Monday, April 04, 2011

Bake Sale Bonanza!!!

We had our Vegan Bake Sale for Japan this weekend, and we raised a grand total of $1860!! Such an amazing turnout of support from our team of bakers and from our hungry community! Here in Santa Cruz, much of our downtown was completely decimated by a large earthquake in 1989. That earthquake was such a scary experience, and it took such a long time for each of us to heal as individuals, and collectively as a community, and even longer to finally rebuild where buildings were destroyed... As a result of living through that earthquake, and the long slog of recovery afterwards, I always feel a special empathy for other communities affected by disasters. Obviously, what's happened in Northern Japan is on a level far beyond what we experienced here in Santa Cruz, and frankly it's hard to fathom the pain and loss. It's so maddening to know about so much suffering and not be able to do much about it... So, I guess us vegan bakers take to the kitchen and do what we do best - make delicious treats!

I didn't manage to photo document everything that made its way to the table, but between my mom, one of charming bakers & my new pal Carrie, and me, we did get some great pictures to share... the goodies were absolutely gorgeous! You can tell which ones are Carrie's pictures because they are the beautiful ones! ha. She's a great photographer!

So many delectable goodies to choose from!

I did most of my baking on Friday, and I also did most of my baking gluten-free. I don't mind baking gluten-free, and I usually get pretty great results, so I figured I may as well. Plus, this way all the gf folks could have some sweeties too! I'm always so stoked when I find a vegan treat out there in the world, so I know how the gluten free folks must feel. First up I made these Almond-Anise Seed Biscotti from Veganomicon (gf). They turned out beautifully!

These cuties are the Lime-Coconut Cookies (gf) from Vive Le Vegan... They were super delicious, but not very limey or coconutty. So, after some consultation with Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats, we came up with the name "Old Fashioned Sparkle Cookies," because that is what they tasted like. One must have truth in advertising! You'll be happy to know that I made Mr. VE&T donate to the cause before he could sample all the treats I was baking.

It went something like this:
Mr VE&T, walks into kitchen, sees trays of cookies - "Ooooh, are these my cookies??"
Me - "Only if you want to steal from the people of Japan!"
ha ha! A generous donation was given, and snacking rights were happily granted!

One of my favorite cookie recipes ever! Mary's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies... I love love love this recipe. The cookies always turn out perfectly and crazy delicious. If you are unsure of gluten free baking, this recipe is a great place to get started!

Chai Spice Cupcakes!
I used the Chai Latte cupcakes recipe in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, and added a buttercream frosting with vanilla bean flecks from 1 1/2 vanilla beans, a bit of vanilla extract, and a dash or two of cinnamon. So tasty!

In my constant quest to understand what sells well at a bake sale, I noticed that these were quite popular...

Triple Ginger Cookies!!
I love this recipe from my friend Talya's upcoming cookbook. They've got SO much ginger in them, they're perfectly moist, gluten free, and they are totally delicious! One fellow even came back to the table to discuss the recipe with me, which was very cute!

Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies - from Vive le Vegan! This is another one of my favorite cookie recipes - quick, easy, fail-safe, delicious, chunky looking... I just love 'em! This batch was Gluten free, which I've done before, and this recipe is really easy to make gluten free.
Japanese Flags!
I used the lemony vanilla cake recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, and made square cakes instead of cupcakes... then I cut them into little rectangles and iced 'em up like Japanese flags. There were some scraps left over (yippee!), so I got to taste these and they were so delicious! So lemony! When I was a little girl, I remember really loving lemon cake... maybe I'll make myself a lemon birthday cake this year. :)

After all those sweeties, I wanted to make sure there was at least a little something savory on the table... so Saturday morning I made this Asparagus-Tofu Tart with an Oat-Sesame Crust. I used a combination of two recipes from Vegetarian Modern Kitchen and Real Food Daily... Sort of a mash up! I saw something like this recently in a magazine, and I knew I wanted to veganize it for the bake sale! Somewhat to my surprise, this was the first thing to sell out. Now I'll have to make another one, just so I can have a bite and see how it turned out.

Here we are, just getting set up!

Nikki brought along a HUGE and glorious platter of espresso truffles - so chocolatey! so espresso-y! They were super delicious. They got a little melty in the sun after a while, so we hardened them up in the shade for a bit.

She also brought along Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries and Mandarin Slices. GREAT IDEA! These were super popular item, and are definitely a good idea for future bake sales!

One more thing from Nikki - delicious Welsh Fruit Buns... featuring dried fruits soaked overnight in tea. Oooh la la! It was nice to have some things on the table that weren't super sweet, because apparently not everyone wants all-chocolate-all-the-time (??!! confusing?!). Ha!

Espresso Cookies!! I love the swirlies of chocolate in there... Nic made a TON of these (plus two loaves of banana bread), and they were very popular, so I'll remember for next time that coffee-enriched treats seem to go over well!

Dina busted out the moves, and made almond croissants and pain au chocolate. Amazeballs!

These were "Reesey Cupcakes" - chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, but filled with peanut butter on the inside! I like the carefully arranged peanuts on top. I was already quite distracted by these beauties, but I didn't even know about the peanut butter on the inside until the last one sold, which completely made me freak out! (baked by Dina!)

Dina's beautiful iced pumpkin cookies (so orange!), and Kristen's lovely peanut butter cookies - sprinkled with Big Sur sea salt!

Dina also made some great gluten free options: Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies and Pecan Pie Bars. I keep thinking we should make a list of what sold the best - and the Pecan Pie Bars would definitely be on that list, they were a big hit!

Love this picture! Keepin' Santa Cruz Weird! Purple hair + Vegan bake sale = perfect Santa Cruz moment. As you can see, we had great weather too... not too hot, not too cold... just right!

Laurie's Cowboy Cookies - coconut, pecans and chocolate chips were decadently HUGE and were seriously amazing looking. We didn't want to short-change our bake sale, so I didn't actually taste almost any of this good stuff... but those cowboy cookies were making eyes at me all afternoon.

Check it OUT. Isn't that just amazing? So gorgeous! Autumn's flat bread had Butternut Squash, Spinach, and apple with a roasted garlic and white bean spread. Man o man. I think we were all secretly hoping that no one would buy this and we would all be forced to eat it. But - fortunately for our fundraising endeavors and unfortunately for our tummies - this did not come to pass. Just looking at this picture is making me crazy all over again.

Can you even believe it? I wanted one of Autumn's soft pretzels so badly!! I couldn't believe how beautiful they were. I haven't had a soft pretzel in years... and these were just so fluffy and golden and I couldn't stop staring at them. I also received reports from happy customers that they were every bit as delicious as they looked. Amazing!

So, these cinnamon rolls were A-Mazing. Amazing amazing amazing! There was a scrap left in one of the pans, & we all got a taste... and seriously - the flavor was positively stunning. Gooey, sugary, perfect rise... I was totally in awe. Between these and the flatbread and the soft pretzels, Autumn pretty much rocked the yeasted goodies. She's got some mad skillz!

Cinnamon Rolls, Macaroons, Vanilla Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting!
I loved how the cupcakes looked like Japanese flags with the raspberries on them (did you do that on purpose, Laurie??). Hanna brought loads of delicious cookies - which somehow escaped documentation - but luckily these macaroons were captured! She brought macaroons (some dipped in chocolate, some plain), beautiful ginger cookies (*recipe on her blog!), and huge oatmeal raisin cookies... AND she did two emergency runs for us when we ran out of paper plates and napkins. Bonus thanks for that, Hanna!

I love this picture of Nikki with our table stocked full... and that sweet little girl contemplating all her delicious options!

Some of our friendly bakers and our vast array of goodies. I had only ever met these three gals online (over at the PPK forums), and it was so awesome to meet them all in person! Not only did we have a super successful fundraising endeavor, but I also made some super great new buddies. SO great!

Also, big thanks to Bookshop Santa Cruz for letting us set up out in front. It was such a great location - bustling with happy people! Bookshop is always my number one destination downtown, and I know I'm not alone because there were people streaming in and out all afternoon. Thanks so much, Bookshop!!

YUM! What would you choose??

Blondies! Chocolate Chip Almond Cookies!
Brownies! Oreo Brownies!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Blondies!
I was totally spellbound by the bounty and abundance of this platter - a CRAZY tempting array of cookies and bars to make you droooooooool! Most of these goodies were baked by Carrie... who deserves a special Baking Champ Award, considering her power went out for 5 whole hours on friday!!

Here she is snapping up all her beautiful shots. In addition to all the great goodies she brought, she was sort of like our official photographer! :)

It was really wonderful how many people helped bake... I think we had 10 bakers in all. So wonderful! One of the great folks who come to my yoga classes, Norah brought by two dozen chocolate cupcakes... with sprinkles!!

Here's a lovely close-up! As long as we are taking bake sale notes... let it be mentioned that EVERY single child picked out one of Norah's cupcakes. Apparently the small people are powerless against the magical allure of sprinkles. Good to know!

Huzzah! We stayed on one extra hour and sold out everything! This is our spontaneous eruption of joy upon selling our last two cookies!!

Thanks again to everyone who baked, who sent good vibes, and who came by to donate and purchase treats! It's so rewarding to put in so much work, and have the event be a huge success. Hopefully our contribution will help make a small, positive difference in the sea of need in Japan.


  1. Congrats, great job! I with I could have bought some of your amazing looking treats.

  2. Gabrielle10:22 AM

    This is AMAZING! Congrats to you Amey and your incredible baking cohorts! I got extra excited reading this having been to the location of the sale and knowing that I was slinging baked goods at the exact same time. This is so inpiring! :)

  3. Carrie10:41 AM

    Love the write-up! It made me super smiley at work! Can't wait to hang out again, it was such a great day.

    P.S. Look, I'm actually commenting this time!

  4. Congrats on such a huge success! You guys had some quality goods!

  5. I was drooling looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions! Congratulations! What an impressive bake sale for a good cause. How about a cookbooklet of some of these recipes? You could raise even more money for Japan.

  6. That is BEYOND amazing! I'm so happy for you that you guys were able to sell that much!!

    And all the treats look delicious - I would've bought so much if I was down there! ;-)

    Blessings, Debra
    Raw Vegan Diet

  7. That's me in the purple-hair picture -- my younger son reads your blog and just showed it to me.

    Anyway, great work on the baking/selling, and I'm glad it was so successful! I picked up a good collection of treats to take home and have been enjoying them.

  8. Well done, you guys are fantastic! So many delicious baked goods, I would have had a hard time choosing! And our savoury items are starting to out-sell the sweet ones too! :)

  9. Holy wow! Everything looks beyond delicious, I think I'd have had to buy one of everything.

  10. Hey Amey, I wish I could've been there! The Japanese flag cupcakes look great! Sheesh - everything looks great!

  11. I was also surprised by the peanut butter in the cupcakes; it went something like, "cupcake, cupcake, WHAT WHAT PEANUT BUTTER?!"

  12. Oh my dog! So many yums! Nice job raising some serious cash too!

  13. You all totally ROCK!!!

    Everything looks so amazing and scrumptious!

    I'll be trying those peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for sure.


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