Full disclosure: I cooked for years in French restaurants, and I’ll never be able to totally embrace baking that doesn’t involve good old-fashioned butter, eggs, and cream. For years, when anyone mentioned vegan baked goods, I shuddered and made a half-hearted effort to hide my “yucky face.” Up to that point, everything I’d tasted was pretty darn sad. Fortunately for those of the vegan persuasion, the results are steadily improving in the hands of talented and committed bakers. Which was how I convinced some of my co-workers here at the magazine to help me taste a variety of sweet treats from the new-to-Northside Happy Chicks Bakery. After sampling a brownie and orange-ginger and margarita-lime cupcakes, we determined the margarita the long shot winner. The brownie lacked the fudgy quality we (non-vegans) find essential, but the cupcakes both had a nice crumb (read: cake texture) that was kept moist with a brush of syrup beneath the swirl of butter-less buttercream frosting. Vegans, this might be the sugar shack of your dreams.
Happy Chicks Bakery, 4035 Hamilton Ave., Northside, (513) 386-7990, happychicksbakery.com