Cottage bakery delivers luscious vegan yeast-raised doughnuts to Dallas
A buzzy startup is bringing a valuable foodstuff to Dallas-Fort Worth: puffy, fluffy, vegan yeast-raised doughnuts.
Called Chef Mercado's Kitchen, it's cottage bakery in Richardson founded by baker Caroline Mercado that's earning raves for its doughnuts, custom cakes, and other pastries, all of which are vegan.
There are fried vegan yeast doughnuts, fritters, vegan wedding cakes, cupcakes, pies, and tarts.
The lineup of doughnuts includes flavors: Right now she's featuring "Georgia On My Mind," a vanilla glazed doughnut topped with brown sugar-oat crumble, and finished with peach slices and maple syrup. Popular classics include a doughnut topped with a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough, and maple bacon "Long Johns," a rectangular doughnut filled with sweet vegan cream, topped with maple glaze and a slice of vegan bacon.
Mercado sells them online and also offers specials and holiday menus featuring savory dishes such as chile rellenos, bruschetta, and charcuterie with vegan cheeses and meats.
She started the business after her mother was diagnosed with health issues and changed to a vegan diet.
"My entire family of 10 went vegan in support, and we felt better after we did - it's been good for us," she says.
She always had an interest in cooking, and wanted to pursue a career in culinary arts. After their switch, she became intrigued by the challenge of making vegan food.
"I saw a gap in the market and felt like there was room for innovation," she says.
She dedicated a year and a half to perfecting her recipe for a fried yeast vegan doughnut.
"At that time, there weren't any other shops doing vegan fried doughnuts," she says. "There were cake donuts that were baked, but none were frying them like conventional doughnuts, and I knew there was a market for it."
She launched her online catering business in 2019, initially focused entirely on doughnuts, before expanding into savory items including vegan ribs, which is one of her most popular items. Now Chef Mercado's Kitchen is a full-scale vegan catering company that does weddings, anniversaries, and events.
Custom decorated cakes are a big part of her business. And so is honoring her Hispanic culture.
"Food is something that's cherished in our community," she says.