Vegan Bakery Has Something for Everyone

Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse is lauded as one of the top vegan bakeries in the country.
 
Like many vegan bakeries around the country, Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse in Kansas City, Missouri doesn’t just cater to the vegan and gluten-free crowds. It looks to bring in the casual bakery-goer as well.

“It’s definitely a mix,” says owner Ashley Valverde, of the bakery’s customer base. “It was really scary to open a vegan business, but the majority of the people that come in here aren’t vegan or vegetarian. That was our goal, to win them over and make people less afraid of vegan baked goods.”

That strategy has certainly paid off. Mud Pie has become recognized for its quality baked goods, not just locally but also on a national level. Earlier this year, The New York Post published an article listing sixteen of the best bakeries in America and Mud Pie made the list, the only vegan bakery to do so. This is just one of the many accolades that it has accrued in its six-and-a-half-year history.

Customers enjoy Mud Pie's espresso beverages flavored with its own nut milks made in-house.
 
Mud Pie has benefitted from a variety of factors, including its convenient location in a unique neighborhood in the city. Valverde, along with her husband Michael and her parents, John and Sharon Hughes, operate the bakery out of a quaint two-story yellow house. Customers can spread out throughout the many rooms in the house, whether it be the bottom floor’s cozy atmosphere for chatting or working on computers, or the upstairs portion featuring more personal environments in addition to a room for kids with a baby gate and plenty of toys to enjoy.

While the house setting provides some of the appeal, that only seeks to draw potential customers in. Once inside, they are wowed by Mud Pie’s diverse offerings. The bakery’s small batch coffees, brewed in-house, are a point of pride for its staff. They also make their own milks, including soy, almond, cashew, coconut, rice, and hemp.

That innovation extends to its baked goods. The Valverdes have gotten plenty of inspiration from other sources, but also have brought in bakers with backgrounds that allows for them to experiment with gluten-free’s capabilities.

“We try to stay away from nut flours [for customers with nut allergies], although we have nuts in certain items. We use rice, sorghum, quinoa, garbanzo. We have a whole slew of flours,” says Ashley Valverde. Each flour has a distinct taste, so they experiment with different bases for each product. “We have one base for cookies, but it will be totally different for cupcakes or muffins,” she says.

Scones are a top-selling item at Mud Pie.
 
Scones and bagels are some of the bakery’s most popular menu items. The savory flavors in particular are a big draw, but its sweet treats also impress. The best-selling product is its crumble bars, which come in fruity flavors such as blueberry and apple (the recipe of which can be found at the end of this feature).

With the increased product diversity comes the need for expanded baking space. In July, Mud Pie opened a second location in nearby Overland Park, Kansas. The new site features more retail space and a much larger kitchen which will allow for increased menu options for both locations, with the possibility of daily lunches, vegan donuts, smoothies, and much more.

The Overland Park location was funded in part through a Kickstarter. While the Valverdes were hesitant to ask others for money, they had seen other businesses succeed with that model and hoped that customers would view it as an investment in a product they had grown to love. They were blown away by the support they received, which goes to show the community that develops around a local business over time. Mud Pie continues to cultivate that community as the city’s residents continue to appreciate its diversity.

Mud Pie's Gluten Free Apple Crumble Bars

Ingredients

Crumble crust & topping

  • 3 sticks earth balance buttery sticks
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 2 cups gluten free oat flour
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped

 Filling

  • 2 apples peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice flour

 Topping

  • 1/3 cup gluten free oats

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
  3. Add remaining shortbread ingredients while mixing on low speed. Mix until dough comes together.
  4. Spray 9x13 pan and press ½ of shortbread dough evenly in the pan.
  5. Combine filling ingredients and add on top of the crust.
  6. Crumble the remaining shortbread crust on top of the blueberry mixture and press down.
  7. Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of oats on top. 
  8. Bake until golden around edges and the apple mixture looks set/no longer wet. (About 40 minutes)