Jthe food scene for vegans changed dconsiderably over the years. Plant-based versions of meat, eggs, and dairy can be found everywhere, from grocery stores to chain restaurants and small family restaurants to vending machines at airports. There’s one thing that’s been a little elusive, though: vegan baked goods. I mean the really, really good sweet treats. Well, that’s changing too, and we have two bakers in Colorado Springs who know exactly how to turn plant-based ingredients into delicious desserts for everyone. And they each have their own distinctive approach.
wild flour bakery delivers treats right to your door, and they remind me of the things I grew up eating and wished for years were vegan. On the night owner and baker Kelly Almeida dropped the sugar bomb, the half-dozen cinnamon rolls were still warm. Oh wow. Hot and fragrant and begging me to dig. So I did. I could wax poetic, but here’s the thing. They were just exactly what I remembered and wanted. A sweet icing lightly drizzled with yeast and bread swirls with cinnamon straight out of the box. Equally satisfying and simple: chocolate marble bread. I held back my instincts to brush a warm slice with vegan butter. Fluffy and rich as is, it would have been pointless (and almost a travesty). The banana can replace eggs in baking, so it already had an important role in the mini bread, but the flavor combined with the chocolate resulted in a coffee-mocha taste that begged for a bold, homemade Americano. And speaking of coffee, I couldn’t resist ordering a big coffee bean cookie; that sugar and caffeine buzz was worth it.
Wildflour Bakehouse publishes a weekly menu on their website for Wednesday evening delivery. But that’s not all. You can create a second order for donuts only, delivered on Sunday morning. And not just donuts, folks. Yeast donuts – the only acceptable fried round dough, IMHO. I asked for a matching box (surprise me, please!) and was both surprised and delighted. The first taste of the classic cinnamon sugar donut made for a cool, crispy bite and the regular glazed donut (barely!) transported me to my great-grandmother’s kitchen. Simplicity at its best. But there’s more: the Oreo donut is carnival breakfast and the chocolate donut was deceptively decadent. All in all, Wildflour Bakehouse took me back to the memories and flavors of food.
From grandma’s treats to a more artisanal approach to baked culinary art, Birch Bakery the sweet treats are equally impressive, and baker Kate Spiers throws in a few oohhs and aahhs for good measure. The Birchwood model is community-based. You’ll find them at the Colorado Farm and Art Market at the Hillside Community Center most Saturdays (check their website and social media for updates), as well as other community markets and events. And they can even appear as the dessert of a vegan beer dinner, like the one I enjoyed earlier this month at The Garden.
Spires offers seasonal mini Bundt cakes, currently a carrot cake. Carrot Spice Cakes are my #1 and #2 favorites, and this Veggie Bundt is darling (I’m looking at you, sweet little carrot fudge and leaf) and perfect for two. The cake is spongy and hearty, and the delicate frosting doesn’t steal the show.
The fluffernutter cookie is just as fun. Moist and substantial, the marriage of peanut butter and vegan marshmallow is a bond that should never be broken. And then there’s one of the most beautiful cupcakes I’ve had: raspberry pink. A thick, shiny frosting adorns the raspberry-filled white cake – girly pink and precious. Finally, traditionalists may want to step out of convention a bit. Sure, you could have a brownie. But why when you can have a turtle brownie: chocolate, caramel and pecan, y’all. What’s not to like?
In addition to Wildflour’s home delivery and Birchwood’s presence in local markets, the two vegan bakers also take special orders for birthdays, weddings and more. Baked local vegan treats made by women-owned businesses…how sweet!
Even more vegan treats,my candy !
Here are some other places to buy vegan baked goods in town:
burrowing owl‘s (burrowingowllounge.com) home baker Renee Werner makes wonderful cakes, every day.
The sweet treats of Benne (bennessweettreats.com) are available in local markets and special orders are accepted.
Noisy foods (noicefoods.com) makes all kinds of vegan sweet and savory treats; available at small local grocers and markets and they take special orders for vegan baked goods.