Edinburgh-based Cuckoo’s Bakery has launched a vegan cupcake range today (9 April) in response to increased consumer demand for dairy- and egg-free sweet treats.
The range is comprised of two core flavours – Chocolate & Oreo and Vanilla – priced at £2.75 with specials on rotation, including Peanut Caramel as well as Coconut and Raspberry for £3.25 and up.
They are made with a dairy-free spread, instead of butter, and use vinegar as a substitute raising agent for the eggs.
“Veganism is becoming more and more popular and we really wanted to tap into that market,” Cuckoo’s Bakery general manager Sophie McVey told British Baker. “We always had customers coming to us on Facebook and Instagram asking ‘when are you bringing out a vegan cupcake?’, so it was really important to us to cater for everybody.”
Cuckoo’s introduced its first vegan item, a dairy-free version of its popular crunch bars, in February, followed by a vegan peanut butter cookie and then a vegan cupcake in its Easter offering.
“We’ve been trialling the cupcakes for a couple of months and didn’t want to launch them until we were completely happy with them,” McVey said, noting a few “kitchen mishaps” during their development. “Our head baker was a bit pessimistic at first, saying we need butter and eggs, but she was really surprised at how well they came out.”
The response on social media has been “incredible” and the bakery is expecting strong sales of the cupcakes, with a vegan celebration cake planned for launch in the next few months.
Cuckoo’s hasn’t had to change its method of working too much to produce the vegan range, according to McVey. Gluten-free products are made first, then the kitchen is cleaned thoroughly and the vegan items are made. A final clean is undertaken before the rest of Cuckoo’s range is produced.
“Cross-contamination is something we are used to and already very careful of,” McVey explained. “We let our customers know that it is baked in an environment where cakes containing dairy and such are baked, but we do take every precaution required.”
Offering advice to other bakeries looking to widen their customer base, McVey added: “We’d definitely encourage smaller bakeries to experiment and see what works for them. If they can cater to people who have dairy intolerances or who are vegan, then that’s a really important thing to include in your business.”
Subscribers to British Baker magazine can find out more about the vegan trend, and how to tap into it, here.