vanilla rose cupcakes

Seeing all of the roses come alive in my city of Midtown Sacramento inspired me to make a rose infused cupcake, topped with these adorable dried rosebuds from the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.

I found this great gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe over at HypeFoodie (find recipe here) and I altered it ever so slightly by going light on the vanilla extract and adding wild rose floral essence instead. In the future, I would love to get my hands on some rose extract made specifically for baking, as the floral essence was oh so subtle.

For the frosting, I whipped up some coconut shortening, vanilla bean, vanilla extract, sea salt, powdered sugar, and a touch of earth balance for some buttery goodness.

the most ridiculously delicious fudge brownies

FUDGEY. Dense. Chewy. Chocolatey. ADDICTING!

To me, this is what a brownie is supposed to be. Our local vegan bakery just so happens to sell the best damn brownies on the planet, but unfortunately at a whopping-almost-five-bucks-a-not-so-large-square. Needless to say, finding the best brownie recipe on Earth has been on the top of my list of priorities for a while now.

It took a lot of flops and disappointment brownies for me to figure out that in order to find the perfect recipe, I had to pinpoint exactly what I wanted. CHEWY FUDGE BROWNIES! And then I came across THIS DELICIOUS RECIPE by That’s So Vegan.

Hooray! Hoorahhh!

Jef and I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe to make our tastebuds extra happy. We added more sea salt to the recipe, added in chopped walnuts, and used a gluten free flour blend by Bob’s Red Mill to eliminate any possible cakeyness.

These brownies fulfill all of my brownie dreams, hopes, and fantasies. I hope they fulfill yours as well!

chocolate almond butter teff cookies

It’s loveaversary celebration time people!

Today Jef and I are on our way to Berkeley, where we will be spending a couple of days snuggled in our fancy bed and breakfast, eating lots of delicious vegan food, and enjoying some overall quality times. : )

We bid you adieu for a few days, but will leave you with this little recipe that we remixed from the Peanut Butter Teff Cookies that we are so fond of:

Chocolate Almond Butter Teff Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • Coconut flakes, for garnish

Mix everything but the coconut flakes together very well, and then bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Garnish with coconut flakes and then return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes. Let cool completely and then DEVOUR!

This should make about nine or so cookies, the perfect amount for a couple of cookie monsters looking for a fix.

zucchini walnut bread with chia seeds

We are pleased to announce the arrival of The Littlest Cake, our friend Shannon’s vegan baking/food blog! HOORAY! A new vegan food blog is born! She specializes in baking supremely tasty cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and all treats in general, and she is a mighty vegan kitchen wizard! You should definitely pay her a visit, because she is AMAZING, and I love her so.

Shannon has co-cheffed in the creation of a couple of tasty treats here at The Bear and The Blackberry: Matcha and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes and Cookies and Cream Cupcakes (Part One & Part Two!), and now Zucchini Walnut Bread with Chia Seeds!

Our neighbor/landlord has been bringing us MONSTEROUS zucchinis lately… so we decided a proper way of eating them up would be to make some marvelous vegan zucchini bread!

And marvelous it is, dahhlinnggg. It is tasty fresh out of the oven, but if you practice the art of patience, we recommend letting it cool/refridgerating it, since that helps it stick together like a bona fide zucchini bread should!

Curious to try it for yourself? Have a whole metric shit-ton of zucchini that you don’t know what to do with?? Zip on over to The Littlest Cake for the full recipe, and try it for yourself!

Ahhh… I think we need to go home right now and MAKE MORE ZUCCHINI BREAD!!

peachy chia muffins

What happens when we have an abundance of chia seeds along with some peaches that don’t have much time left before they go back to the peach spirit world? Peachy Chia Muffins, that’s what!

These are some tasty little muffins, with the perfect amount of sweetness to start the day off with a skip and a jump! Ch-ch-ch-chia! I took a blueberry lemon muffin recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and tweaked it to look a little somethin’ somethin’ like this:

Peachy Chia Muffins:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup chia seeds (I just poured a bunch in until I thought it looked pretty)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium sized peaches, pitted and chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and get your muffin tins ready! You can line them with cupcake papers like I did, or grease them up nice and good with a high heat oil like canola. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking soda, sea salt, and chia seeds) and in a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (sugar, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar) well. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, mixing until it is well incorporated. Next, gently fold in the peaches.

Now spoon this tasty mixture into your muffin tins! Lick the bowl clean, since we have no salmonella scares here in vegan baking world! Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden-y brown and a knife inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.

For fun and a tad more sweetness, I took the muffins out at about 15 minutes, sprinkled some brown sugar on top, and then returned them to the oven. Once finished, I garnished them with almond slices. I recommend toasting the almonds a bit before slicing, as it seems they are more knife-friendly after enduring a little heat.

Mmmm MMMMMM Peachy Chia Muffins!

matcha and vanilla bean cupcakes

Continuing my 25th Birthday Celebration upon my return from Portland, Shannon and I made these amazing Matcha and Vanilla Bean Cupcakes! We have been wanting to try these magnificent cupcakes for a while now. Our last attempt was halted by the co-op being out of two very important ingredients for these cupcakes: matcha green tea powder and vanilla beans. Luckily this time the co-op was stocked with everything we needed to make these delicious morsels!

I don’t recall where Shannon found this recipe, somewhere floating about online. I’ll have to get back to you on the source!

Here is the recipe for the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup soy yougurt
  • 2/3 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3-4 teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
 We mixed together the wet ingredients with Shannon’s POWERFUL hand mixer, and then sifted in the dry ingredients. We gently stirred them together until the mixture was thoroughly incorporated.
For the frosting, we adapted the frosting recipe that we used for the cookies and cream cupcakes to be vanilla-bean-amazingness:
  • 1 cup earth balance
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 vanilla beans (well, their delicious bean-y guts, anyhow!)
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
We beat all of these tasty ingredients together with Shannon’s hand mixer and YUMITWASGOOD! This made a lot of frosting, so if I were you I would either double up on the cupcake recipe (DO IT DO IT!!) or halve the frosting recipe. Or have lots of frosting left over to feed to your sugar addicted boyfriend! Whatever is clever!

Shannon and I agree that these are our new favorite cupcakes! You should most definitely try them out for yourself.