Paige Welch, who’s vegan, wanted to make a salubrious cake for her son’s first birthday. So she whipped up a plant-based peanut butter and raspberry chia jam confection, devoid of cane sugar, artificial ingredients and preservatives. It was delicious. And the root of her business, Empowered Plant Cakes.
In the gabled cottage at Leaping Lizard Café, she now creates luscious desserts that are raw, gluten-free and dairy-free for Leaping Lizard as well as The Green Cat (which she co-founded with her mother), Civil Libation, Graze Kitchen, Fruitive, Barrel 17 and Java Surf. Her health-oriented bakery has retail hours on Saturdays and Sundays, services several farmers’ markets and fills online orders for pick-up at the Lizard (including custom orders for Paleo and keto cakes).
Flavors, like bestselling chocolate-peanut butter, lavender-lemon and salted caramel, change weekly, and with holidays on the horizon, peppermint mocha and gingerbread will be in the lineup. Their sweetness derives from such as coconut milk, raw blue agave, fresh fruit flavors, vanilla and dates. Rather than baking, Welch blends her ingredients, shaping them into elegant cakes and freezing them. They’re creamy and lush (think cheesecake minus the dull thud of density) and dazzling with swirls of vibrant colors seemingly plucked from the pages of picture books: dragon fruit’s hot pink, blue spirulina’s azure, turmeric’s yellow-orange, beets’ magenta.
Whether life-enhancing for those with dietary concerns or a curiosity for red-blooded carnivores seeking balance, they’re so delicious they could be called mm-powered.
The bakery’s name derives from Welch’s goals. “I wanted to create my own reality and do what I love, while being a mom,” she says. Her son, now 6, still gets excited to pick the flavor of his birthday cake every year, and he’s following in her entrepreneurial footsteps. After learning a teacher at his school was ill, he pulled her aside and shared, “My mom makes really healthy foods.” Then he went home and said: “Mom, I need business cards.”
4408 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach. 757-619-4746. EmpoweredPlantCakes.com