Vegan options at Prairie Girl Bakery
Here in Canada, cupcake bakeries have been on the rise for more than a decade, thanks to the popularity of Cupcake Wars, The Cupcake Girls and DC Cupcakes. In Toronto, specifically, dozens of start-ups have been inspired to open, so now it seems most neighbourhoods have at least one cupcake shop.
Among the crowd there are some pretty fantastic vegan bakeries that make the veg community proud, but there are still many traditional shops that don’t consider the incredible cruelty-free substitutes they could use for eggs, butter and milk without sacrificing flavour or texture. (They will see the light soon enough—I just know it!)
Last week, I got an email from a manager at one of Toronto’s most talked-about cupcake confectioneries, Prairie Girl Bakery. She wanted to let me know that they had just added vegan options to their menu. She said that because the bakery has so many vegetarian and vegan employees, the owner was inspired to create a product that tasted just like their original product but without any animal products. Hurray!
The next day, I made my way to their Yorkville location to pick up some samples. Walking in, I was immediately struck by the bright, cheerful wall colour and how clean and clutter-free the space was. The cupcakes themselves were neatly displayed in a custom showcase out of reach, waiting to be selected and boxed up. Unlike typical bakeries, where there is often coffee, tea and a smorgasbord of other delights to choose from, Prairie Girl focuses all their attention on their pride and joy—the cupcake.
Their traditional cupcakes (with gluten-free options) currently come in several flavours paired with various frostings plus specialty flavours and rotating “Treats of the Week” options, but for now their vegan menu is limited to vanilla, chocolate and red velvet, with frostings like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coconut, peanut butter and (vegan) cream cheese. I’d say that’s a pretty great selection to try out on customers (hint hint… have you been yet?). If the demand is there, they’re hoping to add vegan banana and carrot cake flavours and are also working on a vegan and gluten-free cupcake.
According to their website, all cupcakes are free of preservatives, artificial flavours and hydrogenated or trans fats, but they’re still considered a treat for sure. I tried a mini vanilla vanilla (vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing), and I was impressed by the light yet moist texture and balanced flavour. The frosting showed specks of vanilla bean throughout and I was grateful that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like most frostings I’ve had before. I loved the texture, which had been whipped until it was super fluffy. I also came home with a small box of other flavours to try out (shown in the photo at the beginning of the post).
For now, all three locations carry several vegan options every day—they’re regular-sized but you can also get mini cupcakes if you call ahead or order through their website. They do weddings, too.
Other bonuses: Their customer service is impeccable and they donate leftover cupcakes to a local charitable organization, Toronto’s Second Harvest.