We were very excited to learn that Australia has a new vegan cupcake enterprise, Mister Nice Guy. So we sat down with husband and wife owners Lucas and Deb for a serious discussion about all things cupcake (of course it wasn’t a thinly veiled excuse to sample some of their delicious new products *cough cough*)
|Cupcake masterminds Lucas and Deb|
Can you tell us a little about yourselves and how you came to start up Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes?
Deb Everyone shows their love in different ways; Lucas shows his when he bakes. The first week I met Lucas he made me an Upside-Down Pineapple cake, a Strawberry Shortcake, Mexican Cornbread and Jambalaya, I fell in love with him very quickly and ever since then he’s just kept feeding me.
Lucas That’s right! That’s the way it’s done. I LOVE baking and cooking. I’ve been baking since I was about 11 years old. My father didn’t want me to have sugar when I was a little kid because they thought I had ADHD (new studies show that little kids have lots of energy because they are little kids).
I ended up going to live with my great aunt Nancy when I was around 11 years old and I knew that she didn’t know about the rule of no sugar, so when I came home from school I would open her cook books and start baking cakes and whole trays of cookies myself. It was heaven on earth!
I never stopped baking and here I am now doing what I love to do. That’s why the cupcakes are so good!
What’s the story behind your name, and shouldn’t it be Mister and Mrs Nice guy?
Deb We always had the idea of starting up a cupcake business eventually; it was just a matter of when. I’m a graphic designer and was given a job designing a shop sign for an old timey barber which I decided to name ‘Mister Cuts’.The logo I created was a moustache and scissors. I really liked it and kept playing around with the colours and decided not to use it for that job in the end, but kept it for myself instead for some reason…
|Mister Chocolate cupcakes|
As for the Mrs Nice Guy- I wanted to be Madame Awesome at one stage but it didn’t have the same ring to it as Mister Nice Guy. Maybe one day I’ll bring out some Madame Awesome Cookies or something and kick Lucas’s butt.
One of the great things about your cupcakes, aside from the fact that they taste amazing, is that you go to great lengths to ensure that all your ingredients are vegan and ethically sourced. Was it difficult to create a range of ethical and delicious cupcakes, and if so what are some of the challenges you faced?
Lucas The biggest challenge was to find out how vegan baking works. I’ve always baked but learning how to bake vegan meant learning how to bake all over again. It took several months, but once I figured that out- it was just a matter of what kind of flours and sugars worked best and tasted best- in the end it was always organic.
Another challenge that I’ve faced is that I have come across people saying that some food items have been organic but only because of money and not because they are actually organic. So that is on the top of our list of things to sort out. Deb and I are activists in many different areas and if someone is going around certifying food items as being organic and from sustainable sources we are going to hold them to it and find out whether they are or not.
|Fresh off the production line|
Lucas I love the Peanut Butter Cup as well as the Lazy Way Lane cupcake. I used to sell coconuts to tourists on Lazy Way Lane in Key West Florida, it was a great little hustle I had because the coconuts were free and the tourists had to walk by me to get to the shops!
So I would just sit there and sell them $5 cold and $3 warm, and for a few dollars more when they came back through I would cut them open and make a spoon out of the husk so they could eat the coconut inside. That was an awesome job and the tourists loved it!
Deb Fuzzy Ewok is my favourite, I wanted so badly to name one of them Ewok, I kept sneakily throwing it in there. Then we discovered the best Vegie Burgers at a café called Empire Strikes Back Café who now stock our cupcakes, so the name Fuzzy Ewok is staying for good.
Also, the Zombie Brain Cupcake rocks! Lucas frosts it in a way that it looks like a brain… mmm … delicious!
What sort of reactions have you had so far, from both vegans and non vegans?
Lucas Our first frosting was way too sweet. So I looked into a very old fashioned frosting recipe that uses 75 precent less sugar and uses flour instead. The result was an amazingly creamy and not too sweet frosting that everyone loves! I’m so grateful for feedback from our customers because it really can influence things for the better.
I’ve also heard people tell me that they laughed when they heard we were going to be selling vegan cupcakes and said it would never work. Then they said that people were coming into the café all weekend asking about our cupcakes and that they had tons of business because they were selling our cupcakes in their café! So yeah it surprises non-vegans how great our cupcakes actually taste and that’s what we’re trying to do – change that whole preconception of vegan food.
|Orange chocolate cupcake|
Deb They can visit the café’s we supply which can be found on the info tab on our facebook page, otherwise contact us direct, we deliver for free within Melbourne CBD and the surrounding area, plus we love to meet our customer’s face to face.
What’s next for Mister Nice Guy, are you planning to take over the world, or at least Australia?
Deb We’d really like to get our own bakery shop going, so that people can come in and hang out and eat cupcakes all day, watch a movie or play some old school Nintendo games. The whole point is to make people feel nostalgic and make it a place where everyone is welcome.
We’d love to see our customers and friends every day and a shop front would be great way to do that. Also if we were in a good location we could get non-vegan strays in off the street who just want to eat a cupcake and won’t even realize it’s vegan – and hopefully they’d start feeling more and more comfortable with vegan food.
For all your organic, fair trade, vegan cupcake needs check out the Mister Nice Guy Cupcakes website, or visit the Mister Nice Guy facebook.
>>> see the full article here: http://www.uproar.org.au/mister-nice-guy-vegan-cupcakes/