Lauren Redmond kept hearing people say they would never become vegan because it would mean no cake.
Vegan food often stresses its healthiness, she says, and there’s an idea that vegan cakes are “really reliant on nuts and seeds”. Not hers.
The Buttercream Dream stall on Saturday afternoon at Stoneybatter Farmers’ Market in Pender’s Yard has brightly coloured cherry-buttoned buns, yellow treacle cake and more, laid out on a polka-dot tablecloth.
“Generally people are saying, ‘I can’t believe this is vegan,’” says Redmond. “When they think of a vegan cake, they definitely don’t think of caramels and sponges and coffee walnut cake.”
Redmond has run Buttercream Dream since June 2017. She quit her journalism course to study culinary arts. She moved to London to work in what she describes as “the UK’s leading vegan bakery” for a year, then back to Dublin to start the bakery.
Banana and walnut brownies are new this week, says Redmond. They’re made of banana, homemade toffee sauce on top, walnuts and “loads of Belgian chocolate”. They are rich, chocolatey, and spongy.
“Generally instead of dairy milk, we’d have a soya milk, oat milk or rice milk and depending on what the bake is, instead of egg in all the stuff it could be replaced with apple sauce,” says Redmond.
“But if you don’t want the bake to taste like apple sauce, generally it’s just as easy as adding lemon juice to the [vegan] milk and that curdles it like an old-fashioned buttermilk.”
It’s a quiet Saturday afternoon behind the big blue doors of Pender’s Market.
A couple of people mill about at the entrance, where fresh fruit and vegetables from Carraignamuc Cottage are laid out in baskets.
At the Scéal Bakery stall, a young family deliberate on what treats to have with their hot drinks from the coffee stall across the hall.
“It’s been dead all day,” says Redmond. She wonders if the Ireland-New Zealand rugby match scheduled on television is to blame.
In general, though, Redmond’s customer base is growing, she says. She ditched meat seven years ago and at the time felt she knew every vegan in Ireland. Now it’s different.
The market is bigger. Seven SuperValu and six Fresh supermarkets now stock her baked goods. They sell at Pender’s Yard each Saturday, and in Marlay Park on Sundays. Which means she’s busy.
Her partner Jude Murphy works with her full time at their kitchen on North King Street. She hopes to employ another person before Christmas, she says.
“There’s plenty of 12-hour days going on,” she says. “It’s a seven-day operation at the moment.”