Guilt free, vegan, gluten-free and raw treats that don’t even taste healthy? I’ll take one of everything. I had the opportunity to meet with entrepreneur and vegan chef Liz Gallagher who started the Toronto-based dessert company Unbaked Cake Co. I first discovered Unbaked Cake Co. at Pusateri’s and ever since I’ve been hooked. Living in Toronto, there are tons of vegan desserts and bakeries, but I find its hard to find options with clean ingredients (remember, being vegan doesn’t automatically mean healthy.)
Liz was kind enough to give me a kitchen tour and sit down for a Q&A session. Interested in hearing more? Keep reading!
1. All of your products are vegan, gluten-free & raw. What was your motivation for producing these types of products?
After being introduced to raw food through a friend at University, I started making raw vegan desserts and dishes for friends and family. I was totally hooked. Almost all of my spare time was spent in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I loved how I felt eating raw. And that you didn’t have to feel guilty about the desserts! That said, my motivation was to create products you could feel good about eating – products that are not only delicious, but come with all of the health benefits too. Free of most common allergens (with the exception of nuts), gluten, soy, dairy and refined sugar. Free of all preservatives/processed ingredients as well.
2. Are there any raw ingredients that you try to stay away from?
No, not really. I’m a big advocate of organic though. So, all of my treats are made using only the best all natural, and organic ingredients.
3. Since none of your products are baked, what is your preparation process?
The preparation process requires a lot of blending, food processing and time. Almost all of the desserts need to set in the fridge or freezer overnight. They’re actually quite labour intensive, and typically take 2-3 days to make from start to finish.
4. What’s the best part about being a vegan? What has changed for you?
Eating all of the delicious food! No, seriously though, the best part is definitely how I feel. I struggled with acne and stomach problems growing up, and transitioning to a vegan/plant-based diet has played such a significant role in clearing them both up.
5. What inspired you to start your own company and what were your biggest challenges?
I started Unbaked Cake Co. share my treats with friends and family, and to help change the misconception that most people have about raw food and raw desserts. You say vegan and most people think of something super bland and boring. No flavour, etc. I wanted to create desserts that were both beautiful and full of flavour. Desserts that would fool your meat and dairy eating friend or family member. I think one of the most rewarding things was having a family friend and cheesecake connoisseur say my strawberry cheesecake was the best he’s ever had. And he’s had a lot of cheesecake. One of the biggest challenges was having the business take off before I was fully ready. I secured my first wholesale client and from there things just kept on growing. All while I was working a full-time day job (and still am!). So, I’ve kind of had to wing things a bit and figure them out as I go. Lack of time is also a big challenge of mine. There’s never enough time in the day to get everything done!
6. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
That’s a really hard question. Definitely avocados. And/or Coconut.
7. Where can people buy your products?
I’m in 12 shops in the downtown Toronto area (a complete list can be found on my website: www.unbakecake.co). Pusateri’s Fine Foods, The Big Carrot, Belmonte Raw, Elxr Juice Lab, and Through Being Cool Vegan Co. are a few of them.
8. What is the hardest Unbaked dessert to make and why?
I don’t know if one dessert is harder to make than another. But layered cheesecakes can be a bit tricky. Almost all of my cheesecakes have multiple layers and it’s a bit of a process to ensure that each one sets properly/you have a clean crisp line. The same goes for garnishing. Each cake is garnished uniquely and has multiple components. As I mentioned earlier, they’re pretty labour intensive.
9. How long do your products last for? How do consumers keep their desserts fresh?
The shelf life depends on the particular item. But generally speaking, about 1 week. All treats need to be kept in the fridge, but I always recommend storing in the freezer – that way they keep for up to 3 months.
10. Do you offer custom orders?
Yes! I do custom cakes and catering for all occasions.
From left to right: Blueberry Lavender Tart, Oat Fudge Bar, White Chocolate Matcha Tart, Strawberry Shortcake Tart, Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart.