Katie Cross, Founder of Cake or Death, makes vegan brownies in small batches

Our brownies

Crunchy corners Gooey middles

I developed my recipe in 2019 when a customer asked for a delicious vegan brownie. I came up with an incredibly rich, chocolatey and fudgy brownie, now with thousands of fans. I still make them by hand (with my team!) in small tins, meaning there are plenty of those wonderful crunchy corners to go round, and we use (literally) tons of melted chocolate every year to ensure the brownies are fudgy from edge to middle. You won't find a cakey brownie here.

I love to bake

Amazing flavours

We always have at least ten different brownie flavours like Lotus Biscoff, Salted Caramel, and Almond Cherry Bakewell. Our subscription customers love to build their own boxes and get a different limited edition flavour every month. Everything is handmade to order and sent out by us from our bakery.

Vegan brownie mix is swirled with dairy free notella hazelnut chocolate spread
Cake or Death bakery in Exeter

Our home in exeter

I started Cake or Death in Hackney, East London, but we moved to Exeter in sunny Devon in 2021. We decorated our new bakery in pink leopard print (of course!) and it is located in the heart of Exeter's Fore Street indie quarter with a small team that bakes and packs brownie to be sent out all over the UK every day. We're open Monday - Friday until 3pm so come and say hello if you're in the area.

We spoke to Katie, founder of Cake or Death, to find out how the business started and what makes her tick… (Yes, OK. I interviewed myself.)

Hi Katie! When did you start Cake or Death?

In 2018 I got very close to getting
on the Great British Bake Off (they told me I hadn’t made the final 12
on my birthday, thanks guys) and I promised myself if I didn’t get on
TV, I would start my own baking business instead.

What is Cake or Death all about?

Sending the most delicious vegan
brownies and treats straight through your letterbox, in a gorgeous
leopard print box, with a personalised note. In short, we have the
answer to the perfect gift.

So why did you make Cake or Death a vegan cake company?

It seemed to me there was very little
delicious vegan cake on the market, and a helpful cafe owner told me if
I could develop a decent vegan brownie recipe, I would sell a tonne. So
I spent a long time experimenting with vegan brownies until I came up
with The One. 

Can I have the recipe?

No. It’s a secret. I’d have to kill you. And that’s not very vegan. 

Why did you call your business Cake or Death? Sounds a bit sinister. 

It’s actually after a sketch by the brilliant comedian Eddie Izzard. You can watch it here. Whatever you think of the name, it’s memorable. 

How come you started sending brownies through the post? 

I was supplying vegan cake and
brownies to cafes all over London and then in March 2020 the pandemic
hit and they all closed and cancelled their orders. So I thought to
myself, I do have this delicious brownie recipe, and they would fit
through the letterbox. I asked family and friends to order and then the
whole thing snowballed out of control. 

What, like a brownie pyramid scheme? 

Sort of. People received the brownies
as a gift, and loved them so much they sent them to all their friends.
When people are unable to see one another, sending brownies is the
perfect way to say happy birthday, or I miss you. People LOVE Cake or
Death brownies and I get messages from customers saying they are the
best they have ever tasted. Some of my customers have ordered over 50

I fear for their health.

Well quite. I mean we are called Cake or Death. 

I see you have ten different flavours. What’s your favourite? 

It depends on my mood. Ultimately the
peanut butter brownie because I love the salt/sweet combination. Also
the raspberry is stunning because you get pops of tart raspberry in each
mouthful. But most people go for Biscoff or Oreo, which are obviously

Do you still do everything yourself? 

No! Thank goodness. We are a small
team who bake, pack and think up new flavours in a little bakery in
Exeter that smells amazing and the walls are covered in pink leopard

Oh yes, the pink leopard print. Literally every high street shop has nicked that.

I know right! I’m pretty sure our
neon pink leopard print gift boxes inspired the current fashion trend
for leopard print. The gorgeous box really makes the brownies an amazing
gift. I've seen one woman use it as a clutch bag.

What are you doing when you’re not sending brownies all over the UK? 

Annoying my husband and son. Walking
my silly little dog. Cycling around Devon and eating brownies at the top
of enormous hills.

Life’s too short for bad brownies

Ratings and reviews


A woman eats a luxury vegan brownie from Cake or Death with her eyes closed.
“These are the best brownies I have ever tried and if I didn't know I would never have guessed they were vegan”


“Best brownies I've ever had! My non-vegan friends also adore these. If only I had the recipe… Staff are always lovely and the aesthetic is top-notch!”


“My wife has ordered these brownies for me as a gift a couple of times and they might be the best thing I've ever eaten. No exaggeration, they are obscenely good.”


“Amazing! These were sent to me in the post from a friend and was such a lovely surprise. The tastiest vegan brownies I have ever had and beautifully packaged too. Will be buying for myself and for friends in future. Thank you.”


“Literally mad alchemical sorcery. I don't know how they turn those ingredients into those epic brownies but they are the. best. brownies. Everrrrr!!!”