With Emily's Desserts, her little Baltimore vegan bakery that can, Emily Mainquist has gained a loyal following.
She decided to share some of her recipes, tips and tricks on how to create tasty and healthy Vegan pastries (some gluten free).
The result is her first cookbook Sweet Vegan (Spring 2011, Kyle Books).
See how Emily bakes with this 'Sweet Vegan' interview.
Q: Emily, when did title change from 'BMORE SWEET' to 'Sweet Vegan'?
We decided to change the title a few months ago when we realized that we wanted Vegan to be in the title. We definitly wanted to showcase that my cookbook is vegan!
Q: You talk about cruelty free desserts in your introduction, does it make recipes with dairy and eggs 'cruel'?
No, not necessarily. I feel that if the dairy and egg products are from a small family farm that treats the animals with respect and allows them to act the way nature intended them to, that isn't necessarily cruel. But 99% of egg and dairy products are from factory farms where the animals are treated extremely terribly and it is a cruel environment.
Q: How easy, how hard, is it to apply the same high standards you have for your desserts to sales, packaging, marketing?
We definitely carry our high standards over in all areas of our business. My bakery is 100% wind powered.
Q: What was hardest to give up on when you went from vegetarian to vegan?
The hardest item to give up was definitely cheese. Our brains actually become addicted to cheese due to the casomorphins it produces when it is digested. Now there are so many great cheese alternatives it is getting so much easier to make the switch from vegetarian to vegan.
Q: Where did you find inspiration for gluten free chocolate chip zucchini bread squares?
I have always loved Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread and when I formulated my gluten free flour mix I knew that I had to make this desserts gluten free so everyone could enjoy it.
Q: Coconut milk seems to be a frequent staple in your recipes, what makes it a favorite?
Coconut milk works so well in replacing heavy cream and half & half in recipes that usually would call for these types of milks. It adds a rich and creamy texture that is hard to get from soy, rice or almond milks.
Q: Am I wrong to think of ice-cream sandwiches when I see your s'mores?
They definitely do look like ice cream sandwiches! They would be so delicious along side a s'more in the summer time!
Q: What is biggest challenge and most important step in making a vegan crust?
Vegan crusts really aren't any more difficult than their non vegan versions. The key is to not over mix because this will create a tough crust.
Q: Some gluten-free cookies that I tasted have a cardboard feel to them, why? What's secret to keep your own creations tasty?
The key when making something gluten free is to have a recipe that isn't very dry. You want a lot of moisture because gluten free desserts can dry out once they are baked. I feel that my flour mixture is the closest to an all purpose flour and doesn't weigh down the dessert like other gluten free flours can.
Q: I noticed the 'fresh Berry pie' in your raw vegan recipes, is crust in that case close to a flat bread?
The fresh berry pie is partially raw but the crust is baked. The crust is a flour and palm shortening crust just like an apple pie.
Q: Why use Apple cider vinegar and soy milk for 'buttermilk' in Red Velvet Cake?
Apple cider vinegar or white vinegar adds a richness to soy milk. It also helps cakes to rise that have baking soda.
Q: When would you serve your best selling 'pretzel rods'?
Pretzel rods are perfect for favors at a party or an easy to carry sweet snack in kids lunches.
Q: Moist and gluten free is how you introduce your cranberry orange bundt cake, how did you achieve that feast?
My Cranberry Orange Bundt Cake is moist because of the apple sauce in the recipe. This ingredient helps to keep the cake moist and light.
Q: Last, can you name your favorite ice-cream or sorbet flavors?
My favorite ice cream flavors are Mint Chocolate Chip and Cookies-n-Cream. My favorite sorbet flavor is Orange.
Thanks Emily for adding to our baking education.
Want a sneak preview of Sweet Vegan, check the Gluten Free Raspberry Buttercream Cake Recipe which I shared earlier.