Clare Duncan, owner and baker of Fatty Dog Bake Shop, has a dog with a major sweet tooth and an eye for scrumptious perfection. Duncan named her business after her cupcake-thieving dog Moe (nicknamed Fatty) gobbled up a tower of cupcakes at a party. "We called him Fatty because it was the fun, ironic thing to say," she says. "They're so good, your dog will steal them." And right that is — Duncan makes decadent all vegan sweets that will have you drooling just like Moe. Using Charlotte's local ingredients, her goodies tickle the taste buds with her original combinations and inventiveness.
Creative Living: How did you get started in the vegan baking business?
Clare Duncan: I went vegan while I was in college and that spawned a whole new interest of how to make a cake rise without eggs and figuring out where you get your fat from without butter. It was kind of like a big experiment in the beginning and I was fascinated with all of the chemistry that goes into vegan baking. With that said, I hate science in any kind of way. It is just really fascinating to learn how to get around the age-old ways of baking and also it really just makes you think a lot harder about what you are putting into your body.
What do you think is the main misconception of vegan baked goods?
Not using milk, butter and eggs is usually what makes people question it. The big thing is you don't need an egg to bind things. It adds a sort of richness to it and I feel like if it's not a necessary thing then why put it in. Vinegar and baking soda are the two elements in a baked good that give it a rise. It is time sensitive though so it can be an issue.
What are your hopes for Fatty Dog Bake Shop? Do you want to expand from just cupcakes?
Yeah, maybe in the future. I have a home bakery right now and I would love to have my own storefront. I love the idea of having all my fiesta wear and cupcake stands out in my own little space. I can cook just about everything. I do sweet and savory things. For the opening of Eco-licious (a vegan retail shop in Plaza Midwood), I made endive leaves with a tofu salad wrapped in them, quinoa that is a type of grain topped with a peach corn salsa and a raw pizza with tomato flat bread, nut cheese and fresh greens. I don't know if I can keep calling it a bake shop and serve soup and other things, but I would be willing to do anything people want. I'm a jack-of-all-trades.