Jules and Erin used to be known for their Jamaican-style vegan café, Ital, which they relocated to Plant 4.
“We initially set up the stall as Ital. We had a cake display with doughnuts and they went in 40 minutes,” Jules says.
It quickly became clear marketgoers were interested in the doughnuts rather than the savoury offerings, so the couple narrowed their focus.
Since they rebranded, the stall has been “100 times more successful”, according to the couple. Now, as Cakeboy Donuts, they prepare 300 doughnuts for each market, usually selling out halfway through the day.
Jules says vegan doughnuts cooking is about “replacing those one or two animal products with a vegan alternative. When we use any chocolate on top [of the doughnuts], we just use dark chocolate and no milk.”
Cakeboy Donuts crafts flavours such as the best-selling peanut butter pretzel, and lemon meringue.
“We use aquafaba; it’s a bit of a miracle innovation in vegan doughnuts cooking,” Jules explains.
“You buy a tin of chickpeas and keep the brine. You whisk it for about 15 minutes at high speed and eventually it solidifies, which is when you add the sugar. It’s what you’d be doing with egg whites.
“It’s become quite a trend online. Even some Michelin chefs overseas are using it in non-vegan cooking just because it creates a fluffy consistency. It’s kind of like salty water; it doesn’t really retain that chickpea nuttiness.”
Cakeboy Donuts follows the growing international trend of niche, guilt-free food, and extends on the ethos of Berlin’s Brammibal’s Donuts and New York’s Dun-well Donuts.
“For me, personally,” Jules says, “I think the way we use animals and animal by-products in society needs a mass shift.”
He adds, “I don’t expect people to go vegan doughnuts overnight but I think that we should be making conscious changes to be doing less harm to animals, and to the environment and ourselves as well.”
While Jules says their doughnuts are that extra bit special for the vegan community, they’re really quality products that just happen to be vegan.
“We’re trying to do interesting new flavours. We’ve got some pretty cool ones coming up, such as pandan icing with condensed coconut milk in the middle and Thai basil on top.”