Philly Cupcake Says No To A Show Of Ingredients

Around this time last year, I was starting up a new job at a bank outside Philadelphia, so I had to head into the city to dot Is and cross Ts. On my walk, I passed by the cheerfully decorated Philly Cupcake and couldn’t resist.

I asked my typical ingredients questions about gelatin and dairy sources and was informed that they had a small vegan selection. (Three is actually better than some other places that offer maybe one or none.)

However, I was curious if the other cupcakes were suitable for vegetarians such as myself, so I took a cue from vegan queen Sarah Kramer. Among her Travel Tips, Kramer suggests that you, “ask your server to check the ingredients or, better yet, ask them if you can check the ingredients. Every restaurant is legally bound to have an ingredients book on hand, so don’t take no for an answer. It’s your right as a customer to look at it because egg, whey powder, etc. are sometimes hidden ingredients in ‘veggie’ products.” (Vegan a Go-Go!, pg 25)

When I asked if I could see the ingredients, the man in the white chef’s jacket let out a chuckle, then a “no.” Technically, they’re not a restaurant. However, even sweets are food. So Philly Cupcake is an establishment selling prepared foods for human consumption. They shouldn’t be exempt.

Maybe I’m spoiled by bakeries like Sweet Freedom Bakery on South St who don’t think I should even have to ask; they put the ingredients lists right in the case.

Upon further discussion, the man noted that the regular icing has gelatin in it but actually said that kosher gelatin is vegetarian because it is so processed it’s not really fish anymore. Really? Seriously? (Let me know your views on the topic by commenting below.)

In the end, I did purchase a Vegan Peanut Butter and Jelly cupcake. So, take my advice: admire the facade, then move on. It’s nice for them to offer even a modest vegan selection, but the cupcake wasn’t really good enough for the doubt it fostered.


2 thoughts on “Philly Cupcake Says No To A Show Of Ingredients

  1. It’s refreshing to see a vegan review that isn’t positive. (Mine seem to always rate a thumbs up and that gets boring.) And it’s good to know that about being legally bound to reveal ingredients – ‘didn’t know that.
    The whole kosher gelatin thing – my knee jerk reaction is this: no matter how processed it may be by the time it gets to me, if it had to start with an animal, then it’s not vegan. Or in more general terms, it’s not what I’m actually putting in my body that bothers me (I’m sure a lot of “processed cheese foods” have next to no real cheese in ’em), it’s what had to happen along the way to produce it. Those processed cheese foods took some real food to get ’em started.

    1. Thanks man! It’s a relief to hear that from you. I’m always tentative to write anything bad. Once I wrote poorly (might be an understatement) and a CHAMPS cupcake, then I felt awkward to go in there again. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, especially to veg*n establishments who are fueled by the same or similar values. We are a really small percentage of the population. On the other hand, I want to be someone people can trust. Everyone’s different, but I feel it doesn’t do us any good to encourage people to eat anything we wouldn’t want to be. Plus, it’s not like non-veg*n establishments are adding vegan items out of the goodness of their hearts. When people Go Veg, they go elsewhere. Even if it’s only a small proportion, especially for bakeries as people battle the bulge, they’ll take a lose. They offer veg*n options to 1) draw in those who wouldn’t normally eat there and 2) draw in those part of a collective who may be considering where to eat with their veg*n friends in mind. It eases personal relationships to be able to go into a random joint and be able to eat with my friends, but businesses add veg*n items for the sake of the all mighty dollar. When I ate meat, I wasn’t a repeat customer at places if I didn’t like their food. So why should I be a repeat at a joint just because they offer veg*n food if it’s not good? If they want my money, they should earn it.

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