Erin McKenna, owner of BabyCakes NYC, is New York’s most famous vegan baker.
Her cupcakes are so delicious that they’re sought out by all manner of eaters—those who avoid animal products, are health-conscious, or just have a discerning sweet tooth.
We peeked inside her fridge and found that (gasp!) she’s not actually a vegan.
And while she does eat a lot of cupcakes, her body seems to be over the thrill of it. Instead of craving sugar, her mouth waters for fresh, healthy foods. McKenna explains:
Your cupcakes are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and refined-sugar free. Do you follow those same guidelines in your diet? I’ve learned over the years that avoiding gluten, dairy, soy, and refined sugar has been the best way for me to stay on top of good health—it’s what my body responds best to. That said, I’m not vegan, because I do eat eggs and fish!
Interesting! What’s in the white to-go container on the top shelf? Gourmet Garage is just across the street from me, and anytime they have a good vegetable soup, I make sure to stock up. I like to add my own vegetables and simmer it down, then puree it for a nice creamy soup. It’s so satisfying and is a really nice meal.
Is that vegetable broth next to the almond milk? For more soup? That’s actually Pacific Rice Milk. I use it to make pancakes for myself on Sundays. The recipe is from BabyCakes Covers the Classics, naturally!
I’m also interested in all your beverages! What are the two bottles on the bottom, next to the grapefruit? That’s freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and unsweetened cranberry juice. I usually dilute them down a bit with water and add some stevia, so it’s a refreshing way to get my water in.
That’s creative. Okay, finally to the box on the middle shelf. It looks like something baked and delicious. We just shot a recipe video for the BabyCakes Baking App (coming out this summer!) with Christina Tossi of Milkbar and Brooks Headley, pastry chef of Del Posto. I taught them how to make a gluten-free, vegan pie crust. Then, they both got to finish it with a gluten-free vegan filling.
Brooks took the pie base and taught us an incredibly delicious savory swiss chard and chickpea pie and Christina made an outstanding corn and blueberry filling. We ate up all the savory pie after the shoot, but I got to take home what was left of the corn and blueberry pie! Such a treat.
So jealous. Speaking of baking, how often do you eat cupcakes? Every day! I have to sample the product to make sure it’s right, and I can’t complain about that part of my job.
Is it hard to eat healthy when you’re testing and tasting and around baked goods all of the time? Actually, eating healthy is just something that happens naturally for me. I’m drawn to natural foods, or what people are now calling “clean food.” With so much good produce out there, it would be a shame to not make it the centerpiece of every meal. My body actually craves it, which makes it pretty easy!—Lisa Elaine Held