Austin has a great vegan community and we're really lucky to have such a wide selection of choices and so many great companies that are not only receptive to us, but work hard to accommodate us. This is a particularly good week for vegan sweets in Austin for two reasons. First, this week marks the end of the World Wide Vegan Bake Sale, which Austin is participating in with two separate bake sales:
Bake Sale #1
Date: Saturday June 27, 2009
Time: 11am – 5pm (or until the baked goods run out; be sure to come early!!)
Venue: Monkeywrench Books
Address: 110 E. North Loop
Austin, TX 78751
More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or get in on the discussion at http://www.veganaustin.org/topic.php?id=3048.
Special Note: We still need bakers! Contact Leslie Ramos at email@example.com if you are interested in volunteering. She can provide recipes and vegan baking tips to those who might need a little help. Each baker will receive a surprise Thank You gift!!
The second Austin bake sale is very special, and is being hosted by Miss Julie's Learning Center:Date: Friday, June 26
Time: 3pm – 6:30pm
Venue: Miss Julie's Learning Center
Address: 201 Ranch Road 620 South
Austin, TX 78734
Web Site: www.missjulieslearningcenter.com
Special Features: Bake sale will take place during our open house. There will also be crafts and jewelry.
More Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proceeds: Austin Children's Shelter
The second noteworthy item this week is that Whole Foods' flagship location has begun offering vegan doughnuts. Let me rephrase that, Whole Foods' flagship location has begun offering a variety of doughnuts, all of which are vegan! I've only been able to try two flavors, but apparently they have a wide range including apple fritter, lemon-filled, raspberry-filled, chocolate, glazed, cinnamon sugar, and coconut glazed. If you go and check out the labels, don't be surprised if the coconut doughnut is marked as containing eggs and dairy; I've been assured multiple times that that label is old and that all of their doughnuts are indeed vegan. They also have a variety of vegan cakes, including Joy's Vegan Chocolate Cake (which is, unfortunately, terrible), a carrot cake, and a cookies and cream cake. I haven't tried the latter two cakes, I'm not a fan of either flavor, but I'm very sad that Whole Foods chose to reformulate their Chocolate Mousse Cake and add dry milk powder so that it's no longer vegan. Please go and try them, but get there early or call first, as they've been selling out of the doughnuts daily. If you try them and like them, please send feedback to the store, both the good (how much you appreciate them listening to our requests and responding to us) and the not-so-good (how important it is for those with special dietary needs, religious or spiritual concerns, and allergies that food be properly labeled).
Finding fresh, local vegan doughnuts is especially exciting for me because it enabled me to watch Twin Peaks and eat doughnuts with my unrequited love, Special Agent Dale Cooper. My last attempt to do so was foiled: I had heard by word of mouth and read in the Austin Chronicle that Mrs. Johnson's had vegan doughnuts, but when I called, no one there even knew what vegan meant, and they told me they used a boxed mix which contained milk powder. This is something that's been up for much debate on the VRA forums, but I never felt comfortable trying their doughnuts.
In fact, recently, many area vegans have been corresponding with local businesses that have either been less than forthcoming about what is and isn't vegan, or have possibly been deceptive. This is one reason it's so important to show appreciation and give feedback when companies are receptive and forthcoming to us. But that's for another post, this post is for calling out noteworthy vegan sweets.
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop has been selling vegan cupcakes since October 2008, but they're one of my favorite places in Austin, and I've never mentioned them. They offer a rotating selection of cupcakes, usually having two vegan options daily, and they don't just relagate the vegan options to plain or predictable flavors, instead they give us Margarita, Dreamsicle, Mint Chocolate, Lemon Raspberry, Pineapple Upside Up, Cookies n' Cream, Birthday Cake, and Ginger Cookie and prove vegan baked goods aren't inferior. The cupcakes are petite, but plenty satisfying, very moist, and flavorful and they offer the only non-homemade buttercream-style icing that I've ever enjoyed. It's sweet, but not immediate sugar headache sweet, and creamy without feeling like a mouthful of fat. They also offer pupcakes for your four legged friends and soymilk if you'd like a drink with your treat. They're committed to being as green as possible using wind power, and compostable, unbleached and recyclable materials and offering discounts if you bring your own box. Did I mention how cute the actual store is? Delightfully adorable! Plus they're located close to downtown and they have free wi-fi and a great website which lists their daily flavors. Sugar Mama's has made a great mark on the community in the short time they've been around, even giving out free cupcakes during much of SXSW. They are also prone to selling out early, so call before you go.
Hey Cupcake! offers vegan cupcakes made by Celeste's Best, unfortunately, I've yet to try them, but from all accounts I've heard they are moist, delicious and come in unexpected and adventurous flavors like banana walnut with buttercream frosting. Celeste makes other baked goods, including cookies, sweet quick breads and cakes. Visit Celeste's site to see her menu of goods and a list of other locations where her goods are being sold.
The last vegan sweet I'm going to mention is NadaMoo vegan ice cream. NadaMoo was created by one of my first vegan/macro teachers, Amy Ramm. Amy is unrelenting in her commitment to quality, and it shows. When she first started producing NadaMoo for local businesses she was unable to find chocolate chips that met her standards, so what did she do? She began making her own chocolate chips! As NadaMoo has grown, its recipe has been reformulated a few times, and now, Amy's found the perfect recipe for smooth, creamy ice cream that's certified gluten free*, agave sweetened, soy free* and lower in calories and fat than most other varieties of ice cream, vegan or not. NadaMoo is also very involved in the community, sponsering local businesses, and organizations and often giving out free samples at various events around town.
*one flavor may still contain gluten or soy.