A picture perfect landscape draped in vines and dotted with orchards, the stunning Adelaide Hills is just a short trip from the CBD and it’s brimming with some of the state’s best produce. The cool climate grove of artisan produce cultivates a strong sense of paddock to plate.
Subscribing to this notion of pulling from nature’s shelf is From the Wild, a plant-based cakery specialising in handmade treats. Well acquainted with growing and harvesting the land’s fare, owner and cake maker, Shanti Wilby, started her business in response to a burning curiosity for plant-based and alternative baking methodology.
“When we moved to Australia my parents bought a property in Flaxley in the Adelaide Hills,” says Shanti, “…they planted scattered fruit trees and now, 28 years later, we’re reaping the rewards”.
Shanti grew up in Germany where a deep appreciation of food was ingrained in her from a young age and the seed of a farm-to-table approach was planted, inspired by great memories of picking apples in her Opa’s orchard and aiding her Omi to bake cherry tarts and apple pies.
“The value, I think, that was most instilled in me was the relationship between growing your own food and using food to create beautiful and special gatherings for loved ones,” she explains.
It’s this appreciation that eventually inspired Shanti’s overall philosophy for From the Wild. The business is firmly planted in The Hills’ fertile grounds and Shanti incorporates this ample produce that grows on her property to generate flavours, craft cakes and decorate treats.
“We definitely have our favourite trees that we look after a bit more than the others (figs, mulberries and mum’s face lemon tree to name a few,” Shanti confesses. “…And there’s always an extra dose of joy when our favourite fruit is in season on the property”.
The overall ethos is simple: nature’s backyard expertly crafted into gorgeous treats that are handmade with love and always plant based – right down to the flowers that top her extravagant creations. When foraging for the blooms on her property falls short, Shanti sources extra buds and blooms from fellow Hills alumni, The Rose and The Radish.
Forget the large amounts of refined sugars that we’re used to seeing – and tasting – in cakes, Shanti has shunned the granulated and processed varieties of traditional recipes in favour of a more natural approach. “For me it basically means using a sweetener in its most natural form, and sourcing pure organic sweeteners that are easier for your body to process and don’t give you that sugar high and post-sugar crash,” Shanti explains.
Impressive wedding and celebration cakes may take pride of place but that doesn’t stop Shanti from crafting equally delicious and beautiful bite-sized treats such as her new banana caramel tart. A crisp shell encases a decadently creamy banana caramel filling, adorned with generous chunks of chocolate, caramel and banana for a slice that will leave you wondering why you ever opted for the cream-laden original in the first place.
Trade rich dulce de leche and chocolatey flavours for something with a little more zing in the uber-cute blueberry and lime minis. Starting with a fudgy layer of almond, coconut and vanilla with hints of dried organic blueberries, the base is layered with pastel purple blueberry and lemon and a generous swirl of zesty lemon and cashew icing.
As for what’s next, it’s onwards and upwards for this local little cake business, which continues to push the boundaries and – the not always favourable – expectations of plant-based cooking and eating. Shanti has dedicated the last two years to streamlining the wholesale cake making process to make it as efficient and sustainable as possible.
Going forward she’s also looking to take a step back, delegate a bit more and focus sharing her passion and enviable skillset. Chocolate making and plant-based styling workshops are on the cards, so be sure to watch this space.
WHERE? Find From the Wild’s range of stockists here.
Hero image by Meaghan Coles.