A slice of vegan history

Read to the end for a free Ms. Cupcake recipe!

I thought sitting down to write a blog post about the release of the Ms. Cupcake cookbook would be a simple process that involved reviewing the book, saying how much I adore her food and sticking in a few photos.

However, on reflection the idea of simply talking about the book as just another collection of recipes seemed beyond insufficient. This book acts as distinct marker in the timeline of vegan London and Mellissa Morgan is more than a mere cupcake maker. She has been one of the guiding forces in the veganisation of the UK capital and walks at the forefront of a plant-based wave sweeping the country.

No, this isn’t just a cookbook. It is historical evidence of how an independent baker helped change the way London and the UK think about veganism.

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Ms. Cupcake – The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town!

The story of the rise of Ms. Cupcake is especially poignant and personal for me. It wasn’t long after I started this blog that Mellissa moved her well-loved market stall business into her very own bakery on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. It was the story about this move that went on to become one of the most read posts of all time on my blog.

When I had the idea of creating London Vegan Potluck, it was Mellissa and the Ms. Cupcake crew who welcomed my crazy idea with open arms. The potluck has since moved to larger premises, but I will never forget or take for granted what the bakery did for me and my event. Mellissa’s commitment to the vegan community in London helped me create one of the most enduring and loved social events in the country.

The Ms. Cupcake bakery is a focal point for vegan London. The rise of such a successful vegan business lit a spark that has grown to an inferno and inspired all manner of events, food providers and support networks. Many of the people who work or have worked in the bakery have become my dear friends. The cookbook tells Mellissa’s story and the recipes are testament to her creativity and persistence, but it also acts as reminder for vegans everywhere how we can change the world around us if we decide to act.

Buy the Ms. Cupcake book if you would like to know how to create mouthwatering cookies, cupcakes, muffins and loaves. Buy the Ms. Cupcake book if you want a invaluable guide to vegan icing, stockists and methods. Buy the Ms. Cupcake book if you enjoy owning recipe books brimming with colourful and stylish artwork and photos. But most importantly, buy the Ms. Cupcake book if you want to own a piece of the story of how London truly became an international vegan city.

Order now online from Amazon.

Tracy aka The Vegan Butcher with Jaffa Cakes

Tracy aka The Vegan Butcher with Jaffa Cakes

As a special treat, Ms. Cupcake and her publisher have given me permission to include the following recipe taken from the new book. I followed the easy recipe to make my own batch of Nanaimo bars and the process was completely hassle-free, even for a non-baker like me.

The Canadian-inspired bars were delicious and decadent, the perfect reminder of my pal Tracy (pictured above) who was a valued member of the Ms. Cupcake crew before she moved back to her home of Halifax, Nova Scotia. These bars are for you, Tracy!

Nanaimo bars by Ms. Cupcake

Makes 15–24 Bars

For the biscuit base

  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp lukewarm water
  • 230g (1 cup) dairy-free margarine
  • 100g (1⁄2 cup) caster sugar
  • 90g (scant cup) cocoa powder
  • 250g (2 cups) rich tea or digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 200g (31/3 cups) desiccated coconut
  • 100g (3⁄4 cup) chopped walnuts (optional)

For the custard cream filling

  • 180g (3⁄4 cup) dairy-free margarine
  • 50g (3 tbsp + 1 tsp) vegetable fat (shortening)
  • 600g (6 cups) icing sugar
  • 5 tbsp custard powder
  • 2 tbsp soya or rice milk

For the chocolate layer

  • 300g (11⁄2 cups) dairy-free chocolate chips or chocolate bars
  • 50g (3 tbsp + 1 tsp) dairy-free margarine

Method

Liberally grease, or line with parchment paper, a 33cm x 23cm (13” x 9”) cake tin.

In a small bowl, whisk the flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Over a low heat, melt the margarine in a pan with the caster sugar and the cocoa powder. Remove from the heat and add the crushed biscuits, coconut, walnuts (if using) and flaxseed mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the prepared cake tin and pop it into the fridge to chill for at least an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the custard cream filling. Using an electric hand-held mixer, mix together the margarine, vegetable fat, icing sugar, custard powder and soya milk. The custard will resemble a soft buttercream. Take the biscuit layer out of the fridge and spread the custard cream across it evenly.

Finally, for the chocolate layer, melt together the chocolate chips and margarine in a pan over a low heat. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the custard cream layer. Return the tray to the fridge. Allow the chocolate to firm up for about an hour before slicing into it. Hum the Canadian national anthem while eating.

FGV-made Nanaimo bars

FGV-made Nanaimo bars

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10 Responses to A slice of vegan history

  1. What a lovely story! I’m definitely buying the book. I’ve read great things about the recipes from jaffa cakes, to lemon card bars, cookies to brownies and of course the famous cupcakes! I’m sorry that I haven’t made it down to the Brixton shop yet but every vegan festival my ms cupcake cupcake is a highlight!
    P.S Thanks for sharing this recipe to get me started

  2. bea says:

    I am so looking forward to receiving the pre-order of the book! I am a relative newbie in terms of being actively vegan so only heard about Ms Cupcake’s bakery a few short months ago. It’s so lovely to hear the background story. Love your writing! You’ve brilliantly articulated a sense I had that Ms Cupcake is ‘one of the guiding forces in the veganisation of the UK capital and walks at the forefront of a plant-based wave sweeping the country’. Makes me feel lucky and proud to live near London town!

  3. Fantastic!
    Amazing!
    Cakerrific!

  4. CallyV says:

    I cant wait to get my hands on this book :D really want to go down to london and visit ms cupcake too x

  5. Easy2BeVegan says:

    I’m gonna make a concerted effort to get over to visit the shop when I go up to London for Vegefest in October!! Can’t wait. Thanks for the blog post!

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