When my husband, Ben, and I moved to Florence, one of the biggest "bummers" (aside from the obvious fact that we'd be leaving our ENTIRE lives behind in Jacksonville) was when we realized we'd be moving away from our local vegan bakery. Our disappointment quickly turned to excitement when we learned about a NEW vegan bakery opening in our new city!
We aren't vegan ourselves, but unfortunately a few years back I learned I could no longer have dairy. By sticking to vegan baked goods, I've been able to confidently indulge without the worry of cross-contamination. For anybody who might have food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances- I'm sure you can relate and know the peace of mind that follows! As for my husband, he just enjoys satisfying his sweet tooth and he's quickly learned that he doesn't need dairy in order to do so! ;)
This weekend I had the pleasure of working with Vanessa Smyth, founder of Florence's plant-based, allergen-friendly, cottage bakery, Twisted Roots!
Aside from being a married, homeschooling mother of 3, Vanessa dedicates her time to baking delicious vegan treats! Her specialities currently include a variety of cupcakes, cakes, truffles and cookies. Vanessa grew up cooking and baking alongside her mother, who taught her the importance of making food from scratch! She admits, "It's just ingrained in me!"
"It's just ingrained in me!"
After years of experience with a vegetarian diet, Vanessa switched to a completely vegan kitchen about 3 years ago when she discovered her son, Cillian, had a cow milk protein allergy, along with lactose intolerance. She made the necessary adjustments and perfected all of her favorite recipes accordingly. This is when she and her husband realized they no longer had the option to order their son's birthday cakes since no bakeries in the area that could cater to his allergy.
"I had to start baking my son's birthday cakes myself. That's when I first saw the need for allergy-friendly options in Florence."
Also... Oreo Lovers... REJOICE! Vanessa has you covered! Her Cookies and Cream cupcake even has a surprise inside!
An OREO CRUST?!! YES, PLEASE!!
Using her talent of baking, her knowledge of plant-based ingredients, and her concern for allergen-friendly needs, Vanessa has accomplished just what she set out to achieve by opening Twisted Roots Bakery! She is currently taking custom orders and she will also be featuring some of her favorite baked goods in just a few days at Florence's first VegFest!
"I like being able to cater to all dietary preferences!"
If you've never had the pleasure of trying vegan cupcakes, you may assume that baking with different ingredients would completely change the flavor. I'm here to tell you- that's absolutely not the case! The main flavor that comes through is DELICIOUSNESS! :) Vanessa's cupcakes are rich, soft and moist. Her frostings are perfectly sweet, light and fluffy! They are the perfect ratio of cake to frosting and both are every bit as tasty! You would never guess they were a "healthier" alternative! You can definitely taste the love in each bite!
Vanessa's future plans for Twisted Roots Bakery are limitless. She is constantly experimenting with new flavor possibilities and recipes that she can add to her menu options! No matter what your dietary restrictions are (or even if you don't have any at all!), Vanessa is eager to work with her customers and cater to all individual needs! Challenging her creativity through baking is truly her passion. Everybody deserves dessert!!
It was an absolute pleasure working with Vanessa and her sweets are a true reflection of herself- simply beautiful, both inside and out!