Edinburgh baker rolls out vegan cakes after realising her son’s dairy intolerance

Louise Nicholson, owner of Naked Bakery on Hill Street who supply vegan cakes to The Dome. Pic: Greg Macvean
Louise Nicholson, owner of Naked Bakery on Hill Street who supply vegan cakes to The Dome. Pic: Greg Macvean
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An Edinburgh baker has rolled out vegan cakes in a new city centre cafe after realising her son’s year-long illness was down to a dairy intolerance.

Dazzling rows of startlingly bright cakes line the cabinet of the Naked Bakery on Hill Street, off North Castle Street and owner Louise Nicholson, who has recently relocated her venture from her home kitchen, said demand for the cruelty free cakes has since soared.

Some of the colourful cakes. Pic: Greg Macvean

Some of the colourful cakes. Pic: Greg Macvean

But the business wasn’t initially born from a desire to live a plant-based life, but was from a desire for her son to enjoy sweet treats like other children.

The former fashion photographer’s son David, then 7, was suffering extreme stomach cramps and constant sickness.

He was back and forth from the doctors, unable to pin down what was ailing him, only to discover one year later that an intolerance to dairy David experienced as a baby, had returned in later childhood.

Louise cut dairy from his diet and his symptoms improved within three days.

She then started to experiment with recipes in her own kitchen, desperate to be able to provide her son with a birthday cake that wouldn’t make him unwell.

As her confidence grew and she learnt more and more about plant-based alternatives, her repertoire flourished and the elaborate designs soon caught the attention of high-end city venues such as Harvey Nichols and The Dome.

Her eye for creativity and a ‘mind exploding with colour’, led to Louise and husband Ross to take the plunge and open the Naked Bakery in a vacant premises on Hill Street.

“Our slogan is naughty but nice,” Louise said. “People who choose to eat, or not eat certain things as well as those with food intolerances can enjoy all the sweet treats they love and they don’t have to worry about where their food is coming from or if cruelty has gone into producing it.”

Bursting with colour, the walls are floor to ceiling with purple flower panels and the deep green chairs add further richness.

Plate after plate of completely vegan dishes, pop out of the tiny kitchen, the most popular seemingly the pink waffles.

“I love colour,” Louise explained. “This is pretty much what the inside of my head looks like.”

But amidst the frivolity of the design she is deadly serious about the ethos. “We try not and market as vegan because we want everyone to feel welcome here,” she said. “But I can guarantee there is nothing in the food or the fittings that goes against veganism, no leather in the menus or products in the chairs that would compromise that.”

The menu also caters for those with a savoury tooth, with a full Scottish including turmeric tofu scramble and plant based maple bacon, as well as mac ‘n’ cheese toastie and Beyond Meat Burger.