Toronto’s Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off
Amanda of Hungry Vegan Traveler! Congratulations!
Now on to other exciting news…
Yesterday was a pretty fabulous day in Toronto. It was the 5th Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off, which also just happened to fall on my birthday.
I was one of the close to 50 volunteers of the Toronto Vegetarian Association who helped pull off the event, and what an event it was.
About 45 amateur and professional vegan bakers put countless hours of work into their entries for this very tough competition. At 2 p.m., a hungry mass arrived at the event space on Bloor Street West, ready to sample treats and deliver their judgment on the best in nine dessert categories, including professionally crafted classics, raw desserts and gluten-free sweets.
After just a couple of hours, well over 5000 samples disappeared, each taste tester added their vote to the ballot box to be tallied by a trusted team of volunteers, and the celebrated titles were ready to be awarded. A panel of judges, who included co-owner of Fresh restaurants Ruth Tal and owner of vegan bakery LPK’s Culinary Groove Lesia Kohut, rated the culinary confections for Best in Show and Best Pro in Show.
Oh, and the prizes! Each year, the event organizers work hard to create beautiful prize packs for winners, all donated from generous local and international vegan businesses, and this year was no different.
Contestants walked out with hundreds of dollars’ worth of loot, including cookbooks, gift certificates, cookies, cacao beans, vegan mozzarella, tree-free magazine subscriptions, and gift baskets, all topped with a handmade blue ribbon—and bragging rights for best vegan baker in the city.
Oh, and guess what? I won first prize in the Delicious Donuts and Pastries category! I actually hadn’t planned on entering but someone dropped out the day before the event, and to keep the numbers even I stepped up to replace the missing entry—which meant baking 100 mini donuts that night! I think I lucked out, and also ended up winning some pretty amazing goodies.
Just in case you weren’t able to attend in person, here are the sugar-coated highlights:
Best Pro is Show: Black Magic Squares by Apiecalypse Now
Best in Show (non-professional): One Drop Macaroons by Reuben Jong
Best Presentation: Tropical Coquito Pineapple Paradise by Drew Silverthorn
Best Baking Out of the Box: Barking Mad by PinkHart Diner
Decadent Raw Desserts: Tijana’s Tropical Treat by Tijana Cosovic
Delicious Donuts and Pastries: Marvelous Mini Baked Donuts by Nicole Axworthy (me!)
Glorious Gluten-Free Sweets: One Drop Macaroons by Reuben Jong
Professionally Crafted Vegan Classics: Black Magic Squares by Apiecalypse Now
Professionally Crafted Gluten-Free Goodies: Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Tower by Katie Brock
Blissful Brownies and Bars: Dashing Dan’s Peanut Butter Dream by Dan Pitman
Charming Vegan Cookies: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cup Extravaganza! by Lesley Steeve
Clever Cakes and Cupcakes: Tropical Coquito Pineapple Paradise by Drew Silverthorn
Perfect Pies and Squares: Heavenly Strawberry Tofutti-Cake Crumble by Maryann Buri