A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Tag Archives: vegan bakery

Very Berry Vegan Muffins

Babycakes Cookbook:


I love new cookbooks.  I read them cover to cover.  I flip through the pages scanning ingredient lists and baking instructions until my eyes start to cross.  There is always something new to learn.  My newest reading material?  The Babycakes cookbook.  Didn’t I just write a post about Babycakes’ vegan, gluten-free brownies and say that I didn’t own the cookbook but wished I did?  Yes!  But then I saw it when I was out shopping.  Happy holidays to me!

In 2004, Erin McKenna was diagnosed with wheat and dairy allergies.  She looked at the available desserts and decided it was a “wasteland of uninspired products.”  So, she created her own recipes and opened Babycakes in New York City (now also with locations in Los Angeles and Orlando).  Happily, for those of us who don’t live in city that has a Babycakes, she has shared her recipes in a cookbook!



Things I love about the Babycakes Cookbook:


(1) There is a photo of each recipe.

(2) McKenna includes a “Tools, Ingredients, and Tips” section to orient those new to baking or vegan ingredients.

(3) McKenna introduces each recipe with a short vignette.

(4)  Celebrities (think Natalie Portman and Pamela Anderson!) have shared which Babycakes baked good they can’t live without!


[caption id="attachment_1881" align="alignnone" width="640"]Close Up of Vegan Muffin Close Up of Vegan Muffin[/caption]


Raspberry Muffins:


I decided to make raspberry muffins (you can substitute other berries if you prefer!).  I love experimenting in the kitchen, and I was excited to use some new ingredients.  Like spelt flour.


Spelt Flour:


Spelt is one of the oldest cultivated grains — it can be traced back more than 6,000 years to Mesopotamia. Spelt is a distant cousin of wheat.  Although spelt (like wheat) contains gluten, it is easier to digest (and in fact some individuals with gluten sensitivities are able to digest spelt without issue).  Why is spelt easier to digest than wheat?  (1) Spelt’s gluten is water soluble and breaks down more easily than wheat’s gluten.  (2) Spelt, an ancient grain, has retained its hard outer hull for pest protection.  Modern wheat no longer has an outer hull and protects itself from pests with enzyme inhibitors (and enzymes are what we use to digest food!).

To read more about spelt and wheat check out:



The best part of the ingredient list? What was missing.  There was no refined sugar on the list.  Amazing.


[caption id="attachment_1872" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Raspberry Muffin Ingredients Vegan Raspberry Muffin Ingredients[/caption]


First, all of the dry ingredients went into a bowl.


[caption id="attachment_1873" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Dry Ingredients Vegan Muffin Dry Ingredients[/caption]


Next, it was time to add the wet ingredients.  I dutifully added the lemon extract even as I was wondering if I had just bought an unnecessary bottle that would further clutter up my already bursting kitchen.


[caption id="attachment_1874" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Wet and Dry Muffin Ingredients Vegan Wet and Dry Muffin Ingredients[/caption]


I mixed everything together…


[caption id="attachment_1875" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter Vegan Muffin Batter[/caption]


And added the raspberries.


[caption id="attachment_1876" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter with Raspberries Vegan Muffin Batter with Raspberries[/caption]


I then evenly divided the batter into a lined muffin tray,


[caption id="attachment_1877" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Batter in Muffin Tin Vegan Muffin Batter in Muffin Tin[/caption]


And baked!


[caption id="attachment_1878" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Vegan Muffins Baked Vegan Muffins[/caption]


These muffins were not just good.  They were great.  The biggest test came when it was time for my fiancé to try one.  He doesn’t really like muffins (which I absolutely do NOT understand!).  In the past, this has left me with eating or gifting any muffins that I have baked.  This time was different.   He declared that they were “really special,” and polished off two.

Was it the lemon extract that I so grudgingly added that made these muffins magic?  I don’t know.   What I do know is that I will happily make space in my kitchen for the lemon extract, so I can make these muffins again.  Often.


[caption id="attachment_1879" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Muffin Cut in Half Vegan Muffin Cut in Half[/caption]


5.0 from 2 reviews
Very Berry Vegan Muffins
  • 2.25 cups whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔ cup agave nectar
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ⅔ cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries!)
  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Put muffin liners in tin.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Mix in the coconut oil, agave nectar, rice, milk, vanilla, and lemon extract.
  5. Gently mix in the berries.
  6. Pour batter into lined muffin pans.
  7. Bake muffins for 22 minutes. After 15 minutes, rotate muffin pan 180 degrees so muffins bake evenly.
  8. Check muffins with toothpick. Muffins are finished, when the toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Enjoy immediately or allow to cool completely and store in airtight container at room temperature.






Moncai Vegan: 100% Vegan



NORTH PARK.  Participating in Meatless Monday just got easier.  Moncai Vegan has partnered up with Mike Hess Brewing to serve delicious vegan dinner and dessert starting every Monday at 4pm.

Each week, partners Don Jackson and Princesa Vitela create and serve a new vegan meal.  On Monday, I showed up hungry.  So obviously I decided to try one of everything!

First up was the Cauliflower and Potato Soup with fall greens, served with a side of bread.  The soup was strikingly flavorful, and the potatoes, cauliflower, and kale were tender, but not mushy.  (Expertly done.)  The bread – topped with a garlic and kalamata olive spread – was a special treat and perfect for dunking in the soup!




Next, we tried the Roasted Vegetable Lasagna with Creamy Kale Sauce which came with Caesar Salad, and a side of bread.  I love that Moncai served an entrée that is normally full of meat, cheese, and dairy, because the easy comparison showcases how vegan food can just as easily be comfort food.  Sandwiched between layers of firm noodles, the zucchini and broccoli burst with flavor.  The creamy sauce was decadent.  And all stray pieces of lasagna were quickly mopped up by my bread!

The vegan caesar salad was fresh, crisp, and delicious – the perfect complement to the warm, filling lasagna.




There were two doughnut options: (1) chocolate topped with vegan marshmallows and (2) vanilla topped with pistachios.  And the chefs told me that they had mixed Hess beer into the doughnut batter.  Wow!  It was a tough choice with no wrong answer.  Ultimately, however, my sweet tooth decided the issue and I walked away with the chocolate version.  A masterpiece.  It was dense, rich, and deeply satisfying.  And how in the world did they make these vegan marshmallows?




Monvai Vegan does not have a storefront.  Yet.  They are currently fundraising to open a bakery in North Park and hope to have it open in the next 4-5 months.  They are using IndiGoGo as one of their fundraising tools:





So where can you find Moncai until the bakery opens?  Happily, they go to a variety of farmers markets.  There’s probably one near you!  For a full list of the markets Moncai attends, click on:



Moncai is excellent at updating their website to reflect the current menu.  For their current selection, check out:



Mike Hess Brewing

3812 Grim Ave.

San Diego, CA 92104