cakes, with luscious frosting, fresh jam, or gooey caramel dripping down the sides, were topped with a few organic roses, blossoming herbs, or whatever we could find at the farmer’s market. The Sweet Laurel Look—simple, feminine, and a bit romantic—was set.
But at that point we were still just two girlfriends and a bunch of cakes. We discovered what would set Sweet Laurel apart at a lunch hosted by designer and tastemaker Jenni Kayne. We weren’t just going to drop off some cakes for the ladies to enjoy; we were going to teach a class as well. Claire had done some demos at Jenni’s before and Laurel’s previous career was as a teacher, so we figured this experiment would be fun. We were an intimate eight sitting on kitchen stools around Jenni’s counter, making it more like hanging out with girlfriends than a typical class. As the class went on, we were peppered with questions: What’s the benefit of using coconut oil? Is grain-free the same as gluten-free? Why doesn’t everything taste like maple syrup if we’re using it in everything? Laurel answered all the questions with ease. The women marveled at our simple two-step method for baking the cake, and passed slices around to taste. Leftovers were promptly wrapped up for them to share with their children at home.
As we were cleaning up, one of the guests stopped by on her way out. “Do you guys do private classes?” We glanced at each other and in unison replied, “Yes!” We hadn’t really discussed it, but as people asked us about sharing recipes, catering children’s birthday parties, and hosting private classes, we realized something important was going on. We weren’t opening a bakery for anonymous customers to grab a slice of cake; we were providing a service. You know what they say: “Give a girl a cake and she’ll eat for one day. Teach a girl to bake and . . .”
We discovered that education and empowerment were becoming the cornerstones of our business. Without them, Sweet Laurel would just be another bakery—one that happens to be grain-free. It’s our constant interaction and relationships with customers, their needs, and their questions that define who we are as a company. This cookbook is a continuation of that dynamic. For everyone who can’t make it to a workshop or a private class, we have collected our recipes and knowledge in this book. Our secrets, our tips, our experiences—they’re all here.
From the beginning, Sweet Laurel has been about making sweet things simple. We aim to take the drama and judgment out of the healthy living experience by providing our customers with beautiful, delicious, and satisfying desserts; our followers with easy recipes and tips; and our community with workshops and classes. Our goal is to create an empowering, transformative, and sweet experience that makes you excited to take your next bite. Our food is indulgent yet healthful. It’s about loving the food you eat instead of punishing yourself for craving it.
Our book will give you an outlet to enjoy great-tasting grain-free, gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, dairy-free, gum-free, soy-free, and filler-free recipes that benefit your body. All of our treats are paleo, and some are vegan, raw, or nut-free as well. We’ve marked those that are vegan and nut-free with symbols at the tops of the recipes: V and NF. Most of the recipes revolve around five core ingredients, and none of them are the wacky additives you find in most “healthy” desserts. Whether you’re looking for a simpler way to bake, a better approach to dessert, or a solution to an allergy that has prevented you from enjoying sweets, we want to change the way you bake.