I Eat Cupcakes

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Many years ago, I had the pleasure of dining at the Native Foods in the LA area. I think at the time, there were 2 locations in that area. I don’t recall which one I visited (Santa Monica area maybe?), but I do remember that the vibe was kind of hippiesque and homegrown. So, when I saw that Portland had a Native Foods, I was excited to check it out. When I approached, I seriously thought that Google Maps had confused it with another Native Foods Cafe that was some fast food chain like TGIFridays. Reasons: it was inside a mall, decorated horribly, overly iridescently lit, and the employees were clean cut college kids. However, when I glanced inside the display case and saw the familiar cookbook from the original Native Foods, I realized that the world had turned upside down. I guess vegan fast food is the new thing with places like Veggie Grill and now Native Foods popping up in suburban malls. It’s weird, but I’m into it. 

We ordered the BBQ Jackfruit sandwich and the Chicken Run Ranch Burger with a side salad and a chocolate cupcake. 

I had assumed I would be getting a cupcake at SweetPea Baking Company where we had breakfast. I thought for sure I would have difficulty choosing which dessert to order from SweetPea since they now bake fresh (raised and cake) donuts every morning, but sadly after having voodoo Portland cream donuts at midnight last night, the donut options didn’t seem to compare. And if that weren’t sad enough, none of the 3 cupcake options had any chocolate in them! It’s a good thing the gravy on my biscuit and my cup of stumptown coffee filled the gaping hole left in my heart from the lack of chocolate cupcake options. 

Thanks Native Foods for saving the day with a chocolate cupcake for my lunch dessert.

Many years ago, I had the pleasure of dining at the Native Foods in the LA area. I think at the time, there were 2 locations in that area. I don’t recall which one I visited (Santa Monica area maybe?), but I do remember that the vibe was kind of hippiesque and homegrown. So, when I saw that Portland had a Native Foods, I was excited to check it out. When I approached, I seriously thought that Google Maps had confused it with another Native Foods Cafe that was some fast food chain like TGIFridays. Reasons: it was inside a mall, decorated horribly, overly iridescently lit, and the employees were clean cut college kids. However, when I glanced inside the display case and saw the familiar cookbook from the original Native Foods, I realized that the world had turned upside down. I guess vegan fast food is the new thing with places like Veggie Grill and now Native Foods popping up in suburban malls. It’s weird, but I’m into it.

We ordered the BBQ Jackfruit sandwich and the Chicken Run Ranch Burger with a side salad and a chocolate cupcake.

I had assumed I would be getting a cupcake at SweetPea Baking Company where we had breakfast. I thought for sure I would have difficulty choosing which dessert to order from SweetPea since they now bake fresh (raised and cake) donuts every morning, but sadly after having voodoo Portland cream donuts at midnight last night, the donut options didn’t seem to compare. And if that weren’t sad enough, none of the 3 cupcake options had any chocolate in them! It’s a good thing the gravy on my biscuit and my cup of stumptown coffee filled the gaping hole left in my heart from the lack of chocolate cupcake options.

Thanks Native Foods for saving the day with a chocolate cupcake for my lunch dessert.

Happy Birthday Emily!

Not sure if you’ve heard, but cinnamon is the new black. Around a month ago, some researchers from UC Santa Barbara published a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that basically says that cinnamon prevents Alzheimer’s disease. My friend and world renowned (or maybe just in North America) nutritionist, Kimmy Murphy, tells me that cinnamon also helps to regulate blood sugar. So, it was no surprise when I asked Jenn what kind of cupcakes I should make Emily for her birthday, and her response was to ask me if I had any recipes that had cinnamon in them.

I do happen to have a snickerdoodle cupcake recipe that I invented for Whitney’s birthday, but a girl can only have so many chocolate-less desserts in her lifetime, so my goal for Emily’s birthday this year was to make a chocolate-snickerdoodle-hybrid cupcake.

When a chocolate cupcake and a snickerdoodle cupcake get married and have babies, they basically consist of this. A chocolate cupcake with cinnamon added to the recipe. Topped with a layer of chocolate ganache.

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Topped with icing. 

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Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. 

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 Viola.

Here’s the super-cute birthday girl enjoying her cupcake.

And me and Jen trying not to eat all of the rest of them.

Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes

Zen, Jonathan, and Rowan all have June birthdays, so it made sense for them to have a combined birthday party. Sharon suggested having a party on the beach, which makes perfect sense to take advantage of the summer weather. I was picturing a buttercream icing melting into little puddles atop the cupcakes in the hot sun, so I decided to try something a little bit different. Since Zen loves coconut so much, I decided on Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes. I’ve never actually made them before, but the only ones I have had were from Black China Bakery, and since those are so amazing, I wanted to recreate them. As if making this recipe up wasn’t enough of a challenge, two of the girls who were planning to come to the party were gluten-free. I didn’t want to make all the cupcakes gluten-free because I was making 48 cupcakes, and I don’t have that much gluten-free flour lying around the house (why doesn’t Costco sell it in the 10 pound bags, like they do with the organic wheat flour and organic sugar?).

Luckily, I found a recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie that made exactly 2 gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. The icing and ganache recipes I was using were already gluten-free by default, so I only needed to use Katie’s cake recipe. (Also, she redesigned her website, and it looks way better now!) Making this teeny tiny batch of (two) cupcakes was such a foreign idea to someone like me who never makes less than 24 cupcakes, but it was fun. I felt like I was baking for an easy bake oven.

Because the icings were the same, I assumed that with the exception of the pink leopard print cupcake wrappers, the gluten-free cupcakes would look identical to the others. I was wrong.

Dead wrong. 

Please tell me gluten-free bakers, do all gluten-free baked goods look like this or did I do something wrong? 

Everyone seemed to like the cupcakes, and Gina even said the gluten-free ones were good. Go figure.

Hella Vegan Eats

I never thought I would find myself in a bar on a Valentine’s Day, but nobody really knows what they would do for amazing vegan food until they are faced with difficult decisions such as, “Do I sell my children on the black market?” or “Do I opt for a quiet romantic evening over candlelight or do I fight for an open seat at a dive bar in order to experience Hella Vegan Eats for the first time?”

As evidenced by the following pictures that I shouldn’t even be piercing people’s eyeballs with due to their horrible quality, I chose the latter.

The SF Vegan Bakesales are my favorite bakesales! And this one will probably include a lot of heart shaped baked goods which makes it even better!

The SF Vegan Bakesales are my favorite bakesales! And this one will probably include a lot of heart shaped baked goods which makes it even better!

This honeybear ceramic cupcake box is sooooo cute. It’s just the right size to hold some cupcake sprinkles. Only. Nothing else. You can find this adorbs versatile item at Miado, which is the stationary store in the Japantown mall in SF.

This honeybear ceramic cupcake box is sooooo cute. It’s just the right size to hold some cupcake sprinkles. Only. Nothing else. You can find this adorbs versatile item at Miado, which is the stationary store in the Japantown mall in SF.

Jan 6
What can I make on a rainy day? Hint: it can’t be edible because I’m on a cleanse.

What can I make on a rainy day? Hint: it can’t be edible because I’m on a cleanse.

Jan 5
Look what else Target has in their dollar section!

Look what else Target has in their dollar section!

Jan 5
Look what Target has in their dollar section!

Look what Target has in their dollar section!

Gluten-free sugar-free coconut cupcakes

The other day, Jessica said to me, “You will step up to any cooking challenge.” She was referring to the previous post about the stuffed butterfinger cupcake recipe I’ve been trying to perfect before the Southbay Vegan Bakesale, but she’s pretty much right in all aspects of my life. Which is why when Pamela told me she wanted to make cupcakes that are anti-candida, I volunteered to help/document/sit at the table and talk about boys while she baked. 

So, for those of you who may not know what this anti-candida diet consists of, it means you can’t have any fun. That was a lie. We had a ton of fun making these! It means you can’t eat about 95% of foods. No sugar (includes fruit and alcohol!), no gluten, no starchy veggies (includes winter squash), no dairy, no soy, most grains must be eaten sparingly (like once a week), etc, etc, etc. This is basically the challenge I have been waiting for my entire life!

I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive, but they came out splendidly. There are just a few alterations we will make for next time before we post the recipe. When we got home from shopping at rainbow, we took out our highly expensive ingredients. Here they are.

We had to finely grind the coconut flakes, and since Pamela’s blender is subpar (I hate to admit this, but once you buy a blendtec, you turn into a pretentious blender owner), we decided to use the coffee grinder. This is me scooping coconut into the grinder by the (heart-shaped) quarter cupfuls.

While I made coconut dust, Pamela measured out the rest of the ingredients.

The batter had the texture of cookie dough more than cupcake batter, so we rolled little cookie balls from the dough and placed them into the cupcake liners.

The recipe we were following was from a website Pam discovered that tends to be less than accurate, so even though it said to cook the cupcakes for 24 minutes, after 24 minutes, they hadn’t changed at all and were still raw inside. It wasn’t until the 30 minute mark that they started to look like cupcakes.

After 45 minutes of baking time, they were finally done. We dipped them into the icing and then into shredded coconut per the recipe’s instructions, and this is how they looked when done.

In addition to baking them for twice the amount of time, we think the following adjustments will be made for our next try. Replace half the water in the egg replacer with lemon or lime juice. Replace the icing and shredded coconut with coconut whipped cream using my new whipped cream maker that David got me! And possibly doubling the recipe because the amount of time it takes to make cupcakes makes it seem silly to make a single batch.