Newly minted Zucchini Kill bakery offers gluten-free and vegan treats.
By Madison Matous, Photos courtesy of Zucchini Kill Bakery and Julie Bishop
It can be tricky to find, but a visit to Austin’s “healthiest” bakery is well worth the visit. Located in an all-vegan food-truck park, Zucchini Kill bakery serves up gluten-free and allergy-friendly treats, plus local goods from women-owned businesses, in a bright and bold setting.
Run by three badass bakers, Cece Loessin, Jessica Freda and MT Gibbs, Zucchini Kill is one of the only places in town that offers all its products 100 percent gluten-free and vegan, making it a haven for those following a plant-based diet.
In the kitchen
The idea for Zucchini Kill came to Loessin when she decided to remove gluten from her diet. As a long-time vegan, it wasn’t difficult for her to jump right in to her new lifestyle and start rethinking her favorite dessert recipes. Loessin began with cupcakes, now a staple at Zucchini Kill, and once she found the perfect base, she expanded upon the basic recipe, creating more than 200 different flavor combinations. She then took on the classic Twinkie, developing her gluten-free and vegan version, the Cream Coffin, a baked good that Zucchini Kill is most known for.
“So, I basically took everything I knew about baking and started reworking all the recipes,” Loessin says. “[Everything] that I thought I knew about the chemistry in baking, I had to throw that out the window and relearn because when you’re not using gluten, things don’t tend to work out as they typically do.”
Loessin was soon joined by talented vegan bakers Freda and Gibbs, who share her passion for making gluten-free and vegan products. While Loessin got her start in San Antonio as a baker, Freda and Gibbs have experience in New York City’s pastry scene.
Girls to the front
A common question the ladies of Zucchini Kill get is whether their products have zucchini in them. The answer is mostly no, as zucchini is only used in a few of their products. The name is meant to be more of a play on words and comes from the 1990s punk-rock band Bikini Kill, whose music led the Riot Grrrl movement. At the time, the punk-rock industry wasn’t particularly friendly to women, and the Bikini Kill member were determined to make music more accessible to women.
“Whenever [Bikini Kill] was at a show, they always said girls to the front, meaning that they wanted the girls to be in the center of the mosh pit and, you know, give them a place in a music field that is so unfriendly and alienates women,” Gibbs says.
As teens, the founders of Zucchini Kill were inspired by the band’s involvement in the movement, and as adults, they use their space to support other women-run businesses with values that align closely to their own. All three agree one of the best parts of running their own business is being able to continue their namesake mission and use their platform to lift up other women in the community.
Baking up success
Because everything at Zucchini Kill is vegan and gluten-free, the bakery is a dream for those with sensitivities and dietary restrictions, and the trio finds joy in being able to share their desserts with those who had previously been unable to indulge because of food allergies. Freda finds it especially touching when children come into the bakery and are able to enjoy their first cupcake.
In addition to utilizing real ingredients, they try to be as organic as possible, cutting out traditional food dyes, as they are animal-tested and have been clinically proven to have a negative impact on some children’s nervous systems. Instead, they make their own natural dyes, which may not be as vibrant as artificial food dye but work just as well. This dedication to their core values is apparent in every aspect of how the business is run.
While the ladies of Zucchini Kill have been selling their baked goods at various markets since May 2016, it wasn’t until September 2017 that they opened their brick-and-mortar location in North Austin. At the moment, all the goods are made off-site, but they hope they will be able to move to a location with a kitchen in the near future.