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For many of us, growing up, cake was something that came from a box. Baking mixes made freshly baked goods a possibility even in busy households with working parents, and simplifying the whole process made baking more kid-friendly as well.
These days, if you’re someone who tries to eat healthily, boxed cake and muffin mixes probably aren’t a staple of your diet. This is especially true for vegans and those with other specific dietary needs, like gluten-free or low sugar. Not everyone has a specialty food store in range, and lots of grocery-store baking departments haven’t even dreamed of making specialty goods available yet. This means that if you want to get a birthday cake for someone with an alternative diet, you’re probably going to be baking it yourself, from scratch. Good luck picking out a recipe from the vast number available on the internet.
For those of us who aren’t regular Betty Crockers, it’s great to see the tides starting to change. Several food companies in the plant-based, alternative foods space are bridging the gap between convenient, easy home baking and vegan home baking, releasing products that offer consumers the easy experience they grew up with while also meeting their modern dietary expectations.
One of those brands is Lehi Mills, a wheat-milling company that’s been operating in Utah for over a century. Lehi Mills is committed to tradition in order to put out quality wheat products, but it’s clearly not opposed to growing with the times: The company sells vegan-brownie, raspberry-muffin and pancake mixes. The mixes all have minimal, recognizable ingredients, including sodium bicarbonate as a rising agent, which eliminates the need for eggs. Lehi is proof that packaged foods can be healthy, high-quality and vegan all at the same time.
Nobody stacks up to you
For those who want their breakfasts to do some heavy lifting, Kodiak is another Utah-based brand that makes baking mixes. Their core product is pancake and waffle mix, which they of course offer in a plant-based option. It’s not surprising, considering Kodiak’s dedication to animals and conservation — a portion of all profits are donated to programs that preserve the habitats of Kodiak bears (hence the name). The plant-based mix also contains whole-grain oat and wheat flours and packs in 12 grams of protein per serving. Who said pancakes can’t be a healthy breakfast?
Another pancake option comes from vegan chef Ed Harris, whom you might know from Chopped and Iron Chef International. But you don’t need to be a master baker or chef to recreate his recipes because he’s recently released a new “Brunch Mix,” which can be used to make waffles and pancakes. Harris has published an entire cookbook devoted to vegan breakfasts, but fortunately for us, the Brunch Mix couldn’t be simpler — just add water or milk of your choice.
Brownie points, anyone?
Blue Diamond, the company known for its almond products, just released some quick baking solutions. Using almond flour rather than wheat, they debuted mixes for brownies, chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate cake and yellow cake, all of which can be prepared vegan by using an egg replacer such as flax. If your sweet tooth is calling out, but you really only have a minute, you’re in luck: They’ll also soon be releasing a 60-second cup brownie with diced almonds, which is also vegan-friendly.
If you’re looking for an easy treat to make for school events or kids’ birthdays, Partake makes baking mixes that are vegan, gluten free and free of the top eight allergens. They make a complete brownie mix — just add water and oil — as well as a five-in-one baking mix, which can be used as a base for cakes, pancakes, muffins and other baked goods. No matter who you’re feeding, Partake’s allergy-friendly mixes make it easy to accommodate those with special dietary needs.
Ain’t got muffin’ on me
If you’re ready to level up your breakfast and dessert game, Okina is an independent brand that’s making it easy to put exciting culinary creations on the table. All of their mixes are vegan and gluten free, and in addition to the basic muffin and bread mix, they offer banana-chocolate-chip, pumpkin-spice, zucchini-double-chocolate and carrot-currant-masala baking bases. In addition to being tasty, Okina can boast that they source ingredients exclusively from farms that operate with sustainable and regenerative practices.
And finally, one long-standing vegan favorite brand has taken yet another step towards convenience: Follow Your Heart now sells a ready-to-cook pancake and waffle batter. There’s no need to even add water. Their “Rocket Cake” mixture is ready to pour into a pan straight from the bottle. That means less time, fewer dishes dirtied and an easy breezy breakfast.
Thanks to brands like these, whipping up a vegan brunch doesn’t have to be a whole production. As plant-based food continues to grow in popularity, we’re probably only going to see more and more vegan-friendly (and allergy and diet-friendly) mixes in the baking aisle. And for those of us who aren’t natural-born bakers, or are simply too busy to break out all the ingredients, that’s a great thing. Weekday muffins, pancakes and brownies? Yes please.