Hiral Udawat, owner and manager of Cupcraze Bakery at 534 Bloomfield Ave. in Verona is the third all-vegan bakery to open in New Jersey.
Cupcraze offers all vegan, egg and dairy free, cupcakes, cookies and cakes all made to order, as well as gluten free items all made with organic and natural ingredients.
Udawat uses vegan butter and things like fruit puree and apple sauce in place of eggs.
The bakery opened on Oct. 3 and has already drawn a big response from residents.
“We've been busy receiving a bunch of cake orders and we have only been open a few weeks,” said Udawat. “We have had an amazing response, have great support from the community, we are thrilled.”
Cupcraze has been seeing a lot of customers from Verona, Cedar Grove and Montclair.
Beth Shorten, a lifelong resident of Verona, had never had a cupcake in her life before Cupcraze opened. Shorten, who has allergies to eggs, poultry, shellfish, kiwis, beans and a plethora of other foods, waited patiently for Cupcraze to open.
Since its grand opening she visits the bakery at least once a week and is known on a first name basis.
"My husband told me the cupcakes wouldn't be as good because they are vegan and 'aren't real,'" she said. "These cupcakes are the best, after trying them he admit he was so wrong."
Udawat says people should give veganism a try because it's healthier and it is guilt free because they use absolutely no animal products. Residents have in fact been trying the vegan cuisine, and they have liked it, she said.
“Our cupcakes have been getting a lot of reviews and we are getting a lot of non-vegan customers who come back and tell us we have the best cupcakes, and they say they can't even tell they are vegan,” said Udawat.
Some of their most popular cupcake flavors have been red velvet, cookies and cream, chocolate with vanilla and banana split which is banana cake with chocolate chips inside with vanilla, chocolate and a cherry on top.
The red velvet cupcake is her personal favorite, said Udawat, who added that she has one just about every day.
She used to be a project manager at a financial firm in New York City. When she became a vegan she found it hard to find baked goods so she began to bake for herself.
“Everyone loved it so much so I spent months setting this place up,” she said. “I had a very stable job and I started baking and loved it so I decided to go for it.”