'Vegan cakes are every bit as good as any regular cake'

The  Staff Canteen
November is Vegan Month, so continuing our coverage we spoke to Michelle Orme, the brains behind The Vegan Cakery - a vegan-certified, not-for-profit cake business based in Leicester. Image OneHaving been around for two years, the Vegan Society-approved business, The Vegan Cakery, hit upon great success only a year in when they were named Best Vegan Company at the UK Vegan Awards 2013. They fought off competition from far more established vegan businesses such as chocolate and ice cream maker Booja Booja and cheese maker Bute Island. We spoke to Michelle about the origins of The Vegan Cakery, her views on veganism and her plans for the future. Can you tell me about your business? When did you start and why? The Vegan Cakery is a 100% vegan business providing bespoke, hand-made, artisan products which carry The Vegan Society trademark. I started up in 2012 from my home kitchen, where I am still based today, with the desire of producing the very best quality vegan cakes and associated products while, at the same time, raising as much as possible for animal charities and sanctuaries. As a passionate vegan, animal welfare is at the forefront of everything I do and is the reason I moved from vegetarianism to veganism 10 years ago. Knowing my vegan cakes are every bit as good as any ‘regular’ cake (which contains eggs, dairy and other animal derived ingredients) means I’m on a bit of a mission to make the point, why have ‘regular’ cake when you can have something just as tasty, every bit as enjoyable, but cruelty-free  as well! Your site says you were ‘born out of a passion and desire to show vegan diets can be every bit as tasty, if not more so, than a 'conventional' diet containing animal products and animal by-products.’ Do you think there’s a misconception regarding vegan products? Cupcake with Valentine Biscuit There’s a HUGE misconception, like so many things in life everyone is fed certain information from people with a particular agenda and the public rarely question it – then things become the norm. Don’t get me wrong, there is some shockingly bad vegan food out there which is stuck in a time warp but things are moving on fast and so is the quality. From childhood, we’re brought up with propaganda at every turn about how happy farm animals are, how healthy dairy is for us etc etc. People then think that’s how life is, how things are supposed to be, and there are no alternatives. There are alternatives, The Vegan Cakery being one of them! Why vegan? Are there health benefits, or is it more of an ethical thing? There are definite health benefits, wide-ranging ones, but the reason my husband and I became vegan was purely because of the ethics and the obscene abuse of animals in the food industry. When people open their eyes more about what actually happens, which is so easy to do now with Facebook, Twitter and the internet in general, they do tend to start looking at the alternatives – I have a lot of customers who aren’t even vegetarian but they’re looking at adapting what they do. rainbow confetti cake Do you think a Vegan Awareness Month is needed – is there a lack of awareness? Anything which can open up a vegan way of life to more people and show them how easy it is has to be a good thing. There is a lack of awareness unfortunately, especially in the mainstream media, and all too often reports aren’t researched properly. That said, veganism and the demand for vegan food is moving forward so fast already. As well as high street chains adding vegan options to menus, you can go and dine in Michelin starred restaurants like Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire and Marcus Wareing’s flagship in London – who would have thought that a few years ago?   What are your plans for the future? Any plans to expand beyond cakes? I just want to continue raising as much money as I can for animal charities and sanctuaries (I donate every month to a variety of charities rather than taking a wage) and to keep making The Vegan Cakery a watch-word for quality. I am introducing new cakes and flavours all of the time, I might consider some savoury products and breads...only time will tell! To find out more about The Vegan Cakery click here By Stuart Armstrong
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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 19th November 2014

'Vegan cakes are every bit as good as any regular cake'