Edmonds mom Elizabeth Rayborn was happy with her job as a professional baker and didn’t have plans to start her own bakery – let alone a gluten-free one.
Then her youngest son was diagnosed with autism.
After son Killian’s diagnosis, Rayborn and her husband began researching different remedies for his condition. Surprisingly for them, they found that many autistic people are intolerant to gluten, and immediately attempted to modify Killian’s diet. The changes in his behavior after removing gluten, Rayborn said, were significant.
“A lot of his symptoms were reduced,” Rayborn said. “Sometimes he used to just sit and stare at nothing for hours, and he stopped that when we took him off gluten.”
At the time, Rayborn said, the gluten-free options on the market were slim and unappealing to Killian. Besides, as a baker with over 10 years of experience, she felt a need to continue to cook for her family as she had always done. So she re-purposed her cooking skills and revamped her recipes to eliminate gluten so that everyone in her family – especially Killian – could enjoy her cooking.
Through what Rayborn describes as a period of trial and error, she developed gluten-free recipes with the same taste and visual appeal as her food had prior to the switch.
With her family as her inspiration and encouragement, Rayborn left her job at A La Mode Pies in 2013 to combine her love for baking with her hope to provide appealing options for those with dietary restrictions, and those without.
“I like to think of it as an inclusive option,” Rayborn said.
What resulted was a one-women bakery called Stone Layne Baked Specialties, a name she chose to include the middle names of her two sons — Stone and Layne. Since then, Rayborn has launched a career based on creative designs that can be consumed by people regardless of dietary restrictions, often making cakes for weddings and birthday parties.
“People are turned off by gluten-free, but I always tell my clients that it’s important to have something everyone can eat,” Rayborn said “When I have samples I always tell people after that, it was gluten-free. You would never know if I didn’t tell you.”
Her intricate designs paired with her careful recipes made from scratch are why clients and friends like Edmonds resident Mike Allende, who has had Rayborn bake the cakes for several family birthday parties, continue to return to Stone Layne Baked Specialties.
“She is the first one we go to for all of our cakes,” Allende said. “This was the third or fourth year that she’s made the cake for our son’s birthday, so it’s just a natural thing that we would ask her to make them.”
Recently, Rayborn made a Seattle Mariners-themed cake for the 8th birthday party of Allende’s son Satchel. The cake, featuring multiple layers that included a baseball mitt, jersey, hat and baseball, even caught the attention of the Mariners’ Instagram account, which featured a picture of the cake with a birthday shout out to Satchel.
“I couldn’t believe the Mariners actually talked about my cake,” said Satchel Allende. “They are my favorite team and it was really exciting that they would think my cake was so cool.”
Rayborn, who heard about the Instagram post from her sister-in-law, was excited to get the publicity from a social media account with 280,000 followers. But what meant the most to her were her sons’ reactions.
“The boys thought it was awesome that the Mariners like mommy’s cakes too,” Rayborn said.
For those interested in expanding their gluten-free horizons, visit www.stonelayne.com.
— By Olivia Fuller