Exclusive Interview with Southern Roots Bakery’s Cara and Marcus Pitts
We’re honored to bring you this month’s ChooseVeg partner, Southern Roots Bakery!
Southern Roots Bakery is a Black-owned vegan business based in San Antonio, Texas.
After adopting a plant-based lifestyle, owners Marcus and Cara Pitts missed the traditional baked goods that they knew and loved. A seasoned baker, Cara took matters into her own hands by whipping up vegan versions of their favorite desserts.
Fast-forward to today, and these baked goods are beloved by many and available for purchase nationwide. In fact, they’re so beloved that Southern Roots was nominated one of the best vegan bakeries in the country by VegNews! The company offers bundt cakes, filled cupcakes, donuts, and lots of other tasty treats.
In addition to crafting delectable baked goods, the couple runs The Black Enterprise Vegan Market, a San Antonio market dedicated to uplifting and promoting Black-owned vegan businesses.
Marcus and Cara kindly took the time to answer some of our questions. Read on to learn more!
What are your names, where do you live, and what is your relationship to Southern Roots Bakery?
Marcus and Cara Pitts. We live in San Antonio, Texas, and we are the owners of Southern Roots.
What inspired you to go plant-based?
We watched the documentary What the Health and immediately decided to switch to a plant-based lifestyle. At first it was challenging, but once we researched alternatives and learned about different spices and things to cook with (shout-out to nooch and jackfruit), it was much easier, and we really enjoyed creating new recipes for our favorite dishes. Thankfully, we both enjoy cooking, so it’s been a breeze. Now there are so many more options at fast-food restaurants, if you are on a road trip or don’t have time to meal prep.
What made you start Southern Roots Bakery?
It started from us not knowing where to find vegan desserts, quite honestly. I have been a baker since I was child. I used to be in charge of making all the desserts for family get-togethers, so it was only natural for me to start recreating our favorite desserts.
Your baked goods are made with so much love! What’s the story behind your famous Mary Lee’s Lemon Cake?
My grandmother Mary Lee (98) has lived with my mom, and she has been my taste tester since I started baking. When I left the healthcare field in 2018, I became her full-time caregiver while my mother worked, so when Marcus and I went vegan, I made her meals plant-based as well. Being her caregiver really afforded me the time to perfect all my recipes, since I was making all three of her daily meals. Her favorite cake is lemon pound cake, so once I created a vegan lemon cake, it was only right to name it after the queen.
Which of your delicious baked goods are your favorites?
My favorites change constantly because I love all of our stuff. Right now, my favorite is a tie between our funfetti cupcake and our new-release apple pie, which is to die for. Marcus is a chocolate lover, and his favorite is our chocolate luxury cake.
We would love to learn more about the Black Enterprise Vegan Market and what inspired its creation.
We are really big on helping and shining a light on other businesses. The Black Enterprise Vegan Market is a small way we can highlight many other Black-owned vegan businesses at once. It’s a monthly market of all vegan brands we love. There is soul food, frozen vegan cuisine, desserts, home goods, body care, and more. We have a DJ playing music. It’s an outdoor, family-friendly event, and it’s a really great time. We hope it grows as the years go on, and it can be a much bigger event!
Is there a plant-based business you wish more people knew about?
Binge Kitchen is such a great soul food business in Texas. The owners are now family to us, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. They literally opened the doors of their restaurant to us when we first started, which let us scale our business. We rented one of their locations for almost a year, and when we went viral, they helped us pack orders after they’d spent all day cooking in San Antonio. They are true MVPs. Also a shout-out to Project Pollo—the owner, Lucas, was another one who believed in our business early on. He put our cookies in all his locations, and that was another pivotal step for us and confirmation that we were on the right path. It’s exciting when other people see your vision and businesses help each other out!
Anything else you’d like to share?
We are so excited that Mercy For Animals is highlighting our business. It is very appreciated, and we feel blessed to be featured. We are also excited for the future of Southern Roots, and we hope to be in retail chains and grocers all over the United States very soon!