Languages teacher Sarah Shooter never planned to open a vegan cafe.
The Totley mum turned her hand to speciality baking in a case of necessity, when her youngest daughter was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, and the family had to make more adaptations to their diet.
“It was a big accident really”, smiled Sarah, the week after she opened Baked on Hickmott Road.
”We cut dairy out, I went vegan and I’m also allergic to wheat so we had this whole mix of things going on which we couldn’t eat.”
Sarah started experimenting and after notching up successes, was asked to bake for others.
Sarah added: “I thought if there was enough demand for that, maybe I could open my own shop.”
The family spotted the unit just off food-packed Sharrowvale Road – itself home to intensely popular vegan and vegetarian cafe, Pom – and snapped it up. They had planned to open Baked in November, but having their front window smashed delayed it until just before Christmas.
The shop has a strong social media following and “supportive” customers who rushed down to sample the first bakes.
“People have come in and didn’t know the cakes were vegan or gluten free but still said it was delicious – I really enjoy that, that’s an achievement.
“In the beginning the things I was cooking were a disgrace – I thought there had to be a knack to this (baking without dairy, gluten or wheat.)
“It was just experimentation really and reading obsessively about gluten free baking and vegan baking.”
Some of the most popular creations so far include cookies, doughnuts and luxurious cakes, and savoury bakes may be added in future.
Sarah added: “I still don’t know anywhere you can pick up a vegan and gluten free sandwich!.”
Baked opens to Sunday.