The Vegan Cakery
I have been ogling the photos of Michelle's cakes and other sweet treats on Twitter for a while now! It just so happens, that I'll be in Leicester for the Vegan Fair on Saturday 21st November 2015 and I'm already planning what I'm going to order and collect from Cafe Mbriki while I'm in town!
Wondering what all the fuss is about? Read on to see some of the things that the Vegan Cakery produce and find out how generous Michelle is in, with regards to how she raises funds for charities through all sales! Truly amazing. :)
What does The Vegan Cakery specialise in?
As the name suggests, The Vegan Cakery is a 100% vegan baking business producing the ultimate in ethical cruelty-free cakes and pastries. It’s a real cottage industry and all products are handmade to order by me (Michelle). I make everything from cakes to doughnuts, cupcakes to pastries and occasion cakes to speciality treats like Chocolate and Coconut Slice and Millionaire’s Shortbread.
I also produce trademarked V’urd which is a vegan version of ‘curd’. Legally you cannot sell a vegan version with the word ‘curd’ as it’s against legal compositional requirements, which is because of the lack of eggs. I produce Lemon V’urd, Lime, Lemon & Passion Fruit and also a vegan Caramel Sauce. At last count, there are around 200 different products on sale on the website.
Here's the press release issued this week regarding my 'Best Vegan Bakery' award win at Vegfest UK. (Photo shown below)
Where is The Vegan Cakery based?
In rural Leicestershire, between Leicester and Market Harborough.
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away buy your products too? If so, how?
From the very beginning, back in June 2012, I always wanted to be able to provide my products to as many people as possible countrywide. The largest part of the business is mail order through the website. Watch out for the new website which is being professionally constructed! I put the existing one together myself!
My husband (who has his own PR business in motorsport) hand delivers the cakes where possible. In addition to this, some products are stocked in several places, the main one being Cafe Mbriki in Leicester city centre where we also operate an ‘Order and Collect’ service for products which aren’t suitable for postal delivery, such as, Mille-Feuille and Celebration Cakes.
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on vegan cakes and other treats?
Veganism is my way of life. It’s who I am and what I am. Before creating The Vegan Cakery, I had been told how good my vegan cakes were but I’d never really thought about trying to sell them. To be honest, we tried a lot of vegan cakes which weren’t enjoyable and that was frustrating as I knew vegan didn’t have to mean, and shouldn’t mean, settling for second of third best. So, that was the big motivation which led me to starting The Vegan Cakery, but the other driving force was to try support as many animal charities and sanctuaries as possible too through the business.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free ingredients for your products?
Very easy really, you just have to do your research and never take things at face value. Something which may appear vegan at first glance may not necessarily be, so the main thing is to check with the manufacturer of any ingredient or product. Obviously, the internet has made that side of things so much easier than it ever would have been in decades gone by. I’ve got a lot of respect for the trailblazers of veganism, like Donald Watson who founded The Vegan Society here in Leicester, as I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to source vegan ingredients back in the 1940s!
Is The Vegan Cakery owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sell non-vegan products?
No and No! The Vegan Cakery is 100% vegan. It's ethically vegan in every way possible. It's run by me mostly. My husband Marc helps me out with deliveries and moving boxes! I abhor animal testing, which is one of the reasons that I support Dr. Hadwen Trust, and I do get very frustrated when non-vegan companies, which happen to sell vegan products purely for profit and a growing market, a market they previously scoffed at, receive widespread promotion.
I wish more people would support those business that are vegan through and through from day one. Don’t get me wrong, new vegan products coming to the market should always be welcomed, but people shouldn’t get too carried away when a business making vast wealth from cruelty and exploitation offers one or two vegan products.
There's something special about the way you use your profits. Can you tell me more?
Yes, that’s one of the most important aspects of The Vegan Cakery. It makes the business really unique. I choose not to take a wage from the business in order to donate as much as possible to a variety of animal charities and sanctuaries. It’s much, much more than just ‘not-for-profit’ as I donate from the total take. So, before ingredients costs, production costs, packaging costs, postal costs etc. are taken into account, I allocate a significant percentage to donate. I support a different ‘Charity of the Month’ and also donate each month to a variety of other charities and sanctuaries, as well as, supplying discounted products and donating products to charities such as Hillside Animal Sanctuary and Animals In Need Maxicare. The recently opened Dr. Hadwen Trust charity shop in Hitchin is also stocking my ‘@home Cake Mix’ kits to help raise money for their work to prevent animal testing.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched The Vegan Cakery.
How long do you have!?! I became vegetarian in my early teens, seeing the cows in the field next to the house when we were eating family dinners made me realise that I couldn’t eat meat anymore. I became vegan 10 years ago and I just wish I had done that when I was younger. It’s awful looking back knowing you were part of the one thing you now despise and detest so much.
Before starting the ‘Cakery I was involved in motor racing, I ran a team, but I can safely say I much prefer vegan baking and animals!
What is your vision for The Vegan Cakery?
That’s quite tough to answer really as I haven’t given it much thought. I want to continue bringing the best 100% vegan products to customers, continue donating as much as I possibly can to charity and also keep expanding my range.
For the last two years I’ve been ‘veganising’ some of the technical challenges on Great British Bake Off, it’d be good to maybe start selling some of those products too. I don’t think I want to expand in terms of the size of the business, taking on staff and that sort of thing, especially because I’ve created all of my recipes from scratch, so they’re a very closely guarded secret!
Missy's Vegan Cupcakes
Marchpane and Medlar
Naturally Kind Food
The surprise party where most of the guests were not vegan, yet they ate, and enjoyed, lots of different vegan cakes