As the global demand for plant-based foods rises it is clear that following vegan or vegetarian diets are no longer just for “weirdos, hippies and activists” as was the stereotype before. Whether it be for environmental concerns, animal welfare or personal health many more people are choosing to embrace a plant-based lifestyle and with the demand at an all time high, brands like ourselves are creating more plant-based options.
You need only listen to the debate amongst friends, especially if you are part of the millennial generation, to realise that this is an issue as emotionally charged as debating religion and politics, and whilst you may feel strongly either way or sit on the fence – global warming, unethical farming practices and the rise of health concerns such as cancer and obesity are issues we face daily. Luckily in our modern world social media platforms have allowed us to have open debates and spaces for us to share our experiences and knowledge and we reached out to one such influential brand – Cape Town Vegan – and invited Garth and some of his friends to a Cake Party at our bakery to try out some of our new plant-based cakes and treats.
We initially dabbled in the world of vegan baking only as an in-store product with many customers asking for vegan or gluten free options. We researched and tested a few recipes until we found the perfect vegan and gluten free carrot cake which became more popular than expected, with even non-vegans loving it. We went on to create a vegan brownie and Hummingbird cake but it wasn’t until we reached out to Garth that we decided to make a concerted effort to experiment with this new baking trend. In the weeks leading up to our Cake Party we contacted our suppliers asking a question I am shocked I never thought to ask before, whether their products were vegan friendly. We compiled a list and started working on some new recipes discovering the amazing properties of Aquafaba in both our vegan macarons and Swiss meringue buttercream, and whilst Tessa would still like to know who thought of whipping up the liquid in a can of chickpeas, I guess we can equally wonder who thought to whip up the white of an egg? Ultimately we wanted to be able to create a cake that would rival any of our cakes on our website both in taste and look. In the end what we created was a moist decadent chocolate cake with a rich fudge filling, an Aquafaba Swiss Meringue Icing, dark chocolate ganache drip and topped with fresh berries, rosemary, Lindt chocolate and a hint of glamorous gold leaf. We also tested a lighter vanilla cake with Aquafaba Swiss meringue buttercream decorated with an edible print and home made vegan sprinkles. The vanilla cake was not as rich as the chocolate cake which is perfect for those who prefer a lighter alternative and I think is going to be an amazing base cake for many wonderful flavours going forward.
On 1st November, World Vegan Day, our Cake Party took place at our bakery with Garth, Jessica – The Green Dietician, Donovan – ProVegSA, Leozette Roode – Author: The South African Vegan Cookbook and Vegan Guide Cape Town. Garth proved to be such a kind and generous individual. It was always a pleasure working with him as we explored our new baking adventure. Garth went out of his way to be helpful to us as we bounced ideas off him and I think the work he does with brands looking to explore creating plant-based alternatives is wonderful and certainly a move in the right direction. It really was a pleasure hosting all of you.
Keep an eye out as we delve further into the world of vegan baking but in the meantime we already have four great options for you so head on over to our Vegan Range to order a plant-based alternative for your next celebration.