The tantalizing images in Vegan East’s Instagram feed look like typical treats—you’ve got cupcakes topped with swirls of frosting, cinnamon rolls dripping with icing, towering wedges of cake.
The thing is, they’re all made without butter, eggs, or milk.
Vegan East’s success—since 2016, they’ve expanded from a home kitchen to two storefronts—is part of the Twin Cities’ expanding selection of plant-based baked goods.
“We love seeing all these other small companies pop up,” says owner Reid Nelson. “It’s good for us, good for the environment, and good for the animals.”
For Dulce Monterrubio, owner of Dulceria Bakery, adding vegan options to her selection of pan dulce (Mexican pastries) started as a way to support her customers and celebrate her heritage. “I realized a number of Mexican pastries and desserts are traditionally vegan,” she says. Alegrias, for example, are made with amaranth seed, dark chocolate, and fresh raspberries.
While some recipes easily lend themselves to vegan baking, others are trickier. Nelson cites the difficulty of sourcing specialty ingredients—it’s not an issue for home bakers, but it can be a problem at the production scale.
However, the biggest challenge is the perception that vegan foods won’t taste as good as their animal-based counterparts, something Nelson sees as an opportunity. “Once they try it, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s great,’” he says.
“I just want to have a really good bakery, and it happens to be vegan,” says Calina Hope Damiani, owner of Hope’s Vegan Kitchen.
“We’ve gotten rave reviews from vegans and non-vegans alike,” adds Monterrubio. “Lots of Latinx vegans who haven’t been able to find pan dulce in the Twin Cities and are finally able to eat conchita, they say, ‘It’s been years, and it’s just like I remember it from before I became vegan.’”
“That gets to our heart,” she says.
Here’s where to go when you’re looking for vegan baked goods in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Totally vegan bakeries:
Eureka Compass Vegan Food
This vegan bodega offers an ever-changing lineup of baked goods, including cookies, scones, croissants (both plain and stuffed with sweet or savory fillings), muffins, and pop tarts. Check Facebook or Instagram for the current selection and for special offers. 629 Aldine St., St. Paul; 651-600-0419; eurekacompassveganfood.com
A vegan bakery stocked with cinnamon rolls, cake, cheesecake, brownies, pop tarts, and cupcakes, Vegan East also lets you join its “Day Old Club” for a chance to score some freebies. Enroll for a $5 minimum monthly donation to a local animal sanctuary and you’ll be entered in drawings for day-old cakes. 2409 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis and 2179 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 612-213-3020 and 651-653-3822; veganeast.com
Hope’s Vegan Kitchen
Stop by the Linden Hills Farmers Market for croissants, cookies, bars, cinnamon rolls, and cheesecakes—the croissants are a crowd favorite and the s’mores bars are especially delicious. Treats are also available by online order for pickup in Plymouth or delivery to the Minneapolis area. hopesvegankitchen.com
Prairie Vegan Pies
Based in Morris, Minnesota, Prairie Vegan Pies are available in the Twin Cities via a monthly pop-up at the Herbivorous Butcher (and occasionally other places), with pre-orders available by email. Pick from full-sized and small pies in flavors including chocolate peanut butter, Key lime, and a veggie pot pie with Herbivorous Butcher chicken. A few full-sized pies can be made gluten-free. facebook.com/prairieveganpies
Totally Baked Donuts
Gluten-free and vegan, Totally Baked Donuts are available at pop-ups and by custom order, with free pickup in south Minneapolis or delivery for a fee. Pick from sweet flavors like oatmeal chocolate chip and coconut, or try a savory doughnut topped with jalapeño cheese. totallybakeddonuts.com
Bakeries with impressive vegan options:
Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe
There are typically four to six vegan flavors available in-store, with the selection changing weekly. Check Facebook for the current flavors, which range from classic red velvet to inventive seasonal options like dreamsicle. 701 Mainstreet, Hopkins and 10 Southdale Center #1705, Edina; 952-479-7516 and 952-920-0302; amyscupcakeshoppe.com
Angel Food Bakery
Vegan banana chocolate chip scones are available daily, and several days a week, so are vegan cookies. Plant-based doughnuts are currently offered Thursday through Saturday. To guarantee the best selection, show up early or call ahead to have some goodies set aside. 86 S. Sixth St., Minneapolis; 612-238-1435; angelfoodmn.com
The Mexican bakery has an ever-expanding menu of plant-based pastries. Sweet and savory empanadas, Mexican wedding cookies, and conchas are available daily; on “Vegan Viernes” (Vegan Friday), stop by for a wider selection, including panquecitos, moist bundt cakes in seasonal flavors like orange with horchata glaze. 1839 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis; 612-886-1180; dulceriabakery.com
French Meadow Bakery & Cafe
The bakery case offers several plant-based options, including cakes, bars, and a seasonal fruit crisp. The berry cream tart is particularly dreamy: blueberry and raspberry cream in a rich chocolate and almond crust, topped with a picture-perfect cluster of fresh berries. 2610 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis and 1662 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 612-870-7855 and 651-789-8870; frenchmeadowcafe.com
Glam Doll Donuts
Glam Doll offers several vegan cake, raised, and filled doughnuts daily. The cheekily named pastries include the Femme Fatale (vanilla icing with a raspberry curd filling), the Misfit (orange, ginger, and cinnamon-infused glaze), and the sprinkle-heavy Chocolate Starlet. 2605 Nicollet Ave. S. and 519 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-345-7064 and 612-223-8071; glamdolldonuts.com
Muddy Paws Cheesecake
A rotating flavor of vegan cheesecake is offered by the slice, typically strawberry, raspberry chocolate truffle, or Oreo. Additional flavors are available by the whole cheesecake for special order, including espresso, pumpkin, and peanut butter. 3359 Gorham Ave., St. Louis Park; 763-545-7161; muddypawscheesecake.com
Sift Gluten Free
Sift serves up a handful of vegan items daily, including chocolate doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and scotcheroos; in addition, breads are vegan. Since it’s a first-come, first-served situation, plant-based eaters would do well to show up early, especially on weekends. 4557 Bloomington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-503-5300; siftglutenfree.com