This week GibLad Visit @Muscle Bakery, now available on Hungry Monkey app. We speak to founder and owner Elka Hurtado to see how it all started, a bit about her business journey, what food is on offer and the Muscle Bakery philosophy.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN – The Photoshop Moment
Elka first registered the business in August 2013 to test the water after feeling disillusioned in her job as a graphic designer, she was bored of the same job and during a routine day there was a moment in the middle of a Photoshop cut out, where she realised that wasn’t what she wanted to do and took the plunge to follow her passion. No plan. No turning back.
“I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS IS EITHER GOING TO BE A HOBBY MY WHOLE LIFE O ME LANZO, Y ME LANZÉ – I WENT FOR IT”
Jumping into the deep end isn’t easy for anyone when there is uncertainty. At the start there was a demand she was worried she may not be able to meet, a legal battle over the old premises and moments where she wanted to call it a day.
But after 5 years of long hours, re-locations, vegan baking workshops, protein baking workshops, trial and error and a lot of food testing by Mr Muscle Baker, Elka managed to perfect the tastes of Muscle Bakery products to what the are today. By May 2017 Elka moved the business it’s to current premises at 6D Cornwall Centre and it’s looking a lot like home.
FOOD RANGE – Savoury to Sweet
My initial impression was that Muscle Bakery would be for fitness health nuts who have figures marked sculptured marble and treat their bodies as temples. So I was naturally worried that my dad-bod and I would feel distinctly out of place. But I was way off the mark and they offer a diverse range of baked foods both savoury and sweet. Moreover when I asked Elka who her main customers are she explained that everyone from teens to athletes to grannys and people who just wanted something sweet and delicious stop by for a treat.
All products are gluten and wheat free and vegetarian friendly, they laso have a lot of vegan food on offer. Muscle Bakery offer a range of foods that started with Snack Bars, before there was a premises these could be made on a Monday and last for the week. Then from there came the request for Cakes, Donuts as well as Savoury options. The best thing about this is that she’s making enjoyable food that’s healthier than your snack or chocolates, it’s a thin line but I think she’s nailed it and this is demonstrated by how many word of mouth referrals and fantastic reviews the Muscle Bakery is getting, 99 facebook reviews ALL rated at 5 stars can’t be wrong.
Snack/Cake Bars are recreations of popular chocolate bars and look to be the ‘bread and butter’ of the Muscle Baker and what they were originally known for. These are all their own recipe and their interpretation of the popular chocolate bars, to emulate the taste so well took a lot of trial and error on her part. Muscle Malt are their best seller.
Muscle Bakery Donuts are in a league of their own; freshly baked NOT fried, vegan, less sugar than standard donuts, with a unique texture and a range of delicious flavours from Oreo (my fav) or the new crunchy maple peanut to almond cookie dough.
Many people think they don’t like donuts but this is one range that Elka insists on trying; many healthy alternative donuts are just cake but these are different and took almost 2 years of trials to get the recipe just right.
Cakes @Muscle Bakery can also be made to order and they take the cake game to the next tier. The Snickers Torte, Raspberry Torte and Mint Torte are already aesthetically appealing; they were the first thing that caught my eye when I walked in. But the taste is something else, this is a sweet treat you don’t want to miss out on.
All the other cakes can be made to meet anyone’s dietary requirements and Elka is very accommodating to ensure that nothing stops her customers enjoying them.
Savoury food is where it got interesting for me. It started with me asking Elka what else Muscle Bakery bake or make. Soups and stews were dishes that I thought were plausible and are very popular lunch choices to ‘grab and go’.
When she said tortilla and torta acelga I thought she was taking the piss; how hard it is to simulate an egg/cheese laden delicacy without actually using those items and still get that great taste? Apparently with great difficulty and years of tenacious perseverance. I wouldn’t take her word for it so had to help myself to the Sweet Potato Tortilla and Veggie Quiche, y eso que I’ve never liked quiche. Suffice to say she proved me wrong, I believe my words were ‘tasty AF’.
OFFERS – Feed Me Deals & Loyalty Card
Muscle Bakery have Donut Combos where you can get 2 donuts for £4.50, pre-work out combos and
Muscle Bakery Philosophy
From the off, Elka has learned to bake this way and even now wouldn’t know how to make a normal or full fat cake. She’s learned to offer her products her way and everything else about the business is consistent with this philosophy.
All food is gluten free & wheat free, veggie friendly and there are a lot of vegan options within this healthy food. Paper wrappers wherever practical, they have ordered biodegradable packaging that helps local conservation and even a ‘recycle discount’ of 5% for bringing your own tupperware or returning the one you use.
If I had to give a downside just for the purpose of keeping a review balanced I would say that it’s not cheap. But given the quality of ingredients and the amount of work and effort that goes into each food item I wouldn’t call it expensive and can earnestly say it’s good value for money and I’ll certainly be ordering food from here in future.
Open Mon – Thus 10:00 – 18:00 & Friday 10:00 – 16:00
Cash or Card payments. Available via Delivery or Collection via Hungry Monkey App. You can also pop in to 6D Cornwall Centre to pick up and say hello.
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