I’m not sure who on earth dreamed up this nutty concept, but it seems to be one that’s here to stay. That’s right, I’m talking vegan baked goods: No eggs, no cream, no butter, no butter, no butter. Did I mention there’s no butter? And at Tori’s Bakeshop in Toronto, they take it one step further by cutting out refined sugar and in some cases, gluten as well.
Since it’s my goal to check out as many “different” types of bakeries as possible during my quickly-flying-by maternity leave year, I decided to give this one a try, even though I have to say, I’m not really a vegan-kinda’-girl when it comes to bakery-related items.
You can find Tori’s Bakeshop on Queen St East in the Toronto Beaches neighborhood. Tori’s is the new kid on the block, having only opened in March. The shop is run by Tori herself, a twenty-something theatre-school grad who fell into the bakery game when she decided to take on the vegan lifestyle seven years ago. She couldn’t find the foods she liked, so she started altering recipes to come up with alternatives to fit the vegan criteria (essentially, no animal products). Tori discovered she had a passion for baking, her friends loved her treats, orders started trickling in, and VOILA…Tori’s Bakeshop is now in session:
While Tori may not be working that theatre degree too hard at the moment, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t served its purpose. Theatre school means studying set design, and Tori seems to have adapted what she learned from theatre production into designing her own unique bakery shop.
The palate, the finishing, the lighting, the flow – it all works. I particularly liked the mason jar chandelier and the French-door style peek-a-boo kitchen:
Now onto more important topics: The food! The current best seller is the cinnamon bun, so I obviously need to try one of these:
Also, the girl behind the counter highly recommends the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, so add that one to the mix:
And I was so taken with these bite-sized lemon tarts, I had to try one:
My verdict: LOVED the lemon tart. Clean and zesty citrus flavour, and very light. The crust was not flakey, but almost crumbly, more like a cookie texture – what a great contrast to the smooth lemon filling.
I enjoyed the Oatmeal cookie, although it was lacking the moist heaviness of a traditional oatmeal cookie – perhaps because of the absence of eggs? It was definitely a slightly different take on the original, but I liked it. And baby Felix wanted it:
The cinnamon bun had excellent frosting, especially considering it contained no refined sugar. If I didn’t know that going in, I probably wouldn’t have known the difference. The bun was pretty good, although oddly enough, I couldn’t taste the cinnamon! I’m sure it was there – I could see it in fact – but there was definitely an ingredient I couldn’t identify that was somehow neutralizing the taste of the cinnamon for me.
So would I go back? You bet. Loved the friendly atmosphere, and I really enjoyed being in the shop because it was just so darn beautiful. And while I may still prefer the cholesterol-building butter-laden version of a baked good, it’s nice to know there’s a healthier choice that’s still quite tasty, should I need to give the arteries a break!
Hats off to Tori for following her baking dream – I wish her every success.