At a young age, Clara turned her vegan baking hobby into a full-time career, publishing her very own cookbook by the age of 18. Let's get to know her better...
Tell us about your journey becoming a vegan baker.
I first became interested in baking when I was twelve when I was just becoming a vegan. I’ve always had a ridiculous sweet tooth, and baking vegan desserts from scratch was the only way I could satisfy my cravings at the time. Vegan baking has evolved into a full-time career now, which I never expected when I was starting out at age 12. When I first started baking, I’d sell at music shows and I’d sell my baked goods at a lot of pop-ups. More recently, I’ve come out with a cookbook, Clara Cakes, and have hosted various cooking videos – some of them self-produced and others in collaboration with companies like Tastemade (check out her Tastemade videos here). An ongoing project of mine is creating how-to baking videos that I post on my Instagram, Clara Cakes, almost weekly and I also bake for a roster of private clients. My biggest project right now is moving my life to NYC!
Tell us about your vegan cook book!
My cookbook is called Clara Cakes: Delicious and Simple Vegan Desserts for Everyone! A publisher approached me about writing a cookbook before I even thought creating a cookbook was a possibility at that time. The main theme is writing recipes that are impressive because they’re insanely delicious, period. I want everything I make to compete with non-vegan cooking, since that’s ultimately what I’m challenging. I’m self-taught am not someone that can spend a bunch of money at Whole Foods to prep a recipe, so the recipes come from an accessible and approachable perspective sort of by just being who I am.
What do you love most about baking?
I love the freedom involved in baking– the different possible flavor combinations within the confines of the baking chemistry. I’d call myself industrious – I’m a really creative person, but in functional ways, and I think that baking goes hand in hand with that idea. Even if I’m just working on developing a new recipe, I like the feeling of knowing it has some sort of purpose. Whether it’s feeding someone, or something to share with people so that they can follow along and make it on their own.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from what’s in season, so I’ll make these crazy brainstorm lists of different dishes I can make with the produce of the month. I’m a self-taught baker, so I love looking through Italian cookbooks for inspiration – that’s the cuisine I cook the most and I love learning other people’s Italian cooking methods.
What’s next for you?
Next for me is moving to NYC! My biggest dreams are having a cooking show and being able to employ all of the talented people around me to make everyone’s dreams come true!
What do you love most about being an entrepreneur?
I love that I’m never done working. I don’t get the Sunday blues because I work pretty much every day and I rarely feel burned out.
How do you define success?
Success is knowing that if you had to professionally walk away from what you’ve created, your work is still being used by people and bringing them happiness – and that you didn’t profit off of people’s insecurities.
What motivates you?
I love the career chase – I’m always competing with myself. Seeing other people making my recipes and loving them makes me happy.
When do you feel the most You?
I feel the most me when I have a lot of projects going on and when I get to exercise my various creative strengths within the food and design world.
Do you have any daily routines you can't live without?
I go for a run just about every morning! I never feel as clean the rest of the day without doing so.
Your TOP 3 HANDBAG ESSENTIALS, go!
#1: Lip balm of some sort – cuz dry in LA! #2: Mints – if you have a garlicky dinner followed by some drinks you’re gonna wanna have some mints on hand! #3: Charger – I’m terrible at charging my phone. It’s forever on 22%.
Connect with Clara: @CLARACAKES
Photos by: @CAMBRIA_FODEN
January 21, 2019