Diet & Nutrition

Meet the Auckland foodie who lost 35kg by eating dessert every day

After having her son, Maja Pedovich Moors' weight failed to shift. So the clever chef came up with a tasty solution that she's now turned into a full-time job.

Indulgent crème brûlée, zesty lemon cake and dreamy creamy roulades are usually the first to get the heave-ho on any diet plan, unless you’re Maja Pedovich Moors, that is.

The mum-of-one lost a staggering 35kg by eating cake every single day! Her secret? She created sugar-free alternatives that taste just like the real deal.

“You wouldn’t know they’re any different to the real stuff,” Maja boasts. “They’re actually more filling, guilt-free and rich in high-quality ingredients. They’re delicious!”

Maja was so impressed with her creations that she quit her job, bought a food truck and now sells her cakes full-time. “And I sell out most days,” she tells.

But it’s not Maja’s first foray into food. A celebrated chef in her home country of Serbia, she moved to New Zealand in 2015 to work at a winery in Matakana, just out of Auckland. She only left the job just before Christmas to focus on her food truck.

But it was her degree in molecular gastronomy that helped with her mission to create incredible desserts that were healthy but tasted naughty. “There’s definitely a science to it,” she laughs.

It all started back in 2017 when Maja’s weight crept up to 120kg after the birth of her son Mihajlo with her husband Bronson.

“I was suffering from post-natal depression and it was the biggest I’ve ever been, but I was in a dark place,” she confesses.

Then when her son was a few months old, Maja watched The Magic Pill on Netflix, a documentary by celebrity chef Pete Evans that looks at how our modern diet of high carbs and low fat is impacting our mental and physical health.

It triggered Maja to look at her own diet before opting to try out the ketogenic diet of low carbs, moderate protein and plenty of healthy fats from foods like nuts, avocados and butter. It’s a health plan currently favoured by celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Halle Berry.

“I almost quit it pretty quickly because the recipes out there were just so disgusting, especially the sweet stuff,” Maja tells. “It was my husband who suggested I use my knowledge in molecular gastronomy to make some good stuff.”

Maja before she discovered the diet that transformed her life.

The idea was born and Maja was soon testing out cake recipes she’d used for years but using non-carbohydrate alternatives like almond flour and sugar replacements. And Erythritol, a sugar-substitute that can’t be digested by the body, became her go-to ingredient.

“Erythritol has a different melting point but my knowledge from molecular gastronomy was the key there,” explains Maja. “I knew the science behind how to make it all come together.”

It took her two years, $20,000 and even a trip back home to Serbia to brainstorm with experts in her field to finally produce an array of cakes that she was completely happy with.

And when Maja made a meringue as light as a cloud but without using any sugar, she realised she had to share her creations with the rest of Aotearoa. So she used her savings and forked out $10,000 for a food truck that’s open during the week in Wellsford or at food markets on the weekend.

Maja’s guilt-free food truck has customers drooling. “You wouldn’t know they’re any different from the real stuff.”

“We bought the truck in July and since then, I’ve been non-stop busy,” says Maja. “We did our first food market in Mangawhai in late October, and people travelled up from Auckland and were lining up outside just to try my cakes. I felt very complimented.”

What’s on offer is always changing, but she says her customers already have a few firm favourites, with the crème brûlée, lemon tart and panacotta always in hot demand.

In fact, her Ma’Keto Kitchen by Maja food truck has been so popular that she’s currently in talks with a courier for her cakes to be delivered to Auckland, and then possibly nationwide, by early next year.

But Maja admits she’s most proud of turning her dark days with post-natal depression into something positive. “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade or in my case make a sugar-free lemon tart,” she laughs.

Maja’s Sugar-free Crème Brûlée

  • 100ml heavy cream

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tablespoon Erythritol

1. Put cream in a pot and take off the heat just before it starts to boil.

2. Whisk the egg yolk with Erythritol in a separate bowl, then slowly add mixture to the cream, while constantly whisking.

3. Take off the foam with a ladle and pour the liquid into dishes before placing in a cold oven.

4. Turn on oven to 100°C low fan for 20-30 minutes. When the liquid is not runny, the brûlée is ready to be taken out.

5. Leave overnight in the fridge. Before serving, put ¼ tablespoon Erythritol on top, then flame with a torch.

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