From the outside of the Forest Park Senior Center, Muncie residents would have no idea that a licensed specialty bakery is housed inside. One that delivers goods to The Caffeinery, Woodworth Dining Hall, farmers markets and even some places in Indianapolis.
Amanda Reninger, a Ball State alumna, started Sea Salt and Cinnamon, a vegan and gluten-free bakery, in 2014. As Reninger's friends began asking her to bake for them, The Caffeinery became interested in carrying some vegan desserts.
Reninger raised a couple thousand dollars on Kickstarter for equipment and licensing, and the business officially started in June 2014.
Now, Reninger is looking to open a storefront for her desserts where students and locals can buy the vegan and gluten free treats.
Because the bakery makes gluten free and vegan desserts, no animal products, such as dairy or egg, are used. When Renenger first started, she had to learn how to replace normal wheat flours.
“You have to replace it with a number of different flours for the science aspect of it -- you wanna make sure you have the same number of proteins, the same number of fats, those sorts of things,” Reninger said. “We use four or five different flours that all mix together and still give you a beautiful taste and texture.”
She started with cupcakes but knew that if she was going to create a specialty bakery, a variety of products would need to be produced. She spends 3-5 days a week baking.
“We started with just cupcakes, cause that’s what I knew, that’s what I could do with my eyes closed,” Reninger said. “As we moved into farmers markets and different wholesale accounts, we added cookies, muffins, breads, cinnamon rolls, all kinds of different stuff.”
Reninger continues to try new recipes and flavors and took advantage of holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day to work on her cake making and decorating skills.
“We do a ton of pies at holidays cause if you think about it, everyone has that one relative that is gluten free or vegan or has a dairy allergy or whatever, so we are able to step in and provide that for people, which is always awesome,” she said. “It’s my favorite thing to be able to make a dessert for someone that maybe hasn’t had it in years.”
Lisa Dunaway, instructor of urban planning, has been a vegan for the past 10 years and was a contributor to Reninger’s original Kickstarter campaign because she was excited about the business.
“You never get baked goods as a vegan unless you make it your own in small towns … to know that there was going to be a variety of stuff out there for us, but for everybody," Dunaway said. "Her stuff is vegan and gluten free, so almost anyone can eat it.”
Whenever Dunaway goes to the Caffeinery, she will get whatever cupcake is offered that day. She orders cupcakes and cookies for her students and always gets one of Reninger’s pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving.
The storefront she's hoping to open will be located in downtown Muncie. She has no timeframe yet but is actively working on making it a reality.
“If I didn’t love it and I didn’t really feel like I was working towards something and growing something - it’s a living, breathing thing, I wouldn’t be doing it.”
For now, Reninger is happy to provide the Muncie community and local businesses with desserts anyone can enjoy.