Rebecca Wicker was an accountant for 20 years before opening Dedicated – A Gluten Free Bakery and Coffee Shop.
A few years before, her husband Gordon struggled with a litany of health issues including joint pain, autoimmune responses, and painful welts covering his body. The only conclusion his doctor reached was a lupus diagnosis. Desperate for an answer and ready to try anything, Gordon went to a doctor for allergy testing.
It turned out Gordon was highly allergic to gluten, which includes a combination of proteins found in a handful of grains including wheat, barley, and rye. While he was relieved to have an answer, he was crushed when his doctor handed him the list of foods to avoid. Rebecca remembers his reaction clearly — “No pasta, no beer, I ’m pretty sure I’d rather die.”
Rebecca decided to go gluten-free with Gordon in solidarity. However, the first few months were tumultuous.
“We tried a lot of different gluten-free products but they weren’t going to cut it”, Rebecca said. “How could everything be so expensive and taste so bad?”
A baker at heart, Rebecca took matters into her own hands. She began experimenting in the kitchen in an effort to create a flour blend that tasted more like the “real thing.” After much trial and error, she created a winning blend of whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, and certified gluten-free oat.
Rebecca’s friends and family raved over her gluten-free baking and begged her to open a gluten-free bakery. After 20 years of working long days in accounting, Rebecca decided to run the numbers. Passionate about serving her community and looking for a more laid-back lifestyle, she remembers thinking, okay, maybe this is the universe telling me to do this.
She and Gordon opened the doors to Dedicated – A Gluten Free Bakery and Coffee Shop at Pima and Craycroft in 2015. While this location allowed Rebecca to get the business up and running, it was cramped. As a result, they upgraded in May 2016 to the current location at 4500 E. Speedway Blvd.
Located next to a European Market on the south side of Speedway, you could find the building with your eyes closed as heavenly scents of cinnamon rolls and warm gooey brownies waft out and into the streets. Inside, light purple walls feature art by local artists and glossy dark wooden countertops serve as perfect Instagram backdrops.
While the menu includes a variety of breakfast and lunch options, the main gig is dessert. Cupcakes, cream puffs, cinnamon rolls, brownies, cookies and more are made fresh daily by Rebecca and her staff.
Cupcakes are some of the main showstoppers with several varieties available daily. The dense and moist carrot cake is rich and comforting with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg topped with a velvety cream cheese frosting. The orange creamsicle cupcake offers a hearty vanilla cake with a light-as-air fresh orange cream frosting that melts in your mouth.
Dedicated also works magic with cakes of the cupless variety. The coffee cake is decadent without overwhelming sweetness. A thick, crunchy streusel topping is layered over soft and moist cinnamon swirl cake. For special occasions, Aunt Nan’s cheesecake will certainly impress — a creamy, custard-like filling is coated with light cream, adding just a hint of acidity to cut the rich flavors. A sprinkling of pecans add crunch and chew.
Lastly, for chocolate lovers, the brownies are superb with a crisp, flaky top layer and a gooey, fudge-like foundation. The buttercream frosting seals the deal, bringing a light vanilla together with chocolate decadence in every bite.
While the sweets are a major draw, the bread on the sandwiches alone will keep diners coming back. Customers can choose from regular, rosemary, or a rotating daily bread for their entrees. Each type of bread offers a unique flavor experience, but all include the same signature thin and crunchy outermost layer with a softer inside provided by Rebecca’s famous flour blend.
Other menu highlights include salads and a wide variety of coffee drinks, all of which are gluten-free and many vegan and nut-free as well. Diners with even the highest sensitivity to gluten can rest easy, as the kitchen is entirely contaminant-free. Finally, if you can’t get enough of the goodness in-house, there are a handful of catering packages and customizable cake orders available for every gluten-free occasion.
Dedicated – A Gluten Free Bakery and Coffee Shop is located at 4500 E. Speedway Blvd. and can be reached at (520) 209-2872. Operating hours are 6 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday – Monday and 6 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday. For more information, visit dedicatedgf.com.