Mad City Vegan Fest!

The long overdue Mad City Vegan Fest post!
On June 19th, the very first vegan fest in Madison, WI witnessed an amazing turnout of over 1,300 people for a day of delicious food, cooking demos, vendors, and community. I was so happy to be a part of the demo line-up, all the details of which can be found on the Mad City Vegan Fest website! Thank you so much to the organizers, Hannah West and Courtney Mayhew, and all the volunteers who worked so hard to create such a successful inspiring event!
I did a brief write-up of the event over on Vegansaurus so check it out here for the who/what/where/when and even more puffy heart vegan fest love.

The day was absolutely insane! There was so much going on in every corner and so many people-both familiar faces and new friends. Add in preparing for my demo, and by the time I got to sit down with a bite to eat, the day was starting to wrap up! I started setting up in the kitchen when I first arrived to the Goodman Community Center, then headed over to the exhibitor hall, got some food samples, and ran into lots of amazing people until it was time to prepare for the demo.
Laviyah Ayanna of the Ste Martaen Chicago vegan food truck was one of the food vendors. I was smart and forgot to bring cash to vegan fest, so later in the day when I was able to get mac n cheese, I was too late…oops! Luckily the vegan food truck comes up to Milwaukee pretty regularly on Saturdays, so the mac n cheese-shaped hole in my heart can be filled soon.

Photo courtesy of Sandi Swiss

Nicole working some Upton’s seitan magic.
Pssssst, if you’re near Chicago this upcoming Saturday, July 23rd, there will be a Vegan Chef Showdown by Upton’s Naturals to benefit Mercy for Animals. Check out all the info on the Facebook page. I will be there! And competing! 🙂

Photo courtesy of Sandi Swiss

Jasmin Singer and Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House gave a speech about baketivism called Let the Donut Do the Talking.

Photo courtesy of Sandi Swiss

I met Jasmin and Mariann for the first time in Madison and we instantly became BFFs like vegans do, and I visited them in NYC a few days later where we did an interview for Our Hen House. It appears on Episode 78, which you can listen to here or through iTunes. Episode 76 is all about Mad City Vegan Fest and includes interviews with Terry Romero and Courtney Mayhew, so listen to that one too! And all the other episodes because Jasmin and Mariann are fantastic and their podcast is informative, inspiring, and witty!

I demo-ed a brand new recipe, Shirley Temple Cookies, a light shortbread-like lemon orange cookie topped with cherry grenadine frosting, a candy straw, paper umbrella, and maraschino cherry.

I chose to demo these cookies because the decorations are elaborate, but fun and easy to do. I called up two volunteers to help decorate the cookies-the first hands that went up belong to Sandi of Canary Confectionery and Ayame. They helped pipe the frosting and top the cookies with all the garnishes to be ready for everyone that came up for a sample. Even with two rounds of Shirley Temple Cookies and a huge sample platter of chocolate peppermint cream bars, the cookies were gone in two seconds flat. Demo success!

Demo photos by Katie Young



My second batch of Shirley Temple Cookies:

Up later was Terry Romero’s demo. Terry being awesome in the kitchen:

Terry did a cooking demo on Chipotle Seitan and Potato Tacos from Viva Vegan!

There was an after-party at High Noon Saloon in Madison after the event with a donation-based cover. Pizza was delivered-my slices had Daiya cheese, pineapple, onions, and jalepenos. But the real star of the show was the cupcakes!

Jessica Weisnicht of Compassionate Cake donated 180 gorgeously decorated cupcakes for the after party.

The cupcakes were all decorated with buttercream, intricate white chocolate shapes, and handmade fondant sculptures. Flavors include soy milk and cookies, almond vanilla sponge cake, and Merlot…

…coffee and donuts, rosewater, Earl Grey agave…

…orange flower water agave honeybees, death by chocolate, chile chocolate, and those butterflies are edible!

…margarita, chocolate ganache, maple bacon, and cherry cheesecake!

Jessica truly went above and beyond with the full table of desserts. Jessica is not new to veganism, but she is to the community and it’s so great to have such an amazing addition to our vegan world (I was debating what word to use here. Circle? Scene? Those all sound so cult-ish…ahem, you know what I mean)! I am continually astounded by the kindness and talent in the vegan community and so happy to know so many wonderful people over the past several years. I’m excited to see what else delicious and cruelty-free is going to happen in the future!


Bake sales and Compassionate Cake

The past month has been very long and very busy, but most of all, very full of baked goods and bake sales! I don’t even know where to begin!

May 4th: Mini Bakery at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design’s Student Union

I held this sale at my school during finals week. Starting in the fall, I am going to set up a bakery stand monthly or so and sell vegan treats to MIAD students and anyone in the city of Milwaukee who can make it to the Third Ward that day!
I put this sale together in 2 days and baked: Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink Vanilla Frosting, Oreo Cupcakes, Espresso Cupcakes, Chai Spice Cupcakes, Mini Cupcakes, Salted Caramel Cupcakes, Chocolate Russian Cupcakes, Lemon Rosewater Cupcakes, Shirley Temple Cookies, Cinnamon Rolls, Blueberry Streusel Muffins, and two kinds of Snickerdoodles! Phew! When I have more time to prepare, I plan on amping up the display!

The next day was a gallery show at the MIAD Union Erie Street Gallery. I talked more about it in detail on this Seitan Beats Your Meat post, but here’s the cupcakes I made for the show again! Salted Caramel and Mexican Hot Chocolate.

May 14th: Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this bake sale, but I dropped off a few baked goods with my friend Stephanie, who runs Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale.
I made Earl Grey Lavender Tea Cakes…

…and more Salted Caramel (these are getting around lately)!

The Milwaukee Vegan Bake Sale raised $922 for Doctors Without Borders and The Urban Ecology Center! Yay!

May 21st: Cookies4Kids Milwaukee Bake Sale

Cookies4Kids Milwaukee was held to raise money for pediatric cancer. Here’s a great post from Lori of Burp! Blog who organized the bake sale. Over 45 bakers donated, and while the bake sale wasn’t vegan, some local vegan bakers including myself baked for this event so there was a selection of vegan treats at the sale! Bon Jovi was in town that day and only 4 blocks away at the Bradley Center. Despite our massive group of people tweeting at him to come visit, we never heard from Bon Jovi. Even so, $2100 was raised at the end of the day!

Part of the sale, and a vegan section.

The haul I brought home that evening, with special Gnocchi appearance.

While setting up the bake sale, a giant cardboard box was delivered to the sale. Upon opening it, I saw dozens of gorgeous cupcakes inside, each elaborately decorated and neatly packaged. When I looked closer, I saw that they were vegan and immediately got excited (and secretly thought that something so awesome just HAS to be vegan)! These cupcakes are Banana Split, Root Beer Float, Strawberry Balsamic, and Coffee and Donuts, made by Jessica Weisnicht.

I sent a picture to Twitter and everyone showered the cupcakes with compliments. I wondered how I didn’t know this awesome lady yet and decided that we need to be friends.

Meet my new friend Jessica! We met up at the Riverwest Co-op last night to talk cupcakes and for dinner with Stephanie, Lindsay, and Colleen. Jessica of Compassionate Cake does stunning work and I was so glad to see more of it in person and spend several hours talking with her!

Fortune Cookie and Peanut Noodles Cupcakes

The “noodles” are made with peanut butter frosting and the broccoli is fondant with frosting and green-colored non-pareils.

She made all four of us a cake! This is the Napa Valley Chocolate Cake, infused with Merlot and it’s all mine (but I’ll share!). Check out the Facebook page to see the other cakes!

If you need more incentive to come to Mad City Vegan Fest this Sunday, Jessica will be there with cupcakes! Done deal now, right?

The schedule for the festival is posted here. If you’re planning on coming, we’ll see you there! ❤