Photo: Lise Hannibal

Food & Drink

Enter cake heaven at Denmark's first vegan pâtisserie

Cheesecake without cheese and cream cake without cream? Perhaps they don’t sound like the kind of things that can compete with conventional cakes, but at Kaf in Copenhagen, the cakes are so dreamily delicious that you completely forget they are vegan based. And that’s actually the point.

You’re spoilt for choice. Cheesecakes with everything from oreos and Tom’s turtles to passionfruit, raspberry and lime. Strawberry cakes, raspberry tarts, lemon meringue, pistachio biscuits and pralines. Cinnamon buns, donuts, croissants and buns. Kaf in Nørrebro is the first vegan pâtisserie in Denmark and a bit of an eye opener, if you think vegan cakes are things like date and nut concoctions and raw fruit bars. In actual fact, the taste, shape and consistency of vegan cakes can stand up against the best you’ll find anywhere else in Copenhagen. And that's the whole idea, too.

“I don’t really compare myself with what other vegans make. For me, the criterion for success is being able to complete with conventional products. I never introduce something unless it’s at least as good as anything conventional,” says Magnus W, the man behind Kaf, to Scandinavian Traveler.

Foto: Lise Hannibal

He makes all the cakes himself on the premises, and he got his passion from his father, a baker and pastry chef.  “I use my father as a sounding board and he thinks this new approach is very exciting,” says Magnus W. “He can actually no longer taste the difference between what I make and conventional cakes,” he says with a smile.   

Kaf is very much part of a worldwide vegan trend, where more and more people are replacing animal products with plant-based alternatives. Magnus W himself has noticed a huge growth in the past year, and in 2017 Kaf was named Vegan Eatery of the Year by the Danish Vegan Society. From the very start, his aim has been to create somewhere, where vegans and non-vegans can meet and eat together, without being too difficult or expensive and where non-vegans also keep coming back.

“The clientèle here is vegan and non-vegan, regulars, passersby and plenty of tourists,” Magnus W says. “The best thing is that people don’t come here because it’s vegan, they come here because it’s good. That for me, is the biggest compliment.”

As a vegan pâtisserie, everything there is made entirely without animal products, such as cream, butter and eggs.  So how come he’s able to make croissants, cheesecakes, cream cakes and meringues?

Foto: Lise Hannibal

“Butter is actually the easiest to replace. There are already a great many plant-based alternatives available,” Magnus W says. “Our cream is made from cashew nuts, soy and coconut oil and the thickening effect, that you normally use egg whites for, can be achieved by soaking chickpeas in water and then using the water.”

His cake cream was the result of experiments to make a vegan tiramisu, and at the moment, he’s baking bread with sour dough and wild yeast from apples and plums. You can really see how enthusiastic he is at researching into gastronomic alternatives to traditional ingredients.  

“This is pretty much the only method I know, so my thinking is vegan minded rather than anything conventional,” he says.

Foto: Lise Hannibal

For a café to be so thoroughly vegan as Kaf, is very much a rarity. Maddie behind the counter confirms as much, as she grew up as a vegan and is delighted that the vegan range at Kaf is not purely a niche product.

“I love it when people come in and ask what vegan options are available, and see their faces light up when you tell them everything,” she says.

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