Sweet Freedom: Philadelphia’s Gluten Free & Vegan Bakery Review

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At the 2009 NFCA Appetite for Awareness event, I had the pleasure of meeting Allison Lubert & Heather Esposito also known as the dynamos behind Sweet Freedom Bakery.  After a wondrous sample of their gluten free cupcakes, I anxiously counted the days till their mid-January 2010 opening in Philadelphia, PA.  Sweet Freedom’s baked goods are not only gluten-free (score!), but vegan (dairy-free, casein-free, egg-free) and without corn, peanuts, and soy.  It was overwhelmingly amazing to walk into a bakery and be able to eat every single item on the menu!  Note to self: restraint is key when visiting Sweet Freedom.

Our venture into Philly started off as any typical day in early 2010…with snow.   Undaunted by the forecast of (sigh, yet another) two feet, we loaded Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the car and headed towards the City of  Brotherly Love.  Once on South Street, we easily found metered parking right in front of the bakery (probably due to the impending blizzard barreling our way).  Having obsessively studied the bakery menu, I was prepared to order.  That was until I stood witness to the rows of muffins, cupcakes, and cobblers calling my name.  Our first selection was a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich.  I’m not sure what excited the children more, the fact that they were eating a “sandwich” that was actually a cookie or the fact that their Mommy Dearest was (willingly) sharing her gluten free goodies with them.  Yes, I admit, I have a tad bit of difficulty sharing.  Keep in mind that my hubby and kiddos can eat gluten, so I feel totally justified in threatening to administer a karate chop if they venture near my gluten free stash.  But I digress…The Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) was utterly fabulous!

We then moved on to the Magic Bars ($2.75 single/$30.75 dozen).  Oooh, these were good. We barely left room for one chocolate and one vanilla cupcake ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) iced to perfection.  Unfortunately, Thing 1 and Thing 2 gobbled the cupcakes up in record time, so the photo opportunity was missed.


  • Delectable vegan baked goods free from gluten, corn, peanuts, and soy.
  • Dedicated gluten-free facility.
  • Fresh baked daily.


  • Pricing.  While I completely understand that the price point for gluten free baking is higher, I felt that $38.50 for a dozen cupcakes seemed excessive.
  • Unless you are lucky enough to find a metered spot, parking in the adjacent lot was pricey ($10.00).

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Maureen Stanley was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2005. Way back before gluten-free was “mainstream“. Maureen created Hold The Gluten blog and podcast in 2008 as a way to connect members of the gluten-free community across the world.


  1. It’s great to see more gluten free companies, I think as awareness and supply increases, prices..both for the raw ingredients and retail prices as well, will drop

  2. The bakery is unbelievable. I live in Philadelphia and can’t say enough about how amazing the food is and how wonderful Allison and Heather are.

  3. I am concurrently dealing with gluten as well as Candida so I am not only unable to eat Gluten Free anything in a box but any bakeries because of the sugar issue. : …(
    I noticed on the menu they dont use refined sugar…I am wondering if you know what they do use. I use Xylitol for my recipes but it is granulated and expensive 2 issues right there. But hey it is better than nothing! I make my own desserts of course but wondered if any bakeries might also be using this sugar substitute.
    Would love to see you blog on this issue!
    Also I facebooked your carrot cake recipe blog and plan on substituting the sugar content. ; D
    Thank you soooo much!

  4. I have celiac and always looking for restraurants that I will be comfortable with their menues. I live in Atlantic City, N.J. o8401

  5. Do they have any other branches besides the one in Philly? Would love to try out those goodies. But you’re right, $30++ for a dozen cupcakes is a bit steep.

  6. The cupcakes sound a bit pricey but that choc chip cookie sandwich looks absolutely amazing! Wish I could go there….

  7. The food looks delicious, not to mention healthy compared to other baked products. They just prove that food can be delicious even without gluten and other dairy stuff.

  8. I’ve already got tickets to fly to Philly for an Eagles game this year. Guess where I’ll be stopping?

    Yes even football fans can eat healthy. Now if they would just set up a booth at the Linc. 🙂

    – M

  9. I have just started the Gluten Free diet. Thanks so much for showing me that there are lots of options out there! …yummy looking ones too! 🙂

  10. I’d love to have that Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich right now. Problem is I am working in Paris at the moment and the chance of a gluten free bakery is absolutely zero. Good thing I am not in Philadelphia or I would be putting on loads of weight.

  11. You should try making the cupcakes with quinoa it´s an ancient grain with a complete distrubution of amino acids and protein. Great to replace wheat.

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