Bearded Lady Food Company review on CakeSpy

Habanero brownie from Bearded Lady Food Company.

I love me some sweet treats. A lot. Probably too much. But this has been a part of me since I was little. Growing up I loved ice cream, and as I got older it turned to cookies. Soon came my cupcake phase, then pie, and now I’m way into cookies again. I hold firmly to the belief that life is too short to not enjoy something sweet every once in a while, (you know, especially if you’re eating your kale and fruits too) and thankfully, my friend Roxanne gets that. It’s one of the many things we have in common.

Since she became a vegetarian, we often head out to places to eat veg meals together and sometimes, those dinners turn into dinner and dessert – much to our mutual happiness. That’s how we first ventured to Beaded Lady Food Company with a few other friends. One of our dining companions suggested we mosey on over to the very vegan-friendly bakery post-dinner, and we never looked back.

Roxanne asked me to visit again (after dinner together, natch) and if I’d like to help her review this magical sweet factory in the heart of downtown Oly. Naturally, I said yes.

Our review is now up on the adorable, all sweets, all the time blog CakeSpy, so check it out. If you’re in the Seattle metro area, I highly suggest you make a trip to Beaded Lady a priority on your next visit south. You will not regret it. I mean, just check out their amazing logo! Make sure to bring cash and check the hours beforehand, too.

And now I’m craving a habanero brownie.

Corina Bakery’s Fall Vegan Temptations

I had another special (i.e., cat-related) post in mind for tonight, but I’ll either sneak in a Saturday or Sunday post or add it in with my last post on Monday. Instead, I’m going to highlight Corina Bakery a little more, as we’ve been visiting them pretty often as of late for reading, coffee and some special snacks.

Corina Bakery is so close to my apartment, it’s kind of frightening. The ease and speed with which I can acquire vegan baked goods is awe-inspiring to say the least, and I know that I’m quite lucky because of these facts. I don’t know what I’d do without them on the days when we need a little something sweet but are a bit too busy or zonked to prep them ourselves.

This local vegan bakery keeps up with the times and seasons, and right now they’re rolling out all kinds of delightful vegan baked goods that encompass the traditional pumpkin-in-everything fashion everyone is loving as the winds start blowing in, leaves fall and temperatures drop to brrrr! status.

Behold, one of my favorites from Corina during this season:

Their Vegan Pumpkin Pie.

I first tried this last year when my favorite local craft cocktail lounge (which I will review on here, one of these days) started offering it when they instituted their 2010 fall/winter menu, (they brought it back this year as well. Yay!). It perfectly accompanies both hot cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages such as vanilla tea or Valhalla espresso drinks. All my non-vegan friends at the table tried it the night of the 1022 menu tasting party and loved it. The pie filling is teeming with warming spices – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – and smooth pumpkin flavor. The crust is buttery, soft and flaky, and the combo of filling and crust is just classic. I could eat a slice everyday and be perfectly content.

Today, I tried a new offering that I’d never seen before:

A slice of Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

I always see cream cheese frosting items on Corina’s regular menu and desperately want them to be made vegan, so today my dreams came true, (okay, they could’ve if I’d called in and requested it, too, but I like seeing all the vegan options naturally available every time I come in and/or flying by the seat of my pants, guys). This cake was incredibly light and fluffy, and so spongy on the fork. The pumpkin flavor wasn’t overpowering but just right – slightly spicy with the right amount of sweetness. The cream cheese frosting brought this cake home! I was so happy slowly enjoying this cake, and savoring every moment with it. With my Americano in hand, I didn’t fret as the rain came down outside and turned the sky an apocalyptic shade of gloomy.

Some days, though, Corina is either low on or out of some of their finer vegan dessert-type items. It happens, they’re a popular place! On those days, vegan visitors can usually rely on one or both of these always vegan, always delightful sweet options to be in or on top of the pastry case:

The not so fall-ish, but still sweet Quinoa Cookie and the autumnal Mini Pumpkin Loaf, available year-round.

The Quinoa cookie is actually a healthy option for those looking for a lighter treat. Filled with raisins and other wholesome ingredients, this cookie is generously portioned and pairs well with any beverage. The Pumpkin Loaf is the perfect little rich, nutty bread that has a great texture and is covered in pumpkin seeds. I personally love bringing it home, heating it up for a few seconds and then slathering it in Earth Balance. You can find this loaf at Satellite Coffee and Metronome Coffee as well, as it’s quite popular with vegans and non-vegans alike.

Corina’s a great place to be for Tacoma vegans anytime of the year, but it’s so nice to be able to switch gears and get something seasonally-inspired sometimes!

Which fall treats are you enjoying at your local vegan-friendly bakery?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream + childhood nostalgia

While I was working on our acorn squash dinner last eve, the bf had already gotten to work on dessert. What was on the menu? Why, only an ice cream flavor that held the title of favorite for me for many years (pre-veganism): Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, from The Vegan Scoop. It’s slowly become our vegan ice cream bible. I should actually say it’s his bible, as he’s our ice cream master. I just do the testing.

And who can say no to cookie dough balls swimming in fragrant vanilla ice cream? Not I!

This looks weird, but is the beginnings of the cookie dough. This is agave and Earth Balance, getting ready for dry ingredients.

Starting to look more familiar?

Another that may throw you: this is the vanilla ice cream base. It looks very familiar to me because I always see it sitting in our fridge in between this cooking phase, and it being poured into our ice cream maker.

We had some bites. I honestly just had one – for the first time in at least a decade and change. I had a really bad traumatic aversion to raw cookie dough develop after I snuck way too much from my grandma’s fridge one summer growing up. Ever since, just looking at cookie dough (or the thought of tasting it) makes me feel sick to my stomach. But I love cookies when they’re in baked form! And yes, I never taste the dough when I’m baking. I just hope I got all my ingredients right and taste when they’re baked!

Final step!

The business.

The finished product came out great, but the boy said that he might let the cookie dough balls freeze a little longer next time, as they kind of came apart and just became one with the vanilla ice cream. I think it was great, and reminded me of 100 degree summers (oh how I miss them), and going to Thrifty’s for ice cream with my family in So Cal. I might need to get some cones soon to have the full nostalgic effect.

Maple Walnut Ice Cream

Last night, we realized that our fridge was filled with so many leftovers and we’d just gone grocery shopping, so we knew that there’d be no meal making. Instead, there was dessert making. Sweet, rich, make-the-house-smell-awesome dessert making, that took the form of Maple Walnut Ice Cream from The Vegan Scoop.

We’d purchased The Vegan Scoop long before we were able to use it, and would just pore over the range of tantalizing flavors every once in a while. Almond Cookie, Sweet Curry Fig, and Avocado are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are over 150 recipes contained in the book. I visited Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts prior to its closing one freezing January Boston night, to pick up something for the boyfriend who was in the hospital, (long story – some other time). My friend and I were overwhelmed with all the options, and despite the fact that we couldn’t feel our fingers, we relished in the smooth sweetness that was handmade vegan ice cream.

I’ve loved ice cream as long as I can remember. I’ve gone through a ton of different favorites since I was little, (from mint chip, to rainbow sherbet, cookie dough, etc.), but since I’ve gotten older and went vegan, most of my favorites tend to revolve around peanut butter and coffee flavors, which should surprise no one if you read my last post.

I’ve been extremely satisfied with how much vegan ice creams on the market have improved over the years, and have found some favorites that I grab when I need a sweet treat in a pinch. But sometimes you want a flavor that you can’t find readily available in your small town supermarkets – like Rocky Road, in the bf’s case. Or you want the unmatched taste of ice cream that you made with your own hands, and that only contains ingredients that you can pronounce. Enter a recent gift to our household: an ice cream maker.

It’d been a while since we’d tried a new flavor out of the book, so last night I suggested we make something “fall-ish.” Maple Walnut most definitely qualifies.

Ingredients, including the star of the vegan ice cream making process: arrowroot.

Arrowroot and soymilk mingling -it was soon after poured into…

…lots of boiling maple syrup.

What’s better than freshly chopped walnuts, about to be thrown into a sweet treat?

The results after freezing for a few hours are still soft – a little firmer than the consistency of soft serve. Overnight, it’ll harden to regular ice cream thickness.

Mmm.

Do you have The Vegan Scoop? If so, what are some of your favorite ice cream flavors that you’ve made from it?

Corina Bakery Cupcake Showdown!

Oh yeah, that’s right.

Thus far for Vegan MoFo I’ve highlighted a brunch, two dinners, and now it’s time for something sweet – that I didn’t happen to bake!

Wednesday was a busy day, and after work all I wanted to do was go for a walk in the crisp, newly fall air and then ruin all that exercise with a sweet from local Corina Bakery. Then, the boy had a stroke of genius as he suggested, “Why not have TWO treats?”

Why not, indeed.

I decided to do a review/comparison of two Corina treats, but we had to wait until we got there to see what was vegan and available. Though not an entirely vegan shop, Corina is extremely kind to our types and is also conscious of gluten intolerance and those desiring low-sugar desserts. Since we’ve started frequenting the shop more this year, they’ve been increasing the number of vegan baked goods available, so lucky for me they had not one, not two, but three cupcake varieties available today! I stuck with the original plan of comparing two for today’s Showdown.

Behold, the contenders:

On the left, boasting an energy boost and decadent chocolate base, we have Espresso Chocolate Cupcake!

To the right, with two frostings, a candied orange slice and fluffy citrus cake, we have Orange Dreamsicle Supreme Cupcake!

(Claps and boos emanate from the crowd)

First impressions:

Now, I’ve had most of the cakes Corina offers – in slice and cupcake form – by now, but I’d never seen the Orange Dreamsicle Supreme, so I was genuinely intrigued by the thought. From what I can gather, the main difference from the original Dreamsicle was the addition of the chocolate frosting, but the cake was also incredibly spongy, light and more piquant than the original. I should go in and ask exactly, but this is what my gut tells me. I’m normally not the biggest Orange Dreamsicle fan, but this cupcake was fantastic. Clearly, this is stiff competition.

The Chocolate Espresso is, hands down, one of my favorite cake varieties at Corina or anywhere, for that matter. Mixing two of my favorite heartbeat-raising substances together is a quick way to win me over, and this bakery does it well. Today was no different. Smooth, slightly sweet and slightly bitter, the espresso buttercream is the perfect counterpart to rich, dark chocolate cake. Like every other time I’ve had it, this cupcake was spot on, and made me feel a twinge of regret for decreasing the amount of coffee I drink on a daily basis recently.
- – -

This was a tough decision, and I actually had to think about it for a second. Usually when comparing two foods, I detect a clear winner from first bite, but this was a legitimate challenge. After some thought (and extra bites), I came to my decision.

And the winner is….

Chocolate Espresso Cupcake!

But really folks, there are no losers here, as I lovingly devoured the rest of the winning cupcake and the boy enjoyed the remains of the 2nd place competitor.

We’d like to thank Corina Bakery for making such amazing vegan baked goods (and offering the option to veganize nearly any item on the menu) blocks away from our apartment. I highly suggest you stop by for a cup of amazing, locally roasted Valhalla coffee, Mad Hat tea and of course, something sweet and vegan soon. And then come back here and tell me what you had, or all about the results of your own Cupcake Showdown!

Corina Bakery
510 6th Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402
253.627.5070
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.