Tara Byrne is the owner of Swirls Nut-Free Baking just outside of Fall River, Nova Scotia, She is mom to three kids, a preschool teacher, and a baker. She started Swirls in 2015 and her popularity has been growing steadily as more and more kids (and adults) taste her yummy and beautiful creations and want her to provide cupcakes or a cake at their party that all guests can enjoy safely, whether they have allergies or not.
What was your inspiration for starting this business?
My daughter Riley was my inspiration for starting Swirls. We found out at the age of two that she had a peanut allergy, along with dairy which she has since grown out of. When she started going to her friends’ parties, I would send along a cupcake, so that she would have a safe option at cake time. I would make a batch and freeze them, so I would always have one on hand. When she was six, she was invited to her friend's birthday, who also had a peanut and egg allergy, and she was overjoyed as she didn't have to take her own cupcake. I saw how excited she was, so when her birthday came around, I set out to find a yummy egg free cake so her friend could also have the same experience. He also was very excited and wanted his picture taken with her flower birthday cake. This opened my eyes to providing this option to other parents so they wouldn't have to worry about allergies at their child's party. I understand that when you're not used to dealing with allergies everyday it can be a bit nerve racking, so that's where I come in.
What type of baked goods and allergen free options do you make?
The options I offer right now are nut, dairy, and egg free. My most popular flavours are chocolate and vanilla, but I've also made lemon and red velvet. I offer both buttercream icing or boiled icing. I'm always experimenting in the kitchen trying out new flavour combinations.
I make a variety of themed cupcakes based on the event. Paw Patrol is definitely one of my best sellers. Cupcake toppers from a child's favourite toy or show are always a big hit. I've also done wedding and anniversary cupcakes.
One of my favourite cupcakes I made was for a Sweet 16 party. They were white and pink with gold luster dust and Sweet 16 gold and pink toppers.
I love to bake, so I'm not strictly cupcakes. This year at Christmas, I started to offer many different options including cookies, squares, tea biscuits, and cheesecake bites.
How do you ensure everything's nut free (and any other allergy-free options you offer)?
With both myself and Riley having a peanut allergy, we don't have any nuts in our home. I've become accustomed to carefully reading all food labels, right down to the food colouring. One of the most popular brands of gel colour isn't nut free, so I've found another product online which is both nut free and vegan. I recently started making a dairy free chocolate option as well, since my nephew has an allergy.
Swirls typically requires two weeks notice for most orders, but she can occasionally fill orders on shorter notice so it’s worth checking. Rates are dependent on the type of cupcake, size of the order, and whether or not she can purchase toppers or has to custom make them. Delivery is free within a certain range of her home, and there is a small fee to deliver further.
*Note: This is NOT a sponsored post, I just really enjoy her cupcakes and love the concept of her business.
Swirls is kindly giving away a cupcake order of 24 cupcakes (perfect for your next birthday party, back-to-school celebration, or a "just-because" kind of day!) anywhere in the Halifax Regional Municipality! You choose the colours and theme (and let her know about any nut, dairy, or egg allergies) and she’ll do the rest! Prize must be collected by March 31, 2018.
Four steps to enter:
Like the Itsy Bitsy Haligonians Facebook page.
Like the contest status on Facebook here.
Leave a comment on the same status saying which one of her cupcake designs you like the best.
As always, it's not necessary to win, but we love when you share and/or tag a friend who'd appreciate knowing about this business for their next event or birthday party!
The winner will be chosen by random draw from everyone who completes all of these steps. Contest closes Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. AST. Winners must be age of majority and be residents of the Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia - or able to pick up the order in the HRM. This contest is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Good luck!