Sweet tooths rejoice — now you really can have your banana pecan log, lemon coconut slice and choc blossom cake; and eat it too!
After opening eight weeks ago at Vincent Village Shopping Centre on Nathan Street, Yum Bar is already being gratefully digested by gym-goers, diabetics and anyone who is counting their calories.
The brainchild of Sam Bredl and Allanah Dray; the sister-in-laws cooked up the idea while holidaying at Dingo Beach over Easter last year. With Sam’s background in personal training and Allanah’s prowess in business; their vision was to create something that North Queensland, and even the rest of Australia, had never seen — a cake shop using natural sweeteners and beans to create mouth-watering treats that contain a fraction of the sugar and calories of their traditional counterparts.
“There’s nothing like it anywhere,” Sam tells, between taking a fresh batch of orange and poppy seed cakes out of the oven, “I’ve thoroughly researched it and there’s no one else making cakes out of cannellini beans and using Stevia as a sweetener. You just can’t get this stuff, that’s why we make everything from scratch.”
So what’s Stevia? Sam explains it’s a plant with leaves that have 200x the sweetness of sugar cane with zero calories. “Stevia is the next biggest thing and people are really starting to wake-up to its benefits. It’s a natural sweetener, not artificial, with very low calories and the Japanese have been using it for 30 years.”
“We measure everything down to the gram and have nutritional profiles for every product. Our numbers fit” – Sam Bredl
Due to its low-sugar, high fibre and high protein pledge, Allanah says the cafe has proven to be a hit with diabetics who — often for the first time in years — have been able to enjoy a guilt free ‘sweet’ without the worry of it playing havoc with their blood sugar levels.
“Most of us are health conscious because we choose to be, but for people with serious health issues, these treats are a game changer,” Allanah says. “Going out for a coffee and cake brings a whole new social aspect in. We’re so glad to be giving people another option so that they don’t have to deny themselves, or feel guilty about having a treat.”
Like any new business, Sam and Allanah; who are both mums to children under 12; have been putting in long hours to get everything off the ground; but are now able to start thinking about the next phases: Targeting corporate functions and introducing savoury dishes — a popular request from customers. They are currently trying out a buckwheat crepe and a couple of breakfast options, including yoghurt parfait. But these things take time — it took Sam three years to perfect some of the recipes on the current menu.
“We have a huge point of difference in our food and we’re really innovating with these recipes because, if we can’t get something, we are making it ourselves,” says Sam. “We’re currently working on a sugar-free Chai Latte, which will be exciting as it’s a popular drink, but traditionally has a huge amount of sugar. I think sometimes people don’t think about how many calories drinks contain. A smoothie could have 400-500 calories, but you’re looking at 150-160 with ours and we have people coming back every day for them.”
And, essentially, that’s what it comes down to: A numbers game. “People are saying, ‘We’re trying to lose weight, but why are we still fat?,” says Sam. “But people are simply not switched on to the numbers. Our philosophy has always been that if we’re going to open a cafe with a health theme we need to be transparent. We measure everything down to the gram and have nutritional profiles for every product. Our numbers fit.”
It’s this approach that’s certainly drawing the numbers, with the cafe’s popularity swelling as the word of a low-sugar sweet-fix carries. “It’s been an exciting ride to date, especially when we see those repeat customers come back,” Allanah says. “The word is starting to spread that you can have your cake and eat it too.”