This weekend was the “Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake Off” and I think it was probably the best one yet. Really organized, great treats, and an accessible indoor venue. I’ve been to three of the bake off’s (For a trip down memory lane: 3rd Annual Vegan Bake Off, 4th Annual Vegan Bake Off) and while I’ll never forget my first, I can see all the improvements from feedback from previous years.
I know the 6th annual bake off will be even better and I can’t wait.
This year’s Bake Off happened at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Center (though if you lived here, you’d probably just call it the JCC) 750 Spadina Ave, Toronto and at 2 pm things really got started. Over 47 amateur, professional, and professional amateur vegan bakers or bakeries put in hours and hours into preparing mini versions of their specialties.
I had a slightly different experience from the previous years, since as per my 101 in 1001 days food goals, I entered the Vegan Bake Off this year. So in addition to coming to the bake off to eat several plates of delicious mini vegan treats, I also got to feel the intense bake off pressure, and then later taste that sharp flavour of defeat (not really, but I’ll admit it, kind of.)
It was actually a lot of fun making 100 cannoli, in a zen kind of mindless repetitive task kind of way, but I don’t think I’ll ever do something like that again. At least not tiny unwieldy cannoli.
The menu was pretty impressive (but it is every year), both visually, and with all the creative titles. If you missed it, or you want to relive the event, brace yourselves, there are a lot of pictures behind the cut.
Winners are in Bold and have an Asterix(*) beside them.
Decadent Raw Desserts (I didn’t try this one)
1. Raw Blueberry Vegan ‘Cheese’ Cake with Crumb Topping
2. Zesty Sexy Key Lime Pies
Delicious Donuts and Pastries
9. Once Upon a Cannoli
Glorious Gluten-Free Sweets
12. The Break-up Cookie
13. Choco-pb Pan-wich
14. Attack of the killer brownie!
Professionally Crafted Vegan Classics
16. Nutty Monkey Tart by Michelle Gatien
17. PinkHart Diner’s Barking Mad (won a special “thinking outside the box” award)
20. the lovemuffin bakery’s Banana Carob Chip Bread
Professionally Crafted Gluten-Free Goodies
22. Caramel Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake by Bunners
23. Apiecalypse Now’s Dark Chocolate & Mint Marshmallow
24. Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Tower by the Saucy Baker – Katie Brock*
26. PinkHart Diner’s Heavenly Bites
27. Maple Ba”con” Donut by Tori’s Bakeshop
Blissful Brownies and Bars
28. Mr. Beetiful Caramelo Brownie
29. Espresso Brownie
30. Choco Coco Deluxe Bar
32. Salted Caramel Brownie
Charming Vegan Cookies
37. Choco-Cherry Clouds
38. Nutty Monkey Cupcake
Perfect Pies and Squares
43. Heavenly Strawberry Tofutti-cake Crumble
44. Oh My! Brownie Pumpkin Pie!
I am missing a few pictures, but you can also check out the collection of photos over at the Vegan BakeOff Flickr group for the event as well (there are some really great pictures from LOFPhotography.)
There were definitely some surprise winners this year, and some interesting overlaps with previous years, I enjoyed everything on our plates this year, but I think the one thing that really blew my mind was the Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Tower from Katie Brock. Amazing.
On a more serious note, while I felt it was a nice event, but did find it unfortunate that people don’t seem to get what vegan means, at least from it’s original ethical origins. Even those that should actively know better. I got called out for this opinion on twitter, but There were quite a few people with fur trim on their jackets at the event it was genuinely surprising. While I know not everyone in the world is vegan, be it for ethical reasons, or otherwise, I’m always surprised when fur is still a thing. It feels like it was passe in the early 90’s but yet, here we go again. Please visit Fur Trim is Trap for more information.
Until next year, keep baking, and have fun!