About the Bakery
It's always been our mission to create really great baked goods that happen to be vegan. No settling for dry or dense cakes or choosing from a tiny list of boring vegan options. Go ahead and serve one of our cakes to your friend who has "never eaten vegan food." They'll have no idea.
But how we create our baked goods is just as important. We built our bakery around the idea that your dollar is your vote for the world you want. For us, that means a few things.
• Our ingredients will always be vegan. We've done the label-reading, and we've contacted the companies. Our ingredients are free from dairy, eggs, gelatin, shellac, confectioners' glaze, carmine, and all those other sneaky things--right down to the sprinkles.
• We use only fair trade chocolate and cocoa powder, and we use local products whenever we can.
• We buy many of our supplies at local suppliers or small businesses, and we've been proudly Amazon- and Whole Foods-free for over a year.
• We make the most sustainable choices that are possible and practical. While we are still using (recyclable!) plastic containers, we've done our best to replace single-use items with lower-waste alternatives and continue to make more changes as we can.
P.S. Your ballot is also a very important vote, and you should use it at 100% of opportunities to do so. Head over here to get to it: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/
About the Baker
I'm Alyssa, the owner, baker, recipe-writer, Instagram-poster, and dishwasher behind Black Squirrel Bake Shop. I went vegan almost 8 years ago, just three months before my wedding. About a month later, our wedding cake baker cancelled. Rather than scramble to try to find a vegan baker in my Wisconsin hometown (spoiler: there wasn't one), or settle for a dessert I wouldn't eat, I started trying out recipes at home and found some winners! I wrangled help from my mom, grandma, and aunt, co-opted my grandma's kitchen, and, together, we baked 150 cupcakes the day before the wedding.
As it turns out, it wasn't just my hometown with a dearth of vegan baked goods, and finding treats that are "good" rather than "good for vegan," is really hard. I wasn't ready to settle for dry, stodgy cakes.
I dabbled in vegan baking here and there until 2017, when I set out on Officially Creating Recipes. I developed recipes for about a year before launching as a home bakery in Lawrence, Kansas. I had a stall at the Lawrence Farmers' Market for two year before Covid hit. In late 2020, we relocated to Madison, Wisconsin, where I relaunched the bakery, and here we are!
About the Squirrels
After, "Wait, so everything's vegan?" the most common questions we get is, "So, why Black Squirrel?"
There is no good reason for the name other than than Black Squirrels are a particularly cute type of squirrel. There are little pockets of them all over the place, and we've been told they're feisty.
Read more about them here.