Review of an Allergy-Friendly Bakery: Dolly Doll Cupcake Co. (Ottawa)

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The Shangri-La of Allergy-Safe Places

By Lisa Ienzi

Editor’s Note: While Dolly Doll’s owner seeks out a new location for her much-loved bakery, patrons can still call in orders and request deliveries, including these awesomely allergy-friendly breakfast platters.

The idea of entering a bakery, taking in the delightful aroma, and indulging in baked goodies is something that fills most people with excitement and delight. But if you are someone with food allergies, it can unfortunately have the opposite effect.

Something so simple and enjoyable for some is often terrifying and unimaginable for others. Before I had children, I was part of the majority of the population who loved walking into bakeries. But that quickly changed when my son was diagnosed with several life-threatening allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, sesame and flax. And now, two years after that, my daughter has been diagnosed with a mustard allergy.


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

Over the years, I have come to discover many allergy-friendly bakeries in the Ottawa area, but with each new bakery I come across, we hit a new roadblock. A nut-free bakery will have dairy. A vegan bakery will have nuts. Or flax. Cue: heartbreak. But then one day, about a year ago, I discovered the Shangri-La of all bakeries, Dolly Doll Cupcake Co., and what an amazing discovery that was!


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

Dolly Doll Cupcake Co. is a quaint little bakery on the outskirts of Ottawa, nestled in the small town of North Gower, just off Highway 416 (see editor’s note, above). This fabulous spot is owned and operated by Shelley Jones, an amazing woman and fellow food allergy mom. The idea of the bakery started after Shelley’s son was born with countless allergies. She and her daughter wanted to create a safe place where their family, friends and other food-allergy families in the community would be able to go to enjoy baked goods that were both safe and delicious.


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

Dolly Doll is free of many of the top allergens, as well as some of the less common ones: peanuts, dairy, soy, egg, sesame, mustard, shellfish, sulphites, preservatives and casein. (Editor’s note: And sunflower!) They also try to accommodate other dietary needs as much as they can. They are able to provide baked goods that are sugar free, oil free, seed free, gluten free, and on top of all that, they are able to cater to those following a FODMAP diet. Countless hours have been spent working and perfecting recipes in order to provide delectable treats that meet their customer’s dietary needs. And what’s even more fabulous is that all of these recipes have been created so they can be easily altered to meet customized needs.


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

Dining out is stressful and risky for food-allergy families because we worry constantly about human error, and our loved ones coming into contact with their allergen(s) both directly and indirectly (via cross-contamination). Dolly Doll does a great job at avoiding cross contamination, by sticking with a consistent base of ingredients (10 to be exact) that have been well researched with regards to packaging and assembly. The bakery also has two baking stations with three separate mixers and four separate bowls. A great deal of time is spent sanitizing all the baking equipment and surfaces before and after each use.


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

Dolly Doll offers a wide variety of baked goods: breads, cinnamon buns, brownies, cupcakes, scones, mini donuts, and so much more. Some of my family’s absolute favourites include the apple pie, the regular and garlic soft pretzels, the chocolate chip cookies as well as the brown-sugar shortbread, and — la piece de resistance — the chocolate-chip cookie dough bars. You can browse Dolly Doll’s menu here.


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Bakery Cupcake Co.

One of Dolly Doll’s additional perks includes delivery. YES!! You absolutely read that right, folks – baked goods on wheels for the Ottawa-Gatineau Region (for a $10 fee and a minimum order of $50).

In addition, something MEGA amazing is coming very, very soon to Dolly Doll: a birthday party room!! The room will include a community table where friends can sit and hang out, a craft area for the kids, and a place for parents to sit back and watch their kids celebrate… all the while enjoying allergy-friendly, deliciously tasty, safe treats!


Photo courtesy of Dolly Doll Cupcake Co.

So if you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, head on down to Dolly Doll Cupcake Co. Because you’ll get more than just delicious desserts — you’ll be welcomed with a wonderful smile and be offered a shoulder to lean on with someone who just gets it. Dolly Doll is the package deal for those living with food allergies, and it is exactly where you want to be!

Did you know? Ottawa’s first ever #AllergyMom Meetup was held at Dolly Doll Cupcake Co. just last month. Not surprisingly, we had a blast!

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Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.

Want to join a community of like-minded food allergy folk? Join the AllergyBites Community on Facebook. 


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