“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.
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.
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
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
- 2 apples peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp rice flour
- 1/3 cup gluten free oats
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer.
- Add remaining shortbread ingredients while mixing on low speed. Mix until dough comes together.
- Spray 9x13 pan and press ½ of shortbread dough evenly in the pan.
- Combine filling ingredients and add on top of the crust.
- Crumble the remaining shortbread crust on top of the blueberry mixture and press down.
- Sprinkle the 1/3 cup of oats on top.
- Bake until golden around edges and the apple mixture looks set/no longer wet. (About 40 minutes)