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Vegan at Zia Valentina Cupcakes, Los Angeles Farmers Market

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My husband and my dad have a great relationship and often go to events without me.  They were early for a small entertainment industry event, so they stopped at the Los Angeles Farmers Market to pick up some grub.  Eric noticed a new cupcake stand and saw that they offered vegan cupcakes, so he very thoughtfully stopped and bought me one.  Eric mentioned more than once how friendly and approachable the employees/proprietors were.

Eric got a card from them, so I did a little research and checked out the Zia Valentina website, which is not yet complete.  They boast “fresh and natural ingredients, with no preservatives, no sugar,” which is always good.  The website lists the following vegan options: espresso drinks with non-dairy milks, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal coconut cookies, vegan cupcakes, and a vegan oatmeal coconut chai frosting sandwich.  They actually list 6 different types of vegan cupcakes – take that Sprinkles!  There’s red velvet, s’mores, chocolate coconut, chocolate banana, vanilla chai, and carrot.  However, there’s one major issue.  While kindly telling Eric all about the vegan options, it came out that the red velvet cupcake is vegan except for the frosting.  Apparently, the frosting for this particular cupcake has egg in it.

Eric was assured that the vegan s’mores cupcake was actually vegan, so he brought it home at the end of the night.  After hearing about the problem with the red velvet cupcake, I was a little concerned about the s’mores cupcake, but I took them at their word and tried it out.  It was hands down better than Sprinkles’ yucky red velvet cupcake (found in the same place).  The cake wasn’t dry at all, despite sitting in the car for a few hours until Eric got home and the frosting was thick and creamy.  My only complaint was that the “s’mores” flavor was very faint.  Had I not known that it was supposed to be s’mores, I don’t think I would have realized what flavor it was.

Zia Valentina | A Vegan in Progress

I would definitely stop by the Zia Valentina cupcake stand on a future visit, but I have a few concerns that I hope they address in the meantime.  I applaud their effort to provide healthier cupcakes and other treats, especially vegan ones.  I would just encourage them to do a little more research into the restrictions involved in the vegan diet so that they can truly offer legitimately vegan desserts.  I’m worried that, if the vegan red velvet cupcake has egg in the frosting, the s’mores cupcake may have gelatin in the marshmallow frosting or honey in the graham cracker crumble.  Once they get a good understanding of the vegan diet, I’m sure they will be great competitors to the nearby Sprinkles booth.

On a side note, I still prefer No Udder Desserts and I’m glad that they are the closest to my home.

Vegan Recipe – Holiday Cookies

Every Christmas Eve my family visits my grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin.  My grandparents like traditionally midwest food and usually prepare ham or turkey every Christmas.  I used to just eat rolls and cookies since I never really liked meat.  This year, since most of us are either vegan or vegetarian, we planned ahead and offered to bring a lot of hors d’oeuvres rather than doing a sit-down dinner.  Everything we brought was vegan.  My mom made meatless meatball sliders, so I made my Tempeh Tornado filling for a Sloppy Joe slider option.  She also brought curry soup “shots” which were a nice, little portion of soup.  My sister put together some spiced nuts.  We also had a fruit and vegan yogurt platter and a veggie and dip platter.  Not pictured are my mom’s famous cream cheese filled pepper appetizers.  I plan on doing a post on those soon because they are delicious and so easy to make!

Holiday Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

Christmas Eve Spread

The meatless meatball sliders were made by marinating the meatless meatballs from Trader Joes.  My mom also added some homemade vegan cheese, which was such a great touch.

Meatless Meatball slider | A Vegan in Progress

Meatless Meatball slider

Now we have come to the recipe portion of the post…

I brought peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, chewy ginger-molasses cookies, and chocolate chip cookie dough truffles.

Holiday Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

Yummy Christmas Cookies!

For the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies, I used this recipe from Kirsten’s Kitchen.  Just before scooping the dough onto the pan, I mixed in dark chocolate chunks.  These are awesome replacements from our usual favorite of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups wrapped in peanut butter cookie dough.

Next, were the chewy ginger-molasses cookies by Chef Chloe Coscarelli, found here.  They were the simplest cookies to make out of the three and I would recommend them because they are like an awesome gingerbread cookie without being hard.

Finally, I made the chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, found at Fragrant Vanilla Cake.  These came out moist and impressive.  I would recommend making them much smaller than I did (they ended up to be about 3 bites each – way too big), and you will need about twice as much chocolate for dipping.  When making them from the recipe found at the link, don’t freak out when it says to add the baking powder.  That’s a mistake.  I didn’t have fleur de sel, so I added a sprinkle of sea salt on each truffle.

Try them out yourself for your next big family get together or holiday!

No Udder Desserts, Woodland Hills

Located directly behind The Vegan Joint in Woodland Hills is No Udder Desserts.  It’s a small place where, if you want a lot of cupcakes or a whole cake, you’ll have to order ahead.  It’s no problem for me because Eric and I usually stop by on a whim once a month or so to pick up a cupcake each.  They are always yummy and moist.  Eric’s preferred desserts are cakes and cupcakes and he likes No Udder’s cupcakes regardless of him not being vegan.

Take a look at the website for a sampling of their selection.  I’m a chocolate devotee, so I haven’t tried anything else.

I snapped this photo of the display case last time we were there.  Stop by if you’re ever in the area and support a vegan small business!

No Udder Dessers, Woodland Hills | A Vegan in Progress