Downeast Cheesecakes Makes GF Vegan Cheesecake in a Jar!

Vegan Cheesecake in a Jar

Best Friends, Nick Sarro & Jordan Crosby of Downeast Maine started Downeast Cheesecakes in Franklin, Maine in early 2016. Nick and Jordan both knew they needed to be entrepreneurs, but being young, low on funds and in a small town they couldn’t appear to get anything to work for them.

Then, Jordan Crosby a graduate of Johnson and Wales Culinary University in Providence, Rhode Island was invited to present a class on baking cheesecakes at a local adult education program. That is the point at which  they had the idea of a cheesecake business suggested to them by a good friend.

Within a few days Nick Sarro a Marketing Manager & Brand Developer began the building of the brand. First, they developed a name, a logo, a website and a product list. They both realized that starting a new business in small town Maine was going to be a challenge, and to become successful in starting a new business, they needed to offer their customers what they believe are standard services in today’s world. Services like online ordering, free local delivery, fresh products, and fast turn around time.

One service both Nick and Jordan knew they needed to offer was shipping. That’s when they thought of baking their cheesecake in an American Made Mason Jar. Within just a week of testing, they realized that they were on to something that was going to change their bakery in a huge way! They launched their Cheesecake Jars as well as a few other dessert jars with the option to ship, and orders began coming through more than ever.

The beginning was definitely a learning experience and juggling their full-time jobs on top of their new bakery was becoming difficult to manage. Thankfully, they received funding from Machias Savings Bank and built their very own commercial kitchen. Now, both Nick and Jordan say that they have gotten into a good rhythm with how to manage their full-time jobs on top of their new bakery, and can see that Downeast Cheesecakes is a business that’ll keep growing until it can be a full time, full-service bakery.

Downeast Cheesecakes has attended many events in 2016 like the Blue Hill fair, Brewer Small Business Show, Bangor Wedding Show, and soon you’ll be able to see them at the Harvest Festival and the Fryeburg Fair! Downeast Cheesecakes has also been accepted as a member of Maine Made, recognized worldwide as a term for quality and integrity.

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Q&A with Nick Sarro & Jordan Crosby:

Why did you decide to offer vegan cheesecake? – We decided to offer a Vegan Cheesecake after we saw a growing number of people asking for it as an option. We also decided to make this a gluten free and a low sugar cheesecake that we believed people looking for a healthier choice would really appreciate.

How does your vegan cheesecake compare in taste and texture to regular cheesecake? The texture our the Vegan Cheesecake is actually very close to a normal cheesecake! It’s slightly more dry, but almost unnoticeable. You can tell a difference in taste of course because of they replacement ingredients, but the flavor is still incredible! In-fact it’s now one of my personal favorites.

Do you have calorie information, vegan vs. regular? We haven’t yet sent this cheesecake to have it’s nutritional information calculated & certified, but from our own calculations 1 jar would be approximately half of a Regular Cheesecake Jar.

What are the ingredients in your vegan cheesecake? The Base Is A Vegan Cream Cheese and a Tofu Blend. We then add Agave, Gluten Free Flour and a Blend of Nuts as the crust. This was a real challenge for us to get down just right. The first number of batches just didn’t come out tasting how we wanted so we had to really play around with the recipe.

Are there challenges in making vegan cheesecake vs. regular cheesecake? The hardest part for us was finding the best ingredients and the best brands to work with. When we had that down it was like baking a normal cheesecake!

Do you plan to expand your line of vegan cheesecakes to include more flavors? Right now we offer all our normal fruit topping, but plan to offer other great flavors!

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