A Peek Into ‘Sophie’s Little Kitchen‘: An Interview with Sophie Delarny.
The gorgeous and talented Sophie Delarny shows me around her first ever business venture – Sophie’s Little Kitchen. At 22, her cake business is an impressive success. Sophie is a health conscious, photography graduate with a passion for all things food; and she even lets me have a go.
Hey Sophie, what made you want to start Sophie’s Little Kitchen?
When I became vegan 3 years ago I got really into baking (even though before that I’d never baked a cake in my life!). Not only is it something I feel really passionate about, but I could see a gap in the market that I wanted to fill. The awareness of the benefits of a vegan diet (health, ethical, environmental) is rapidly growing, and I like the idea that I am making a vegan diet more available and appealing to people.
Have you noticed a rise in demand for speciality and vegan cakes?
Yes hugely. Restaurants and cafes are realising that they need to supply vegan and gluten free options because it is becoming a necessity. Lots of big chains are offering at least one savoury vegan meal, but not many make their own vegan desserts. So that’s where I come in!
What is the most successful cake you do?
My peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes are a big seller, carrot cake is a close second.
I tried the peanut butter and chocolate icing and it was unbelievable! What would be your ideal vegan feast? Including your favourite cake?
I am a huge foodie, so this is a hard question…I love Lebanese food, so a tapas: falafel, hummus, vegetable rice, moussaka (which is an aubergine and tomato dish), lovely big salads and fresh flat bread. To follow that meal I would have plain, simple, homemade vegan banana ice cream. But as for my favourite cake I might have to say coffee cake….or apple crumble! I can’t decide. Aside from Lebanese, my other fave foods are Mexican and Indian – had to mention them at the end cause they’re just so good.
That is all the best food! How do you like to stay healthy? (Surrounded by all these cakes!)
Luckily I am more of a savoury person than sweet, so I don’t have much of an urge to eat cakes on a day to day basis, just when I experimenting with new recipes! Also, a vegan diet is generally less fatty, and the fats I do eat are healthy fats, like avocado, nuts, coconut milk, coconut oil, tahini etc. But don’t get me wrong, I do eat a lot, and not everything I eat is healthy! But I also exercise 2-3 times a week so I feel fit and active.
Was starting your business a scary prospect?
Yeah it was quite scary, and there were so many times where I was panicking thinking, ‘am I doing the right thing?!’ But I would always say to myself, well you’ve put so much time into this already, don’t quit now it might be successful! And if it’s not, it’s not the end of the world. It will be an experience that I’ll learn from.
I love your positivity. What are your hopes and goals for yourself/the business?
As my business grows and becomes more established, I want to also get more involved in projects to help raise awareness of benefits of the vegan diet and the reality of the meat and dairy industry; such as the impact it has in the environment. I did a seminar at a big event on the health aspects of the vegan diet, which I would love to do again. I am doing another talk soon about the impact the farming industry has on our planet, at a local event that has been organised to encourage people to buy locally sourced, organic produce. The vegan lifestyle is something I believe should be promoted, which is what I want to do – but in the right way. Not badgering, hounding or accusing, but simply informing people of the facts and helping them learn how to create delicious vegan meals. Leading me onto my next big life goal, my own cook book!
Now try your own! This is a basic recipe for a plain Victoria Sponge style cake. It can be adapted, make it chocolate by adding 50g of cocoa powder, make a lemon drizzle with lemon zest and maple syrup or just chuck a load of fruit in – anything goes with this simple recipe. Contents will fill a loaf tin.
- 250g self-raising flower
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 70ml cup organic rapeseed oil (sunflower oil will also do! But not olive oil, it’s too heavy)
- 240ml soya milk (or almond milk)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 300g icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of soymilk
- 50g of vegan butter (Vitalite or Pure Dairy Free are good brands)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract