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  • Baking Prodigy Extraordinaire

    by Kortney Campbell on February 22, 2012

    A week or so ago, a friend shared a vegan baking site with us.  We were instantly caught off guard by the age of the adorable girl on the home page. She had to be in her early teens, yet she was a vegan baker that seemed so perfectly put together. We had to know her story.

    Meet Clara.  She is the owner of Clara Cakes, a little traveling shop based out of LA, and our new hero.  She was kind enough to let us have a peek into her life & we cannot wait to try her treats one day!

    Q:  Tell us a little about yourself!  What’s your favorite things to do, places to go, music to listen to, food to eat etc?

    A:  I’m Clara! I love going to record stores, seeing all ages shows, and I like to eat, a lot. I’m definitely a junk food vegan, I mean, I like my kale and all, but I find myself craving vegan big mac’s on a daily basis (but my mom makes me eat the servings of veggies and fruits I need everyday). The music I listen to is endless! I’ve been listening to The Who’s Quadrophenia, and just a lot of the classics, Carole King, etc. Newer music wise I love No Age, Atlas Sound, Cloud Nothings, Sharon Van Etten, Bleached, again, it’s endless! I just got a guitar so I’ve been practicing playing it which is a lot of fun! Of course, baking is one of my favorite things to do as well, I just made some Oreo brownies!

    Q:  When & why did you decide to become vegan?

    A:  I became vegan three years ago, so 2009. It’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I had been vegetarian most of my life, but then when I was introduced to the dairy industry I was completely disgusted. About the same time I was discovering my feminist side, and I put two and two together and became vegan. I realized that if I wanted to be a true feminist, I’d have to cut out the dairy out of my diet because that’s an industry where females are being exploited every day.

    Q:  We know a lady never tells her age, but if we don’t mid us asking, how old are you now?

    A:  I’m fourteen, almost fifteen. I turn fifteen in March.

    Q:  Have you found that it is difficult being vegan amongst your classmates or have a lot of your friends followed in your footsteps?

    A:  The most difficult thing is when you’re hanging out with your friends and there’s nothing vegan to eat. One weekend I lived on pasta and oatmeal, you can make it work. For the most part everyone is very interested in veganism. The most common response is,” Oh, I could never go vegan” and then they insert the reason why, which is always something like how they can’t give up cheese.  I don’t want to come across as that preachy vegan girl but, I do share information with them and I don’t judge them. A close friend of mine has actually converted to veganism which makes me very happy! She says it’s easy now.

    Q:  So, we hear you have some of the best sweet treats around…when/how did you figure out that you were born to be a baker extraordinaire?

    A:  Honestly, it took me a while to realize that I enjoy baking. Before I was vegan I’d bake with cake mixes and slap some frosting from a tub on it and call it home made. When I became vegan I definitely woke up from the American daze everyone is still kind of in. That making food shouldn’t be that easy, knowing what you put into your body is necessary. Having a huge sweet tooth I started making vegan baked goods from scratch. It wasn’t easy for the first month of experiments. I wasn’t a baker in the first place, so baking from complete scratch and making it vegan was a little confusing. I had a lot of chocolate cakes tasting like bananas (it’s an egg alternative), and brownies tasting like, well, like they were “vegan”! It was fun, though, so I practiced a lot and eventually got vegan baking down. It was something that came easy to me, and completely relaxed me. I’d donate baked goods to different vegan bake sale fundraisers and people really loved my baked goods! I then went home and printed out some home made business cards to start giving out and word just got out. It was really great! There was a vegan cupcake competition/fundraiser that I entered and donated to. I actually won, which got my foot in the door. I knew baking was what I wanted to do, and it was what I was good at.

    Q What is your all time favorite thing to bake?

    A:  Oh goodness! That’s such a hard question! Brownies are fun, their so simple…But probably Inception cookies. They’re an Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookie. So fun to make and so delicious.

    Q:  What are your favorite egg & dairy substitutes to use in vegan baking?

    A:  Soymilk and almond milk work wonders! For cake you can mix dairy free milk and vinegar together to create an egg substance. Don’t worry, the cake will not taste like vinegar!

    Q:  Have you had any bad baking experiences?  If so, what are some of the “what not to-do’s” you’ve learned along the way?

    A:  Always put cupcake tins and cookie trays somewhere where they cannot slide and fall on the floor. That’s happened to me a few times and throws me off for awhile. Also, go with your gut. If a recipe tells you to use a certain amount of something that seems like too much or too little it probably is. It has taken me a year to get my brownie recipe perfected, and all it needed were minor tweaks.

    Q:  You are based out of California, right?  Do you sell baked goods outside of your area or do we need to plan a trip to the other coast soon?

    A:  I am based in lovely California! Los Angeles! Currently I don’t sell anything out of the area, but I am working on shipping.

    Q:  What are your goals with your vegan baking?  Can we expect the next babycakes?  Have you thought about (or already started) baking for events?

    A:  I would love to have multiple storefronts. I’d love one in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, NYC, all the cool cities! It’d be surreal. I feel like that’s part of my motivation for Clara’s Cakes, every step is one step closer towards an actual storefront. I cater a lot of events. I’ll sell at an all ages venue frequently which is one of the ways people recognize Clara’s Cakes.

    Q:  What is one thing we wouldn’t know about you without asking?

    A:  Probably that I love film! I would love to pursue a career in film, real estate interests me a lot, and advertising. I’m learning guitar because I’m starting a band. So those are my non-baking interests that you wouldn’t know right away.

    Isn’t Clara SO awesome?  She is so wise beyond her years, looks a little like a young Zooey Deschanel  & we love how she thinks for herself!  She is definitely our hero!  You can find Clara at ClaraCakes.com & if you’d like to know more about her, be sure to check her out on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as well!  To order some of her delicious baked goods, contact her at clara@claracakes.com or info@claracakes.com.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Clara!  We hope to visit your bakery one day in the future!

    About Kortney Campbell

    I'm Kortney; a wife, natural mama and vegan in love with life, food and all things vintage! I've been vegan since December 2007, but have loved to cook & create pretty things since before I can remember. I started Vegan Housewives because I don't think you have to give up the joys of food when going vegan! I have a fondness for re-creating non-vegan recipes (especially my grandma's), making a healthier & animal friendly version so be sure to send me your favorite concoctions by clicking our "share a recipe" button - I would LOVE to veg-i-fy them!

  • { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Heather February 22, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I’m so shocked at her age! I’m working on going vegan (its a process!), what an inspiration!
    xo Heather
    http://ahopelessnotebook.blogpost.com/

    Reply

    Lisa February 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    What an adorable story

    Reply

    Deanna February 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Wow, What an impressive inspiring young woman. I hope Clara works something out with shipping. I would love to taste some of her goodies. the oreo cookie dessert sounds awesome and that chocolate cake with the vanilla icing is one of my favorite things on earth….. Please keep us update on Clara and her Cakes….

    Reply

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