I used to love cheesecake as a kid, but as I grew and developed a sensitivity to dairy, that love started to fizzle. Though I will indulge in a bite of cheesecake from time to time, it almost always does me harm in the end.
Thankfully, since veganism has grown in popularity in recent years, I’ve been able to test out some unique non-dairy alternatives, usually in the form of store-bought cashew ice creams and cheesecakes—alright but definitely missing a punch of pizzazz.
Lucky for me, there are more flavourful options out there waiting to be discovered. When Lana’s Specialty Foods reached out to me on Instagram and asked if I would review her vegan cheesecake-inspired treats, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, I was desperately craving a healthy, gut-friendly treat while in quarantine...you can only eat so many salt and vinegar chips!
But before I delve into these sweet treats, let me give you a bit of background. Lana Ogus is the Founder & CEO of Lana’s Specialty Foods, which specializes in vegan desserts. Following in the footsteps of her cheesecake-making grandmother, Lana decided she would carry on a similar legacy. The twist, however, is that when she was a young adult, Lana developed sensitivities to dairy, soy and wheat. Inspired by her newfound raw, vegan lifestyle and her family tradition, she created Smart Cakes.
The amazing thing about Smart Cakes is that they’re egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free and completely vegan. Not to mention that they’re completely naturally-sweetened with maple syrup and loaded with fibre.
A treat for vegans and non-vegans alike, these dairy-free desserts are made with a base of navy beans, cashews and almond milk, in addition to a surplus of other unique and holistic ingredients.
I had the pleasure of sampling three new flavours: Maple Almond Crunch, Mandarin Orange, and Raspberry Ganache.
Based on a first impression, I think the Maple Almond Crunch was my favourite. I liked the balance of textures as the base of the cheesecake was smooth and decadently rich, while the nutty, maple crunch topping added a bit of bite. Just mildly sweet, this Smart Cake won over my heart instantly.
The next flavour I sampled was Mandarin Orange. Though I thought that the Maple Almond Crunch was my favourite, I started to realize that maybe I didn't need to declare a favourite so quickly! This Smart Cake was bright and vibrant, not only in colour but in flavour. With a citrusy zing, a single bite made me feel like I had received all my Vitamin C in a single bite … very unusual for a dessert!
Raspberry Ganache was the last flavour that I tried and that was also quite delicious. Its tangy berry base loaded with fresh raspberry pieces played extraordinarily well with the velvety dark chocolate layer on top. My dad, who detests all things vegan simply because he is a stubborn man, actually was completely enamoured with Smart Cake, which says a lot!
You can find Smart Cakes at your local health food store or even order wholesale directly from Lana’s website. There’s also many more flavours to choose from like Strawberry Vanilla, Lemony Lemon, Salted Chocolate Caramel and Vanilla Chai.
Overall, I recommend all my GTA-based followers to try these vegan cheesecakes, namely since now more than ever, we need to support our local businesses, but also because these make an amazing snack! They are perfectly portioned and leave you feeling like you satisfied a sweet tooth craving without actually feeling guilty.
I know that #SmartCakes are a treat that I’ll be stocking up on this summer for sure. Delicious, refreshing and nutritious, Lana has created a knockout dessert item that’s sure to win over anyone!
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Have you tried Smart Cakes? What’s your favourite flavour?