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Tuesday
Oct272009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Angela of Your Veganesse, Charlotte NC

Fruit Tart Pic, image c/o Your Veganesse
CakeSpy: First off, an important question: what was the last baked good you ate?
Your Veganesse: A carrot cake. I am in the process of experimenting with different ingredients and carrot/flour ratios to get a cake that is very carrot-y. I also am trying to use more healthy sweeteners like raisins, dates, fruit juices, and molasses to replace the sugar altogether.

CS: You've been veganizing desserts since the age of nine! Please, tell us more about how that got going.
YV: I always thought I'd be a chemist growing up. I was always experimenting with baking soda, vinegar, agar and other food reactants, that when I wanted to cut out non vegan ingredients because of animal cruelty issues, things just fit.
Fruit Tart, Fruit Tart Pic, image c/o Your Veganesse

CS: Is there anything you haven't been able to veganize? Or, is there any dessert in particular which is really difficult to veganize?
YV: Tiramisu. Marscarpone cheese is so hard to replicate.

CS: Your dessert roster is rather eclectic, with recipes taking inspiration from different world cuisines and flavors. So where do you get your recipes?
YV: A lot of recipes are healthier veganized versions of the American comforts I remembered growing up. Some, like the Chinese sponge cake and fruit tarts, are influences from my mother's Asian culture.
Chinese Sponge Cake, Fruit Tart Pic, image c/o Your Veganesse
CS: You're based in Charlotte, NC. What is the food scene like for vegans there?
YV: There's a lot of options if you're willing to eat in a place that cooks meat and veggies side by side. You just have to hope when your plate comes out, that there was no touching between the two. There are currently 3 eateries in Charlotte I know of that are completely vegetarian. A lot of the people here are interested in healthy food, so finding vegan options or substitutions is becoming very easy.

CS: A lot of vegan desserts are actually not much of a step up healthwise from their nonvegan counterparts, but you are committed to using quality natural ingredients. How does this affect the final result?
YV: The worst part of a lot of the commercial vegan desserts is the trans fats and hydrogenated oils (a.k.a. margarine) that they contain. This is easily replaced with canola oil or safflower oil and gives a cleaner, less waxy taste. The other worst part is the refined white sugar or high fructose corn syrup content. Even when replacing it with healthier sweeteners, I still keep away from over-sweetening (like in many store-bought desserts) so that it does not dominate over the pineapple, or berry, or carrot or chocolate, or whatever natural flavor that I want to shine most in the dessert. Overall, the ultimate effect is that you get to have a delicious and decadent-seeming dessert without having any repercussions.

CS: Have you ever "fooled" any nonvegans with your desserts?
YV: The cakes are definitely most like the nonvegan versions. The eggs are the main ingredient to replace, which is more of a binder and leavener and not for taste purposes. When I tell the person while they're eating, that it's actually vegan and thus, cholesterol-free and naturally low in fat, they usually eat the whole thing and grab another slice.
Raspberry-Lemon Swirl Cake / cream cheeze icing and raspberry preserves, Fruit Tart Pic, image c/o Your Veganesse
CS: What is your personal favorite item on your menu?
YV: I really love the Raspberry-Lemon Swirl cake. It's a cake that turns into an art form (which I hate covering up with frosting) and is the lightest and most moist of all my cakes.

CS: What is your biggest veganized dessert success?
YV: Making vegan frosting is definitely my biggest success-- particularly the chocolate frosting. It's tofu-based! Absolutely no one can tell what it's made of; all they can taste is the whipped chocolate texture.

CS: Finish this sentence. When I'm baking, I couldn't survive without my...
YV: Whisk.

CS: What's next for your business?
YV: I want to hold a grand-tasting party soon to test out some new dessert ideas and also some old favorites.

Curious? If you're in the Charlotte area, hire Angela to make your next special-occasion dessert; even if you're not in the area, you can enjoy the menu and pictures at  yourveganesse.com.

Reader Comments (5)

my mouth is salivating!
Visit http://onlythebestofetsy.blogspot.com/" rel="nofollow">Only the Best of Etsy!

October 27 | Unregistered Commentersunnie fairy

That first cake? Omg! I'm not a big vegan eater, but that looks pretty much amazing!

Sues

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterWe Are Not Martha

I love fruit based desserts. I can't believe these are vegan...the certainly don't look like it. Nice interview. It is interesting to see what things are difficult to veganize for people that work with it all the time.

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterTender Branson

Those looks soooo divine! It looks too good to eat!

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterRylan

It looks delicious from pictures only! Wow what a dish ! Ya it has a enough calories but we can make it once in month, isn't it? Ya I am going to try it on my daughter's birthday. this weekend only. Hope it will become good as It shown in pictures. Wish me best of luck.

October 29 | Unregistered Commenterheilpflanzen
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