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Best Vegan Desserts?

s
sparkyk Mar 13, 2009 02:36 PM

Wondering if anyone knows of good places to get vegan but rich, normal tasting desserts. Tried M Cafe, but theirs tastes "off", aka vegan-y. Thanks!

  1. mmontgomery Mar 13, 2009 02:50 PM

    Vegan desserts will always taste like vegan desserts and it's best when they aren't trying to approximate something else. Places like Euphoria Loves Rawvolution in Venice has vegan desserts that I find very tasty. Raw food cuisine isn't for everyone. I'm an omnivore, not a vegan, and I enjoy the food there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mmontgomery
      a
      aventinus Mar 13, 2009 09:41 PM

      real food daily in santa monica has good vegan desserts in general
      intelligentsia in silver lake has good vegan donuts in the morning

      i don't agree with the theory that vegan versions of common desserts are necessarily substantially inferior. rather, they're usually substantially inferior, often because the chefs have other idiosyncrasies like kooky preferences for agave nectar and other ruinous ingredients.

      1. re: aventinus
        choctastic Mar 14, 2009 08:06 AM

        I totally agree aventinus. It's not hard to make really good vegan desserts, it's just that some of the vegan chefs tend to have "interesting" ideas.

        Speaking of which, Native Foods has a very decent pumpkin pie during the holidays, but when you buy a cake slice (or two in my case), they're awful, just terrible. Their chocolate cake is dry and dense (how can you manage this) and their carrot cake comes with this really weird citrus frosting. Veggie Grill's version is a thousand times better.

        1. re: aventinus
          goodhealthgourmet Mar 14, 2009 01:11 PM

          "agave nectar and other ruinous ingredients."
          ~~~~~~~~~
          what, pray tell, do you find "ruinous" about agave?

      2. b
        bulavinaka Mar 13, 2009 03:08 PM

        I've never tried them but Jamaica's Cakes usually has at least a couple of vegan yum-yums displayed in their case on a regular basis. They also have a menu sheet with vegan goods that can be ordered as well.

        1. goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2009 03:21 PM

          i think the vegan chocolate cake at Urth Caffe has a lot of fans.

          other thoughts would be Akasha in Culver City or Jax Vegan Cafe in Westwood.

          though i'm sure you've already tried it or heard about it, skip Mani's Bakery.

          i did a quick Google search and found this site that might offer a few worthwhile suggestions:
          http://www.randomgirl.com/veganla.html

          1. c
            candee Mar 13, 2009 03:24 PM

            M Cafe is hit or miss, depending on what you order (but if you're vegan, you know that's the case with many restaurant items....some great...some hate). I love M's chocolate chip cookie, strawberry cupcake, banana/chocolate cream cake, and fruit tarts (their strawberry shortcake is sometimes great, depending on it's freshness that day). The rest, not so much.
            Real Food Daily has a good almond cookie, chocolate cake w/ whip filling, and tirimasu. The rest of the items haven't impressed.
            As an aside, my fave store-bought soy icecream was Soy Delicious dulce de leche, or Decadent's peanut butter and chocolate.........

            1. s
              sparkyk Mar 13, 2009 03:30 PM

              I heard The Sensitive Baker in Culver City is good. Maybe not "vegan" but diary/gluten free. But they just close so darn early on Friday which is when we tend to order desserts.

              -----
              Sensitive Baker
              10836 1 2 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA

              3 Replies
              1. re: sparkyk
                goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2009 03:41 PM

                now i'm confused... do you need vegan, or DF/GF?

                FYI, most of the products from the Sensitive Baker are *not* vegan (they use eggs), but they do have a few - one cookie, one muffin, a cupcake that you need to order in advance (and maybe one or two more items). everything there is, however, gluten- and dairy-free.

                they have a product list on their website:
                http://thesensitivebaker.com/blog/bak...

                just click the link to download the menu.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  s
                  sparkyk Mar 13, 2009 04:10 PM

                  Yeah, sorry if that was confusing. I technically just need dairy free but we're just used to going to vegan places in the area for our desserts.

                  1. re: sparkyk
                    goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2009 05:27 PM

                    got it. well, in that case, you should also check out some kosher bakeries...and any gelato places that have soy gelato - Scoops in LA & Al Gelato in SM for starters.

              2. c
                citizenx Mar 13, 2009 06:20 PM

                Jamaicas Cakes peanut butter cups are amazing. I bring them to Chicago b/c my bil loves them (he's not vegan). But they have gotten smaller lately and at $1.95 each, can be pricey in bulk.
                There's a line of raw desserts at the Co-op in Santa Monica and the best is called "Who's your daddy?" which is carob but tastes more like light chocolate mousse. Really good.

                1. j
                  jaykayen Mar 13, 2009 09:44 PM

                  I would go Asian.

                  I can think of some Vietnamese sweets that are vegan.

                  dau hu, anyone?

                  1. Emme Mar 13, 2009 09:47 PM

                    Sweet Debbie's Organic
                    http://www.sweetdebbiesorganiccupcake...
                    will do dairy and gluten free

                    1. b
                      bruinike Mar 13, 2009 09:48 PM

                      Akasha Restaurant has some great vegan desserts.
                      www.akasharestaurant.com

                      1. ipsedixit Mar 13, 2009 09:55 PM

                        Try Shojin in Little Tokyo.

                        It's a Japanese/Sushi joint, but they make some really delightful desserts, including an azuki bean layer cake and rich chocolate espresso brownie.

                        http://www.theshojin.com/

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          westsidegal May 7, 2010 08:09 AM

                          off topic,
                          but if you go to shojin, i'd recommend that you take the time to try their food as well.
                          (their dinner menu is much larger and more varied than their lunch menu. maybe go for dinner and find out if you need to place an order for the desserts for pick up the next day?)

                        2. choctastic Mar 14, 2009 08:03 AM

                          Ooh a topic near and dear to my heart.

                          But have you tried the chocolate cake slice at M Cafe? I thought it was pretty damn good, rich and not "vegany" except the small part where they felt the need to put some "buttercream" (gross). Some of the other stuff, meh. I hate their cookies. Okay, now that I think about it, I only like the chocolate cake slice here.

                          Veggie Grill's carrot cake is pretty damn good too. With a very realistic cream cheese frosting. Even better, Whole Foods and Mothers Market carries this one line of vegan cakes, and one is a carrot cake which is really good, about $6 for a small loaf cake with a thick "cream cheese" frosting.

                          I LOVE getting vegan gelato at Scoops. I get all four flavors. They had this Thai coffee flavor last time that was outta sight. Also, sometimes they have interesting sorbettos, like the avocado pale ale sorbetto I had a couple of months ago.

                          And of course, if you go to the Vietnamese ch shops, those desserts are always vegan. I actually like the che sold at the Alhambra branch of Banh Mi Che Cali, 3 for $3. or something like that.

                          1. s
                            sparkyk Mar 14, 2009 04:10 PM

                            Thanks for the great suggestions everyone. Yeah, my group has gotten the brownie and chocolate cupcakes at M and the chocolate cheesecake at Akasha, all of which were yech. I think the problem is that too many vegan places use carob for the chocolate when they could just go with unsweetened real chocolate. Am thinking about suggesting Jamaica's, as seems to be a CH fav bakery. Sweet Debbie's has a couple terrible comments on Yelp, plus it's in Valley. We're in Culver City. Ice cream is a good idea but we're more chocolate baked goods type people. Thanks again!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: sparkyk
                              a
                              a213b Mar 14, 2009 05:23 PM

                              Maybe The Sensitive Baker? She's in Culver City; I know she's Kosher/Parve and Gluten-Free, though I'm not certain if she's 100% Vegan or not.

                              Still, can't hurt to call, right?

                              http://thesensitivebaker.com/

                            2. a
                              Aylwin Mar 15, 2009 02:57 PM

                              Avanti Cafe @ Costa Mesa.

                              Vegan cookies, Vegan chocolate cake, Vegan tarts, etc.

                              I'm no vegan but that place is GOOD, but expensive.

                              http://www.avantinatural.com/

                              1. s
                                schrutefarms Mar 15, 2009 04:29 PM

                                I think Mani's on Fairfax has some vegan treats...Also, at Trader Joes, Mintzes Blintzes w/TJ's blueberry preserves warmed up and spooned over is very delicious.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: schrutefarms
                                  westsidegal May 7, 2010 08:10 AM

                                  with what are the blintzes stuffed?

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    s
                                    schrutefarms May 7, 2010 09:58 AM

                                    A vegan kind of ricotta, I believe.

                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                      goodhealthgourmet May 7, 2010 03:52 PM

                                      tofutti
                                      http://www.tofutti.com/ff-blintz.shtml

                                  2. g
                                    genara Sep 17, 2009 10:50 PM

                                    Earth cafe's vegan carob mousse pie really is the best thing ever- available at whole foods and nature mart and probably other trendy health food stores. it's rich but completely raw so it feels good to eat too

                                    i've heard that trader joe's version of oreos are vegan- and i love those things so much

                                    you can't beat scoops' gelato. ever.

                                    Locali has pretty good, rich vegan cupcakes

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: genara
                                      c
                                      Clyde Sep 18, 2009 04:51 PM

                                      i want to chime in that Earth Cafe's vegan raspberry cheesecake was extremely excellent!

                                      1. re: genara
                                        choctastic Oct 28, 2009 08:56 AM

                                        Actually Oreos, not just the TJ ones but the real ones, are vegan as well.

                                        1. re: genara
                                          e
                                          earthcafe Nov 30, 2009 09:38 PM

                                          Thank you Genara and Clyde for your kind words. Craig/Earth Cafe Living Foods...

                                        2. c
                                          cjyoon04 Feb 27, 2010 10:28 AM

                                          You should try BabyCakes in downtown LA - it's an all-vegan bakery with cookies, sticky buns, cupcakes, etc but it's pretty pricey - $5 for a chocolate chip cookie sandwich...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: cjyoon04
                                            w
                                            will47 Feb 28, 2010 09:53 PM

                                            I would skip it unless you need to eat gluten free for some reason. I went there the other day, and it was *not* delicious at all (and we didn't even try any of the gluten free stuff, only the recommended non-GF spelt flour stuff). Cinnamon bun had the texture of a biscuit. Even if it had been served warm (which wasn't an option), I don't think it would have been even the slightest bit decent. I love cinnamon buns, and I couldn't even finish it. The red velvet cupcake was dry, dense, and not moist. The total bill for these two pastries was at least $9. I don't get the hype about this place. I've been to tons of places which have better vegan desserts. It's great that it's gluten free, but maybe better for gluten-free and vegan places not to try to do both things at the same time.

                                            1. re: will47
                                              choctastic Mar 1, 2010 07:03 AM

                                              The only thing I really liked there was the freshly dipped chocolate covered donut. The chocolate icing was just pure, warm chocolate, and it covered a crusty cornmeal textured FRIED donut which was just fabulous. I didn't like anything else at this shop, except maybe the chocolate chocolate cupcake.

                                              I have also had the carrot cupcake (rather austere version with only carrot shreds and no nuts or pineapple, light vanilla frosting), chocolate chocolate cupcake (best gluten free chocolate cupcake I've had, but I wish the frosting was better.), the red velvet cupcake which was AWFUL (dry, horrible tasting cake and judging from the yelp reviews, this was not an anomaly), the "skinny cinnamon bun which was basically like eating dry cardboard for skinny people, and the chocolate chip cookie which was the thin, crunchy version with really tiny chocolate chips (meh), the agave brownies which was moist and compared to everything else not that bad.

                                              The best vegan carrot cake by a mile is the one I had at Loving Hut Ladera Ranch. OMG this thing was awesome. Make sure you call ahead and get it when it's fresh because they leave slices in the case until they run out. I love all their frosted cakes actually. The baker there is a frigging genius. The actual food is decent too, but I like the food at the Orange branch better. The frosted cakes here are king, imho.

                                              1. re: choctastic
                                                goodhealthgourmet Mar 1, 2010 07:52 AM

                                                i was beginning to feel like a broken record with all my warnings on the Manhattan board that the offerings at Babycakes are just. not. good. unfortunately they'll continue to do business until someone else comes to the table with *good* vegan, GF treats.

                                                now if only i could find some investors in this miserable economy to back my business... ;)

                                          2. choctastic Mar 1, 2010 07:07 AM

                                            BTW, Sprinkles has a new vegan red velvet cupcake. They clearly use oil in it and it's heavier and not as good as the regular one (which I found out when I had a reaction and realized they gave me a regular cupcake the first time I went there). Also, the frosting is achingly sweet. however, outside my kitchen, it's the best red velvet cupcake out there.

                                            1. mrshankly Mar 15, 2010 07:31 PM

                                              Whole Foods (although not a restauant) has a delicious vegan carrot cake.

                                              1. n
                                                nothingswrong May 7, 2010 09:00 PM

                                                real food daily on la cienega by the beverly center has awesome desserts (and food). i admit i'm not all too adventurous an eater but i love being able to eat a big scoop of mocha-chip-almond ice cream on a warm brownie or cookie. they also have cakes and whatnot but i don't think i've had them for a while.

                                                mani's on fairfax does have vegan desserts--i think some of them are okay. not a fan of the food though...

                                                i'm going to second store-bought desserts. i try not to eat soy so i love rice dream ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. i've also had great luck with vegan baking at home. i can't find my vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe but they really do taste like regular cookies. i'm not 100% vegan and only use eggs in baking because it's hard to substitute in cookies particularly, so i have a sensitive vegan dessert "palette." but with some trial and error, there really are some great vegan dessert recipes. my suggestion would be to just sub in the "necessary" vegan ingredients like egg replacer for eggs (or use bananas or applesauce) and subbing in vegan margarine for butter. when you start replacing sugars and flours and adding ground flax and whatnot, it really changes the textures of the baking.

                                                good luck!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: nothingswrong
                                                  s
                                                  schrutefarms May 8, 2010 11:58 AM

                                                  I am definitely not vegan or even vegetarian, but Uncle Eddie's vegan cookies are my favorite cookies ever!!!!

                                                  1. re: schrutefarms
                                                    k
                                                    kermit May 21, 2010 10:28 PM

                                                    schrutefarms, I'm right there with you...I absolutely adore Uncle Eddie's vegan cookies!!! Their trail mix cookies are very good, but the chocolate chip cookies are #1 in my book.

                                                2. s
                                                  swtcrm May 21, 2010 09:52 AM

                                                  You can order from http://www.cestlavbakeshop.com/store/

                                                  I have tried their stuff when they were at the Hollywood farmer's market. Delicious.

                                                  1. a
                                                    AlkieGourmand May 5, 2013 11:38 PM

                                                    Babycakes is pretty good. Rich and normal tasting.
                                                    Some stuff at Real Food Daily can be good.

                                                    1. s
                                                      schrutefarms May 6, 2013 06:28 PM

                                                      There'a a vegan/raw place on Washington in Culver City called Leaf...they do vegan non dairy raw desserts. I was very skeptical, but while on a cleanse I got a slice of their chocolate raspberry cheesecake...and proceeded to get one every night for the duration of my cleanse. It was amazing. And I'm a devout dairy/sugar eater. Little did I realize...it's pretty much all cashews. I'm probably the only person in the world who gained weight on a cleanse.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: schrutefarms
                                                        goodhealthgourmet May 6, 2013 07:30 PM

                                                        I'm probably the only person in the world who gained weight on a cleanse.
                                                        ~~~~~~~
                                                        LOL! I promise you're not the first - it's human nature to fall prey to the "health halo" effect with certain foods (and eating plans). You can actually gain weight on those stupid juice fasts because you're basically mainlining sugar all day, and many who transition to a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or even paleo diet end up unexpectedly packing on the pounds because they're substituting higher-calorie, less-nutrient dense foods for the ones they give up.

                                                        Oh, and don't be so quick to blame the cashews - those desserts are still loaded with sugar.

                                                      2. f
                                                        Francesca Jun 6, 2013 11:53 PM

                                                        Golden Mean on Wilshire @ 11th in Santa Monica.

                                                        Coconut cake, carrot cake and other vegan goodies. Delish!

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