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


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


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Carey... Carey2006

NOPE...not really, I would not even know how to proceed with a gluten-free diet...LOL

Steph... StephanieSD

My gluten-free wedding cake was amazing. We had flourless chocolate cake!

One note, you say "a gluten-free diet is often used to treat this disease." A gluten-free diet is the *only* way to treat the disease. If you're not following the gluten-free diet, you're not treating the disease at all.

Many bakeries are offering yummy gluten-free treats now. I'm currently in love with Mariposa in Oakland, CA. I had great cupcakes from there. Pamela's pancake and baking mix makes pancakes so good, my husband didn't know they were gluten-free when a friend served them to him.

I agree that if you don't need to be on the diet, you shouldn't follow it. I wish I could eat more whole grains! It's not a weight loss diet if you're eating gluten-free versions of packaged foods that have the same, or more, fat and sugar as any other packaged food.

dress... dressthebump

I am allergic to wheat (which is just one type of gluten), so I mostly follow a gluten-free diet. There are definitely some very bad gluten-free products out there! But there are also some decent choices I've found by trial and error. My whole family often gets stuck eating some of my gluten-free items during mealtime by default, such as gluten-free spaghetti and gluten-free pizza crusts.

Whole Foods has a great selection of gluten-free foods, and my regular grocery store also offers some. I've had no luck baking my own gluten-free breads or desserts. This last weekend's attempt at zucchini bread collapsed! I can't imagine trying to bake an entire gluten-free wedding cake. I'd pay a pretty penny to have just one slice of that cake. I bet it was delicious!


I have celieac disease,  which is actually auto-immune,  which many people do not get.  Along with it being impossible for my body to digets gluten,  I also have a host of other issues (Celiac actually has over 200 symptoms) such as neurological,  muscular,  and even psychological effects due to the malabsorbtion of nutrients in my body.

One of my favorite places to order goodies from is Brody's Bakery,  that is run by a dear friend of mine,  and also a member of Cafemom.  She makes tons of vegan and gluten free goodies that are to die for.  I also bake and visit a lot of gluten free blogs and websites fro recipe ideas and there is nothing that cannot be modified to be gluten free,  with a little bit of work.  The thing is,  I appreciate those little treats that much more because of the effort (or money) that goes into them. 


frysh... fryshannon34

I am not even sure what gluten is


Gluten is in wheat,  barley and rye.  Basically what most breads/flours have as well as al ot of things with vinegars made with grains.  There are a ton of other flours that can be used for baking though,  it is just a little bit of work to find what you need depending on your area and availability.

nonmember avatar Zephie

I would have to disagree with the blanket statement of everything gluten free being bland and having a bad after taste. While in years past I'm sure that has been the case, with the recent surge in Celiac and gluten intolerant diagnoses, companies have seen a market and risen to the cry. As someone who has been gluten free for 2 years because of Celiac, I do acknowledge that there are some terrible products out there. But pasta companies such as Notta Pasta and Tinkyada have made excellent advances in making pasta that not only tastes good fresh but is tasty the next day, too! And more mainstream companies like Betty Crocker make excellent gluten free cake, brownie and cookie mixes. At first gluten free is a pain in the butt, but I prefer to look on the positive-- I had a great excuse to stay away from the large sheet cakes at work today (so tempting!) and I've become much better at cooking for myself. I've taken homemade gluten free cookies (Pamela's Pancake and Baking Mix is my go-to baking flour) in to school, and a double batch is gone in a flash. In my opinion, being gluten intolerant is no better or worse than having other allergies. And I would rather have Celiac than be allergic to latex, salt, or sun. And yes, I have friends suffering from all three of those.

nonmember avatar GlutenFibroFree

I think this is great PR, and will hopefully make more catering companies aware that they need to offer gluten free options if they want to stay competitive.

Mari McAvenia

I am so glad than Chelsea chose a gluten-free menu for everyone. I'll bet nobody complained that it wasn't tasty or fancy enough for an upscale wedding.

I've been following a strict gluten-free diet for just over five years, now, after trying many times before and failing at each earnest attempt. I need to remain on it, because of celiac disease, so I've discovered various ways to approximate my old, forbidden favorites:

1) Amy's Rice Crust Pizza (frozen, in most supermarkets) Fix it up with all your favorite toppings.

2) Kinnickinnick Frozen Cinnamon & Sugar Doughnuts. Slice in half, heat up on a lightly buttered grill and then apply seedless raspberry preserves. Tastes just like a bakery fresh jelly doughnut.

3) Brown Rice Pastas. They're creamy, delicious and very satisfying. Make mac & cheese, lasagna, noodle soup, whatever soothes and nourishes you.

That's just my top three suggestions in the comfort food department. I've got lots more. Feel free to ask me.

tonya... tonyalynn

no, im not

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