Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cupcakes Available For Purchase!

Great news: Cookies and Cream Cupcakes are now available for purchase in the Etsy Shop!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, $14 for six

After much thought and consideration, I've decided to make these yummies available to vegans across the United States. Obviously, it's not easy to ship a frosted cupcake. They'll be shipped unfrosted with a container of frosting on the side, so you can apply it yourself. Think of all the fun and creative possibilities! In the future, I'd like to offer cupcake kits that will include a variety of different decorations for you to play with. So keep your eyes open for that.

For now, check out my cupcake trial run. If all goes well, there will be many different flavors for you to choose from in no time!

Monday, January 10, 2011


As I mentioned last week, the Fiancé and I had a lot of fun over our Christmas vacation, but I had no time to blog about it! One of my favorite events of the season is when his family gets together to make hallacas (pronounced "ayakas") the weekend before Christmas. Hallacas, very similar to tamales, are the staple of the Venezuelan Christmas holiday, and are made almost exclusively during that period of time. I learned from a trip to Wikipedia that popular myth states that the tradition began when plantation owners would give leftovers from their Christmas meal to their slaves, who would then wrap them in plantain leaves with cornmeal to make hallacas. Today, the dish is typically with a stew of meat, raisins, olives, and assorted vegetables wrapped in a cornmeal dough, which is then wrapped in a plantain leaf tied together with string. It's a very labor-intensive operation, and families get together to make them assembly line style in order to quicken the process. Mack's grandmother, Elizabeth (who was born and raised in Venezuela) carries out this tradition with her family every year.

Our family's spread, complete with workers in festive hats.

The family making hallacas (Grandma is in the Santa hat!)

At our hallaca party, all the fillings are prepared in advance and laid out across a long table. At the head of the table, someone flattens the balls of cornmeal dough on to the plantain leaf and spreads oil on it. In the center of the table, people put in the fillings. Next, the hallacas are folded up methodically into little bundles. Finally, at the end of the table, the little bundles are tied up with string. Meanwhile, there's festive music, drinks, and dancing! How can you argue with that?

The cornmeal dough, after being flattened and oiled.

Monica passes along the prepared cornmeal dough to be filled.

Uncle Richard steams the hallacas in batches in this large pot.

Luckily, my grandmother-in-law-to-be is so very thoughtful, and helps us to make vegan hallacas. They were so yummy! We set up our own end of the assembly line to stuff our hallacas with black beans, tofu, onion, olives, raisins, potato, and carrots. We made so many of them that we were eating them all week! Each one was a little bit different, and they were all delicious.

Our vegan hallacas, being cooked separately.

The inside of the hallaca- this one has beans and tofu.

FiancĂ© and I ate these for days and days after we made them, and they were still delicious. I love taking special foods with me to work for lunch, it gives me something to look forward to. These hallacas certainly fit the bill. We even took some with us to Kentucky for Christmas, and everyone loved them. Just looking at these photos is making me hungry for hallacas again. Too bad I'll have to wait until next Christmas!  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Photographs

One of my goals for the beginning of this year is to re-photograph quite few of my items. Now that I've invested in a quality camera, I can get better, more detailed images of the treats so you can see them in their full glory. I began with two of my top sellers, Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and Oatmeal Walnut Cookies (formerly called "Autumn Oatmeal Cookies"). Here are the results!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Walnut Cookies


Oatmeal Walnut Cookies

So far, I'm pleased with my results! Next weekend, I'm hoping to tackle a few more. Soon, I'll have a shop full of pretty pictures. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bringing in the New Year

It is finally 2011, and I am gearing up for all the craziness and joy that I'm hoping it will bring! There are a million wonderful things on our calendar this year (ahem, wedding), and I have a lot of fun new things planned for the bakery. I am so excited to dive in and get this year rolling!

Before I share the new things, though, I'd like to cover some of the fun from my holiday season. I took a bit of a break from blogging due to an incredibly busy schedule, so I missed blogging about some great stuff. First up is a custom cake I made for my company's Holiday Party.

Holiday Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting & Candied Pecans

Our Client Services Coordinator, Sierra, planned a beautiful party for our staff and clients. You can check out her coverage of the event on her blog, Happiness in Bites. She had a beautiful cake table with some lovely cakes from a nearby bakery, and wanted to include a vegan cake. She commissioned a cake from me, and I could choose the flavor. I had been craving warm spices, so I decided to go with a spice cake. After a little research, I realized that spice cake is actually a holiday tradition in some places; what luck!

Slicing in to the Spice Cake

I made a triple-layer cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting, and candied pecans as garnish. I was really pleased with how it turned out. The cake was flavorful and moist, and the frosting complimented it well. All in all, I'd say my first commissioned cake was a great success!

A Slice of Spice Cake

As always, if you're interested in purchasing a custom item for delivery within the Los Angeles area, please don't hesitate to contact me. Happy New Year to all!