Oreo cookie owl cupcakes! The recipes on this site aren’t vegan but since Oreos totes are, I thought you guys might like these! We can easily veganize them I think. Well def the cupcake and frosting part. For the eyes and nose, how about vegan jelly beans!
Vegan Divas releases cookbook, feeds me donuts! »
Meave and I were invited to the Vegan Divas cookbook release party this week and boy did we have a nice evening. For one, I’m terribly fun and charming so of course Meave had a great time. Secondly, there were mini donuts! And mini cupcakes! I like mini desserts. Less commitment.
Meave is new to Vegan Divas and I think she liked everything. The chocolate cupcakes were excellent, topped with their signature mousse I believe. Nice and bittersweet. I think that was Meave’s favorite. I had already had many of the items served but new to me were the little carrot cake cupcakes. Excellent vegan cream cheese frosting! Tasted perfect. I also still love the bitty donuts. Cinnamon is my favorite. Like I’ve said in the past, Vegan Divas is very health-conscious so the desserts aren’t crazy sweet or buttery but they are still yummy and I could have eaten four dozen of those bitty donuts! Plus Vegansaurus doesn’t have anything against healthy food, we just don’t harp on it because the vegan internet world already does a thorough job covering healthy food, no? But I like healthy food—especially when it’s dipped in chocolate!
And at this event, I finally got to talk to the Vegan Diva herself, Fernanada Capobianco! Well, I must say, the apt word for her is “fabulous.” She had a floor-length, chevron sequin dress on and she was so nice to us. As I said, fabulous. If you go to the bakery on the upper east side, maybe she will be there! Say hi.
We haven’t tested out the cookbook yet, but we looked through. I was concerned the recipes would be difficult because they are healthy…? I don’t know where I got that from but the recipes look very reasonable. The cookbook also talks about the various ingredients. Vegan Divas loves coconut oil! They say it’s super good for you. Coconuts, right? What can’t they do!
NYC Review: Blossom du Jour in Chelsea! »
Blossom restaurants in New York invited Megan and I to try their newest outpost, Blossom du Jour Chelsea!
Megan: It’s a fast-food kind of place. Not like Foodswings with all the (delicious, delicious) junk food, but it seems like mostly a place you’d grab a sandwich to go. They do have some cafe tables that we took to eat.
Meave: It’s a nook. An adorable nook. If I worked or lived around here, I’d pop in all the time, but it’s not a place that looks designed to linger at.
Megan: We decided to try one of their many sandwiches. It was a tough choice but we powered through. Now behold, The Avocado Griller: ”in-house grilled rosemary lemon un-chicken, fresh avocado, v-pesto mayo, crisp romaine lettuce” (note, ours pictured below is on ciabatta). The first thing I did was immediately drop half the sandwich on the floor because I’m the super genius. But when I took a bite of the second half, I ‘bout died. SO GOOD. In my non-veggie days (2000? Wow), I used to enjoy chicken and avocado sandwiches and it was totally like that BUT WITH PESTO! And yummy bread! So, yeah, this sandwich is amazing. I want to eat it everyday. Oh and they deliver! But just a block short of my office. *Sad face*
Look at this and tell me you’re not dead:
Meave: I ate the protected innards of the fallen sandwich, because I have no class. Megan’s right, it was amazing. I would’ve added tomato and pepperoncinis, but I’m impossible to please. The pesto and avocado combo is pretty unbeatable, though, so rich and creamy.
Megan: We also got this chickpea and quinoa salad. I just don’t love salads (“a vegan who doesn’t like salad?! What the whaaa?” —my dad) so I wasn’t that excited by it but the dressing was interesting and good.
Meave: It was nice with the dried cranberries hidden in there, chewy little sweet bits of contrast to the mixed greens and tangy dressing. I was surprised to find it in a plastic box in the premade food fridge, but again, this seems like a grab-and-go sort of place, and if you’re in a hurry you don’t want someone making your salad fresh, so it makes sense. And it was a fine salad.
Megan: As we were thirsty, we decided to try one of their special juices. Neither Meave nor I are that into the big juice fad but we decided to try the Pretty In Pink. Lo and behold: it was yummy! Refreshing and not thick or anything like I expect all those healthy juices to be.
Meave: I am not into “juicing” as an “eating alternate” or “ridiculous overpriced nonsense lifestyle,” but I do miss the juicer I left behind when I moved to New York this year, and the cheap, good produce I was constantly putting into it. The pineapple-beet-apple combo is sweet and sour and crisp, very easy to drink.
Megan: They also have all kinds of baked goods! Like chocolate croissants! Damn, son. It wasn’t AS flaky and crispy as I remember regular croissants to be but it was buttery and a bit flaky and chocolaty and YUM.
Meave: Megan was so excited about this croissant! I thought it was pretty good. The chocolate inside was nice and bitter, which was a good contrast to the pastry. I bet it’d be best earlier in the day (we were there at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, not the ideal time to buy morning-fresh baked goods), but it was a solid approximation.
Megan: We tried a red velvet cupcake as well. Tasty! I’m so tired of red velvet cupcakes having just a plain, sugary vanilla frosting instead of cream cheese flavor frosting. This totally had a nice cream cheesy flavor. The frosting was super-sweet but the cupcake part wasn’t so it wasn’t overwhelming. It also had a hint of lemon? I think? If I had to choose, I would get the chocolate croissant over the cupcake but come on, I’d pick the chocolate croissant over oxygen.
Meave: I liked the cake over the frosting, which is pretty unusual for me, as I am a hardcore frosting-only woman. (In small times, I’d eat the unwanted frosting from my friends’ cake at birthday parties.) And while this frosting was plenty good, the cake was better; like Megan says, not as sweet, a good crumb, and the color was pleasant, not creepy or (too) unnatural, which can be a problem with red velvet cake.
Megan: Oh snap I almost forgot! They also have vegan cronuts! We didn’t get to try one because they were out. But next time, lookout cronuts! Imma eat you up!
Megan: All in all, the avocado “chicken” sandwich was my favorite thing. I love it. I want to marry it. I want to marry it and have the chocolate croissant as my maid of honor. I can’t wait to try the other sandwiches! (They have a meatball sandwich and an eggplant parm sub!)
Meave: I will attend that wedding. I will give away the bride, even, if she doesn’t mind marrying a sandwich with some bites taken out of it because there is no better way to express how good that avocado and pesto taste together than devouring it.
VIDEO! quarrygirl presents clara’s cakes! a teenage-run vegan bakery in LA. »
you’re probably already familiar with teenage baking sensation clara polito, who owns and operates her own vegan business in los angeles called clara’s cakes…after all we’ve posted two recipe videos with her in the past. clara went vegan at the age of 12, and frustrated with the animal-free dessert options in her area, she decided to learn how to make her own treats. four years later, she’s got her own bakery with a menu that wows all kinds of eaters. in today’s video, we sat down with clara at her home in LA and learned about her most delicious creations and why she went vegan in the first place.
to learn where you can find clara’s cakes in LA, check out her website, twitter feed, and facebook page. i know that right now, you can find her cupcakes at pizzanista which happens to make the best vegan pizza in town. so go get ‘em.
QG does it again! Laura’s in LA now and if she isn’t following quarrygirl’s exhaustive guides to the vegan shangri-la that is the city of angels, she’s not doing it right. Same goes for anyone else in SoCal.
Hey Sacramento! Spend the first Saturday in April eating baked goods for a good cause at 1,000 Vegan Cupcakes for Charity! Tons of local bakers are participating, and the proceeds benefit Animal Place, A Well Fed World, and St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children. All on a lovely spring day in sunny Sacramento!
Enter the Earth Balance vegan baking contest! Or just admire the recipes! »
Katieg’s Entry: Lemon Curd Cake with Coconut Glaze
This is a super-hard contest, but I though the overachievers among us ought to know about it (the rest of us can just profit from the results): Earth Balance wants you to make delicious baked goods with their products. Duh, easy. Does anyone NOT use Earth Balance in baking?
Except here’s the catch: You have to invent the recipe yourself. That usually doesn’t go so well in my house; we’re still rehashing the Chutney Pie Debacle of 2006. But if you fancy yourself an up-and-coming Isa or Colleen, then by all means, invent away. That’s not the hardest part!
After slaving away over 17 drafts of the perfect Peanut Butter Banana Chia Açai Spice Drops, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A PRETTY PICTURE OF IT! I shall never be a professional chef in the internet age. My food photos are all grainy and dark and show how messy my house is.
After all that, you could win a sweet trip to Vegas, which you will need to recover from the stress of entering this contest. Oh, and there are categories. We already missed pies and cake.
- Cupcakes: Dec. 10 to 16
- Cookies and Bars: Dec. 17 to 23
Go Vegansaurs! Bake and invent! Then share your recipes with us! Those of you who aren’t sneaking in moments to write posts at work can go browse the recipe collection and tell us about the gems.
PIZZA CUPCAKES TURTLE POWER!
People who live in Austin are so lucky, in general, because it has amazing food and the nicest fucking vegans I’ve ever met — including the absolutely lovely dynamo Kristen Davenport of Austin’s Capital City Bakery. According to reliable and lazy sources, Capital City Bakery has some DAMN TASTY sweet treats; it’s almost enough to get me on a plane out there to eat everything.
Oh well, add it to the list of reasons Austin is the greatest and we should all move there immediately as soon as they get a giant air conditioner to cool the city year-round. With global warming, that might be sooner than we think!
Vegan Divas: New vegan bakery in NYC! »
If you recall, a few months ago I went to Vegan Divas dessert tasting and had a lovely time. Well guess what? They opened a bakery! Yes, the Upper East Side just got a vegan bakery. Yay richies! Get your vegan on.
They invited me to the opening, promising free desserts and champagne—do they understand me or what? Hint: they understand me. My absolute favorite thing was the baby chocolate cupcakes pictured above. Aren’t they darling (that’s Upper East Side talk!)? And very good. I actually would say their chocolate stuff is their best stuff. It’s always a nice, rich, semi-sweet chocolate that’s not too sugary. Love it. I also like the funny “sand cookies” that are pictured behind the cupcakes. They are funny and I’m not sure everyone would like them. I love them—they are a bit salty, that’s my favorite: salty+sweet.
These donuts are good as well. But all their donuts are baked, not fried, so we’re not talking Ronald’s. Good though. Of course I recommend the chocolate! It’s not surprising their donuts are the baked kind, the whole place is very health-conscious. For those calorie counters, you’ll be excited to find that all the items on the menu include the calorie count next to them—and everything is pretty low. All the ingredients are natural and everything is kosher too. So everybody can eat this stuff! And the prices aren’t bad in my opinion, especially considering the quality of the ingredients.
They don’t just have dessert, they will also be having quiche. I haven’t sampled it yet but I love quiche so I’m excited! And they have juices—see? Healthy stuff! I didn’t try the juice because I didn’t want it to interfere with my champagne intake, but I’m sure it’s good. If you like juice! And it came in cute little glasses. Baby glasses!
Oh the other thing I tried were the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! They were party favors so I had them at home. I actually had two for breakfast this morning! Yeah, I’m all about health too. The cookies are nice and soft; I don’t like crunchy chocolate chip cookies so that’s perfect for me. They also had oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m allergic to cookies with raisins in them. Ok I’m not exactly allergic but still, raisins better stay away from my cookies.
All in all, a great bakery, especially for the health-conscious set. I’m glad we have another bakery in the city! For you non-NYCers, you can order lots of their products on their site. Bon Appétit! That’s more Upper East Side talk. I’m basically bilingual. Trilingual if you include Philadelphian.
Product Review: Wholesome Chow gluten-free lavender cake mix! »
Wholesome Chow sent me a box of their gluten-free, organic, vegan cake mixes to bake and review. Being a professional vegan baker myself, I was so excited to play with their product! Gluten-free baking is not an easy venture.
Jeffery and Veronica sent me their seven-mix variety pack, which includes lavender, chocolate, vanilla, and chai spice cake mixes, an all-purpose baking mix, and a vanilla frosting mix. Being surrounded by baked goods all day at work, I don’t bake too much at home, so I decided to review each one for you as I make them.
I started with the lavender cake mix, because that is the one I was most iffy about. I usually don’t like lavender baked goods; they tend to taste like soap. However, Wholesome Chow has figured out the perfect vanilla-to-lavender taste ratio! The lavender gave the cake a fruitier flavor, as opposed to soap. Of course I had two of my trusty, non-vegan taste-testers with me, Britney and Dan. Neither of them were turned off by the lavender taste either!
Even though I bake for a living, I get really nervous to bake at home sometimes. What if my oven temperature is off? What if I overfill the cupcake tins? WHAT IF I BURN IT, THUS RENDERING MY REVIEW USELESS?! Happily, I can say that Wholesome Chow is Jenny-proof and Jenny-approved. All you have to do is add a non-dairy milk, vinegar, and oil. Then you mix, let sit for a few minutes, and bake!
I was extremely happy with the cupcakes I made. They baked beautifully and tasted amazing! I’m not a gluten-free connoisseur, and I felt as though these passed the non-Celiac sufferer test. I would eat and bake these again, not because they are gluten-free, but because they were easy to make and tasted delicious! I cannot wait to bake with their other products (chocolate cake, you are next).
Now for a little about my process. I turned on the oven, and while it was heating, I mixed my batter. If you don’t have an oven thermometer, I cannot stress the importance of buying one. Home ovens tend to be waaaaay off, and how will you know? Luckily ours is on point, which I would not have know if not for our trusty thermometer! As for the “milk” in my cupcakes, I used straight-up coconut milk. I think it adds a moistness that many vegan baked goods lack. Not the light stuff, either: the full-fat, canned coconut milk. I also used apple cider vinegar.
As for the frosting, I made mine from scratch. Earlier in the day, my social media friend Jen suggested I make blueberry frosting. I had made a blueberry pie the previous day and had filling leftover. PERFECT. Half of the lavender cupcakes got with blueberry frosting, and half got vanilla.
1 cups organic vegetable shortening
1/2 Earth Balance buttery spread
3 - 4 very full cups organic powdered sugar (start with 3, mix, taste, add more)
1 very generous splash of vanilla extract (the higher the quality, the better your frosting will taste)
1 pinch of salt
I mixed mine with a hand mixer no more than 10 minutes, until obtaining desired fluffiness. If you have a stand mixer (I envy you very much), let it go for 20 to 30 minutes (with the paddle attachment) and you will have the lightest, fluffiest frosting than you ever thought possible. Add flavorings as desired. I added some blueberry filling, mixed, tasted, and added more until I got the flavor I wanted.
JB’s summer vacation: Chicago, cupcakes, beauty, and bags! »
Hey everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, on summer vacay if you will. I went to Chicago, Michigan, and my parent’s house out in the East Bay. All kinds of exciting things happened—I drank rum in the back of a pick-up truck at a wedding in Michigan (a wedding where vegan food was served! The bride loves me), I ate at The Handlebar AND Native Foods (OMG, I so get what the big deal about Native Foods is now!), and back in California, I made cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower! That was a really big deal, as it’s a huge step for my family to have the dessert be completely vegan!
Now that I’m back, I have all sorts of exciting things to share! First, for all you vegan beauty and fashion fiends out there, check out the blog Logical Harmony! I absolutely love this blog, and actually found it because Tashina is a huge fan of Source (where I spend most of my waking hours). She’s always taking the most fantastic pictures (via Instagram, like all the
cool kids nerds) of our food there, as well as all things beauty related. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her lovely and informative blog!
A couple months ago, I bought a bag from Alex Eaves' company, Stay Vocal, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful, sturdy travel companion! His company is awesome (and he’s vegan!) because all of his apparel and bags are reused. For instance, my bag is an old MXPX tote, turned inside out with a Stay Vocal logo on it! At first I was like, “it’s going to be inside out? I don’t know about this…” but I love it! I highly recommend his stuff—the hippie in me digs his mission, plus it’s great quality. My bag reads “Reuse because you can’t recycle the planet,” and fellow “re-usetarians” are always beaming at me when they read it.
I also finally took the Vegansaurus new food challenge! It happened in July, but that’s me—always late to the party. I worked with jackfruit, making a dish similar to this one. I was inspired by the jackfruit sandwich that Rachel had in Colorado. I can’t wait to play with it some more, so I can post a recipe I’m super proud of. I’m stoked that jackfruit is a meat substitute of sorts (for carnitas or pulled pork) that is actually not processed flour, soy, or some other crazy combination of ingredients that tend to be hard to digest.
That’s it for now—I got a lot of posts to catch up on before the coffee wears off.