Chelsea Clinton's Wedding Cake: Does Gluten-Free Dessert Taste Like Crap?

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wedding cakeChelsea Clinton's 9-tiered, 4-foot, 500-pound wedding cake was just like every little girl dreams about -- well, every health-conscious little girl, that is ...

La Tulipe has confirmed that it made the cake and that it addition to being gluten-free, it was "very elegant" and "traditional." And, according to reports, it cost somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000:

It was mostly white with little accents of silver. There were small circular designs on the base of each cake (almost like half-wheels of little silver beads) with 1,000 edible sugar flowers (mostly roses, a little bit of hydrangeas, calla lilies, and two types of orchids) that were delicately brushed with pearl accent ... the wedding cake was gluten-free (not vegan, though) and vanilla with dark chocolate mousse.

Sounds beautiful, but I know what you're thinking: Why spend so much money on a cake that -- being gluten-free -- no doubt tastes like crap?

One of the most common misconceptions about gluten-free foods is that they all taste bad. After all, gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye -- which are the main ingredients in much of the food that we eat. People on a gluten-free diet often complain that the alternatives neither cook nor taste the same. Moreover, I've heard people describe gluten-free products as "too thin," "bland," and "having a bad after-taste."

But the fact is there are tasty gluten-free products out there -- you just have to look for them. And, more and more talented chefs, cooks, and bakeries are learning how to adapt recipes that don't include gluten but still taste like the real thing. I'm guessing any place that charges $12 for individual desserts -- ahem, La Tulipe -- would fall into this category. In other words, I'm pretty sure Chelsea's wedding cake tasted pretty damn amazing.

Here are some other myths about gluten-free diets:

1. A "gluten intolerance" is the same as Celiac disease.

Chelsea Clinton is said to have a gluten allergy -- which is why she opted for a gluten-free wedding cake. This means that if she eats gluten, she will have an adverse food reaction, most likely in the digestive tract. Celiac disease is different; it's an autoimmune disorder that's triggered by gluten -- which is why a gluten-free diet is often used to treat this disease. As far as we know, Chelsea doesn't have Celiac disease.

2. Being on a gluten-free diet means you can't eat anything.

Obviously, this is false given our discussion above. True, many foods contain wheat and/or other contaminated products including the obvious (breads, cakes, pastas, etc.) and the not-so-obvious (beer, imitation meats, salad dressings). The good news? This kind of restrictive diet may be inconvenient, but not impossible. There are countless gluten-free alternatives available, and there are even some grains you can eat including brown rice, flax seed, and quinoa. For a complete list of foods to avoid if you're on a gluten-free diet, click the link.

3. It's healthy to eat a gluten-free diet even if you don't have a gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

Currently, there is no evidence that following a gluten-free diet when you don't have to is healthy. The pros: Some experts say a gluten-free diet can lead to weight-loss and brighter skin. The cons: It can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies if not followed properly.

Are you on a gluten-free diet? Got any good gluten-free products to recommend?


Image via christyscherrer/Flickr

desserts, food, wedding food