What inspires you?
My list is huge. Successful women. Chefs. Writers. The mom in Whole Foods with four kids. My bike. The guy in yoga with those incredible abs (call me). Those who live compassionately. History. A challenge. People who believe that every day brings a new opportunity to grow, take risks, and smile.
Last time I was in California I met up with Veronica, the founder of the vegan, gluten-free Pure Bars. She is a person who truly inspires me. Veronica started her own business and is completely passionate about healthy living. Naturally we had much to talk about including food and her incredible success as an entrepreneur. Veronica also mentioned that California had great restaurants, particularly if you are gluten-free, vegan, or if you only eat raw. I experienced meals in California that I will never forget. Fresh. Healthy. Just damn good!
I got curious and thought I’d challenge myself to make a vegan cupcake, which actually turned out to be very easy and delicious.
Even if you aren’t vegan, you’ll enjoy this cupcake. It’s simple and could even be made gluten-free if desired. Really I just like cupcakes and giving you options.
Speaking of options, I’ve got a bit of dilemma going on myself. I’m in the midst of figuring out if I’m going to move and I’m totally guilty of stress baking. I made donuts, cupcakes and banana bread. I still plan on baking until a clear decision comes to me. Yes, it’s dangerous.
Next on my agenda is a recipe Veronica sent me for this healthy pear & pecan crisp. It reminds me of California and I can’t wait to make it. You can find Veronica’s recipe on the bottom of this page. Go check out the Pure Bars facebook page and read my Pure Bar review here.
I’ve already got some bars packed for my next adventure. It’s finally Spring, and I have a lot of horsing around to do.
Did you know DC has a cherry blossom festival? This year it’s 100 years old. The beautiful trees are everywhere around the city. I checked it out last weekend and highly recommend it. Let me know if you’re ever in DC and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Obviously the above picture is not in DC. It’s me dreaming of an exotic vacation that I’ll have to plan after I finish eating these cupcakes.
Chocolate and orange is a lovely combination. The frosting is vegan as well. You’ll be surprised by how delicious these are. Oh and don’t forget to enter my giveaway!
Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or healthy alternative oil such as coconut)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup vegan vanilla yogurt (almond, soy, or coconut based)
- 2/3 cup coffee
- colored sugar, if desired
- For the orange cream cheese frosting
- 1/4 cup softened vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
- 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl whisk flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, sugar and salt together. Set aside.
- In medium bowl combine oil, coffee, yogurt, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes. Place cupcakes on wire rack to cool.
- To make frosting: combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and orange juice together in medium bowl.
- Once cupcakes are cool enough, frosting generously.
Pour colored sugar into bowl and dip cupcakes in them. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Pear and Pecan Crisp
By Veronica, founder of Pure Bars
6-8 ripe and juicy pears. I like Bartlett, and I always use ripe ones!
1-2 fresh lemons
3 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup crushed pecans
1 cup cranberries
1 cup flour
½ cup honey
¾ cup butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
¾ cup orange juice
- Slice the pears into a bowl and squeeze the juice of both lemons over them. Layer half of them in a 9 x9 pan.
- Melt the butter and honey together and add oats, pecans, ½ the cranberries, flour, salt and spices. Spread half of the oat mixture over the pears. Layer the rest of the pears
- Top with the rest of the oat mixture and pour the orange juice over the top of the crisp
- Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes covered. Sprinkle the rest of the cranberries over the top when dish is done