Written by Jordan Randall
Photos by Paul Bostrom
It’s no surprise that vegan desserts are healthier for you than your regular store-bought desserts. But what if vegan desserts weren’t just better for you, but actually better tasting than their artificial counterparts? Mike & Mike’s Desserts, right here in Lakeland, is here to provide you with just that: vegan desserts to indulge in that rival the finest goodies you can find anywhere.
Mike & Mike’s journey began in 2019 after co-founder Mike Mitchell began baking recipes that his Mom had been using for years, and he met eventual co-founders Mike Belcher and his wife, Viviana Henrich.
Viviana had been a baker for years and years, and so one thing led to another and after some time we actually re-engineered my original recipes to be vegan,” Mitchell says.
When people hear the word “vegan,” there can sometimes be a negative connotation that comes along with it in regards to taste or quality. With Mike & Mike’s Desserts, their products are made with “only the good stuff,” so you don’t have to make that sacrifice of health over taste.
“When we say ‘only the good stuff’, it’s things that you can pronounce and things that you can easily say.”
“When we say ‘only the good stuff’, it’s things that you can pronounce and things that you can easily say,” says co-founder Nathaniel Kendrick. “Like baking soda, almond milk, or vanilla extract, you know? These are your everyday ingredients at the end of the day, nothing scientifically made or artificial. We like to say all the time that your 7- or 8-year old kid could read what’s on the back of our packaging versus, you know, your average cupcake at the store. So really, ‘only the good stuff’ is a healthier alternative and a tastier dessert.”
Currently, Mike & Mike’s cupcake offerings include flavors such as Vanilla Beanie, Chocolate Delight, Strawberry 2-Step, and Milk & Cookies.
“We wanted to create a healthy alternative dessert.”
“We wanted to create a healthy alternative dessert that tastes just as good that you can feed to your kids and doesn’t contain eggs, milk, or any kind of dairy really. That’s something that’s really important to us,” Kendrick says.
Kendrick said oftentimes people cannot even discern that the treats are vegan.
When you purchase one of Mike & Mike’s Desserts, you’d be hard pressed to find that the packaging and overall brand experience doesn’t stick out to you. Cupcakes are a treat, and so is the retail experience that Mike & Mike’s offers its customers as well.
There is an intentionality behind their branding that speaks to the level of care they put into their baked goods. And while Mike & Mike’s stands out as a local business, they are also bringing their premium products into brick-and-mortar stores as well. Today, Mike & Mike’s Desserts can be found in a handful of Chamberlin’s stores located in Central Florida, and the company will soon be launching their Chocolate Delight and Vanilla Beanie cupcakes in eight Publix Greenwise Markets.
“Our goal is to take this brand nationally,” says Kendrick “That’s one of the biggest things for us. The goal is to get national and have national distribution. But we don’t ever want to lose that local component either.”
And that local component, the one that so many businesses find here in Lakeland, has been a major player in Mike & Mike’s success story.
“I think Lakeland’s been a really key and strategic part of the business,” says Kendrick. “Originally the business launched in Miami, but since Mike and I are from Lakeland and we saw the growth that was happening here, we actually felt that it made more sense to reposition the business here in Lakeland. So we did that and we’ve been welcomed with open arms here. The local community has been so great.”
“Lakeland continues to be a city where small businesses are not only supported, but celebrated.”
Lakeland continues to be a city where small businesses are not only supported, but celebrated until eventually, they are anything but “small.” To see their success story begin in Lakeland is not only inspiring, but motivating.
“It’s a dog eat dog world, where only the strong survive,” says Kendrick. “So when you have a very strong knit-together community like Lakeland, the city’s support means the world. I’m so thankful.”
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