Meet Cherie Hausler! Plant eater, tea blender, farmhouse renovator, animal hugger, and cake baker! Never doing anything by halves, Cherie went above and beyond our request for sharing one of her exisiting cake recipes with us for cake month, instead she custom-made this vegan Lemon Meringue Cake with Polka Dots (of course!) and filmed a tutorial on how you can make it at home too. We couldn’t simply post the recipe without getting to know the Barossa Valley beauty behind the cake, Cherie Hausler!
You have shared a Lemon Meringue Cake with Polka Dots cake with us today – first of all, the polka dots! We’re all doing a little happy dance about the yellow polka dot Billy Button flowers here at Polka Dot Bride, thank you. Secondly, the cake is made out of 100% plant based ingredients. What’s your secret for making this cake taste so delicious with no animal products, in particular no eggs for the meringue?
I probably didn’t ever really understand how easy making cakes without animal ingredients is before I started baking this way, and now I don’t even really think about substituting plant based ingredients for animal products, unless it’s a specific recipe that I’m ‘veganising’ and then I will swap eggs for flax seeds, butter for olive oil, and soy or almond milk for cow’s milk to keep the proportions the same as the original recipe. The chickpea water discovery with aquafaba was some kind of magic to me though! It put so many things back on the menu that I thought I’d never bake again – pavlova, macarons, Bombe Alaska and meringue of course! I love making it, it’s seriously brilliant to see that alchemy take place before your eyes.
Not only did you whip up a special polka dot 4-layer cake for us today, you went a step further and created a video tutorial to back it up. The setting is so cute, where did you film this?
My farmhouse is the Barossa is 176 years old, so the kitchen you see me in has some baking history behind it for sure! I often think about all the food that has been made in that same space, the breads that would have been baked in the original baker’s oven and all the celebrations that must have taken place around the dining room table that would have sat in the same place our’s does now; there are some serious food memories in those walls. My husband and I moved back to the Barossa after being away for over 20 years, travelling and living in other parts of the world, because we had a romantic notion to renovate an old farmhouse on a hill. I’m glad we were able to keep our rose coloured glasses on for long enough to get through those first few years of renovations because things were a little more than ‘rustic’ when we moved in! The kitchen was the first renovation we did, and now it’s one of my favourite parts of the house, and where I spend a good chunk of my time each day.There’s nothing perfect about it, but I think that’s the part I like best.
We love your Instagram and have been eyeing off all the cakes you have been baking for weddings and wedding-related events. How did you get into baking vegan wedding cakes for couples’ big day?
Because we have a tea company, Scullery Made, I’ve always been involved in local events and markets, and where there’s tea there should be cake, so I have always made baking a part of any tea offering. One thing lead to another, and more and more people were asking me to do cakes for their special occasions and because I love making cakes, I just kept saying, ‘sure, I’ll do that for you!’ but more as a fun and lovely thing to do than any serious profession.
Do you happen to remember the cake you served at your own wedding? Can you describe it? Do you have a pic to share with us?
I made our wedding cake! I was only 24 when we were married so my tastes weren’t necessarily Michelin Star, it was a very simple flourless chocolate cake, double layer, with chocolate ganache and I studded it all over with fresh roses and leaves. Even though it was a while ago now, I look at that cake as being slightly prophetic of what was to come in my future life; good cake has always been a big deal, and all the more so when it’s a cake to celebrate love.
In addition to making brides and grooms happy with beautiful bespoke wedding cakes, you have also recently launched a new business. Can you tell us a little bit about All the Things and some of the exciting projects you have on the boil?
All The Things is named for the fact that I feel like everything I’ve done with tea and food and nutrition has finally come together under the same umbrella – it’s all the things! The name also references the fact that it’s not just one type of food we are going into production with, but a whole range; the kind of food you reach for first, without even knowing that it’s 100% plant-based, organic and whole, more often than not gluten free, and quite often raw. Nutrient dense, essential nourishment of a particular kind that ticks all the boxes.
You’ve been working on some delicious vegan cheese for All the Things! If a couple wanted to serve a vegan cheese cake tower instead of a wedding cake, what cheeses would you recommend for it?
Oooh, I love that idea. Ok, so I’d probably do an aged almond cheese on the bottom, then a cashew camembert, an ashed blue, and a very soft macadamia and coconut cheese with rose petals on top.
What does a day in the life of Cherie Hausler look like at the moment?
We are in the midst of setting up our new production kitchen, so my brain is filled with troubleshooting what our production flow chart looks like, designing packing, sourcing ingredients and non-stop taste testing. There’s a Youtube channel too, and that’s not something I’ve done before, but I love it because it gives me a chance to bounce ideas around with people watching to find out exactly what they feel they’re missing out on, or want to know how to make, when they are following a plant based lifestyle. There’s so much going on, but I feel like I have one foot in the known, because of the years I’ve spent with hands on learning, and then my other foot definitely has me in unknown territory with everything new I’m trying to wrap my head around. The funny thing is, I think that’s where the juicy stuff of life is, when you’re stretching yourself and wondering if you’re going to be able to pull something off, but just as things get a bit hairy, you can rely on past experience to sit as a firm foundation for whatever comes next.
How do you unwind from all of the projects you are juggling?
We have a lot of rescued animals on our farm; it’s really more of a communal hang out than a farm in any traditional sense, so there’s always something to take me out of my own headspace; my horse to hang out with, our border collies to walk (and walk and walk), new runner ducklings hatching, or the cows to chat to. Hanging out with animals and drinking tea is my cure-all for pretty much anything.