National Cupcake Day!

Did you know that today is National Cupcake Day? I definitely appreciate a “holiday” dedicated to one of my favorite sweet treats! To celebrate, Tim and I rode our bikes over to Back to Eden Bakery Boutique in NE Portland. Back to Eden is one of Portland’s all-vegan bakeries and probably my favorite – the baked treats are absolutely gorgeous (and yummy, of course)! There were two cupcake options when we arrived: Pistachio Vanilla Bean and Chocolate Marionberry. We decided it would be best to try both:

Here is what happens to cupcakes when you transport them home via bike:

Oooops! They got a little smooshed despite my care when putting them into a container and then wrapping the container in my winter cap and then putting the whole shebang into my messenger bag. They still tasted amazing, really amazing. I heard that some Hazelnut Mocha cupcakes arrived at Back to Eden after we left. Might have to make a second trip to fully celebrate National Cupcake Day…!!!

Now, go eat a cupcake :)

Batch of Brownies Giveaway!!! (You Know You Want Some)

With the holidays approaching it might be nice to enjoy some indulgence you don’t have to bake yourself, right? I have been stuffing my freezer (and belly) with oodles of brownies over the last several months. As a result, the fudgy brownie and I are quickly becoming enemies (can you imagine?). Writing a vegan brownie cookbook is challenging. Eating batch after batch of brownies is downright crazy nonsense. I want to share some brownies! Are you interested? Good!

You have the chance to win a batch of Peppermint Crunch Brownies:

OR,

A batch of Cookies-n-Cream Brownies:

To enter the contest, leave a comment below answering this question: “If you could share the ultimate brownie sundae with anybody in the world, who would it be?”

Be creative with your answers!!! I will randomly select a winner on December 16th. Due to cost and freshness issues, this contest is only open to folks living in the US. Sorry :(

**If the selected winner happens to be gluten-free, I can substitute my Double Chocolate Ultra Fudgy Gluten-Free Brownies instead. If the winner happens to be soy-free, I can work around that too.**

Good luck! I am looking forward to your responses!!!

“B” is for Bahama Cake

Admittedly, I have never been to the Bahamas. I’m sure it is a lovely place for a vacation considering the abundance of warm breezes and sandy beaches. Maybe when my retirement funds kick in I will journey to the tropical wonderland. Until then, I am just going to eat cake and wait patiently (and eat more cake).

I originally named this Paradise (City) Cake because the ingredients reminded me of sunshine, palm trees, and relaxation. When I was mixing everything together, the lyrics to Guns-n-Roses “Paradise City” took over my brain. That’s why the word “city” was in the recipe title. Want to know a secret? I used to think I was going to marry Axl Rose (the lead singer of Guns-n-Roses) when I was a not-so-smart adolescent. Goodness! Obviously I was wrong (thankfully!!). I still made the cake though (and changed the name):

This cake is coconut-y, banana-y, and citrus-y. If you miss summer, this cake will make you happy. I promise.

Bahama Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup coconut oil (already melted)
1/2 cup unrefined light brown sugar
1/4 cup unrefined granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
zest from 1 large orange (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (whole wheat pastry would work well too)
1 Tablespoon arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large banana, sliced thin
1-2 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 inch baking pan (metal is best here) and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together coconut milk, coconut oil, sugars, extracts, and zest.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Do not over-mix.
5. Spread batter into prepared pan and top evenly with banana slices. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top.
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. It’s okay if some crumbs stick.
7. Place pan on a cooling rack. Slice and serve once cooled.

Easy! Now go put on your swimsuit, get out your beach towel, and lounge around eating Bahama Cake by the heater.

 

One Thing and Another Thing

Oh hey! How’s it going everybody? Guess what? There’s a pretty exciting and awesome conference happening in Portland next year! Have you heard?

*Workshops
*Discussion Panels
*Speakers
*Special Events
*Vegan Food
*And more!!

Take a peek at the conference agenda! Are you excited yet? You better be.

Oh! And here’s my newest brownie creation for my book:

Neapolitan Brownies! Chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla: all in one brownie!!!

 

Stuffed Pita Pizzas

I am, admittedly, a huge fan of pizza. Huge. If somebody said to me “Amy, I’m terribly sorry but the only food left on the planet is vegan pizza“, I would most likely do flips and awesome stunts to show my approval. During the early days of my vegan journey a co-worker gently scoffed at me when I told her that I ate pizza without cheese. She assumed that was impossible and nonsensical. Well guess what? She was wrong. Pizza doesn’t need cheese to taste amazing! Usually I pile my pizzas high with fresh veggies and on rare occasions I will sneak some vegan cheese on top. Apparently it’s “old school” to prefer Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet cheeses over the monopolizing Daiya. Since I don’t care for Daiya, I must be old school. Good enough for me, I an ager anyways!

My intense pizza craving struck yesterday afternoon. I was way too lazy to make homemade dough so I came up with a plan: why not use the stash of pitas Tim and I recently made for the pizza crust? And then, I took it a step further: I stuffed the inside of the pita with cheese and topped the outside with a quick homemade sauce and some veggies. It was so fast and easy!! The cheese was hidden inside the pizza like a carefully wrapped present. It melted wonderfully and tasted so good! I don’t have much of a recipe since it’s such a simple process:

1. Make or buy some pitas.
2. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
3. Cut a vertical slit across the top of a pita (or several pitas depending on how many you want to eat) with scissors like so:

4. Carefully fill the inside of the pita with your choice of vegan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart mozzarella).
5. Spread pizza sauce on top of filled pita.
6. Add toppings to pizza (I used mushrooms, peppers, olives, and fresh parsley).
7. Bake your pizza(s) in the oven for about 18-22 minutes. Check often to make sure it doesn’t get over-baked or burn. My oven is a demon and therefore very unreliable.
8. Cut into slices and eat! You could sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top if you fancy that (I do).

Easy as heck, right? One pita made a decent-sized serving for me but it wouldn’t be out of the question to eat two stuffed pita pizzas if you so desired. I made two last night and had the second one for lunch today.

Tell me, what are your favorite pizza toppings? I always put the same stuff on mine and it might be fun to switch it up a bit!