A Retro-Chic Berkeley Baker Gives Us A Tour Of Her Home Kitchen!

Think vegan desserts are blah? Then you haven’t been to Berkeley’s Cinnaholic, ground-zero for animal product-free, ooey-gooey baked-goods heaven. The force behind the shop, Shannon Michelle Radke, is the East Bay's hottest retro-chic baker, partial to fitted-waist frocks and redder-than-red lips. To see where all the roll-experimentation goes down, we visited Radke in her Pleasant Hill home kitchen, where she gave us a tour of her fridge, singled out her essential snacks and cooking products, and shared a totally yummy vegan recipe just for Refinery29 readers. Is it dessert time yet?
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Tell us about Cinnaholic.
"Cinnaholic is a specialized bakery dedicated to high-quality, vegan gourmet cinnamon rolls with a variety of frostings and toppings. We have been open for a little over a year now. A journalist once wrote what I think is a pretty good description of our little shop: 'Cinnaholic is certainly a surprise. Although it looks like a traditional bakery from the street, its interior décor is classic '50s diner meets tattoo parlor, pin-up girl meets rock and roll. Kat Von D would eat here, but so would the ever-classy Tim Gunn.' Kat Von D has not been in yet, but I hope that will happen one day, too!"

Shannon poses with yummy pear and peach cinnamon rolls.

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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What's your background?
"I dabbled in a lot of things before my husband and I started Cinnaholic. I worked as a radio DJ/Programming Manager, a veterinary assistant, a real-estate assistant, and did a little modeling. But my biggest hobby was always baking. I loved baking for my friends and family, but I never really thought about making it a business. When I made the switch from being vegetarian to being vegan, I had a lot of fun veganizing recipes and baking sweets for my non-vegan friends. 99% of the time they couldn't tell the difference. Once I perfected the art of fooling my picky friends, I knew I was ready to start a business with vegan baked goods."

Shannon's cookbook collection rests against the fridge.

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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When you're not eating your own treats, where do you love to eat out?
"My husband and I try to make it to Millennium in San Francisco at least twice a year. Half the time I have no idea how to translate the menu, but everything I've ever had there has been incredible! So fancy! My second favorite right now is Gracias Made in the Mission. Their Papas al Horno is crazy good and it's totally worth a trip over the Bay Bridge. I recently went through a raw phase and was eating at Cafe Gratitude literally every day. It even inspired me to buy a dehydrator! For quick local eats, I usually frequent Flacos in Berkeley or Souley Vegan in Oakland."

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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You don't market Cinnaholic with a strong vegan angle. Why is that?
"Nowadays, I love it when people come to the store asking if everything is really vegan because it tastes so good. That's why we have no vegan signage on the door because it shouldn't matter to the non-vegan customer. The product should taste outstanding and that's all that counts."

em> Betty Page fridge decorations.

Photo: Caro Ramirez
5 of 10
How would you describe your style?
"I went through a pretty intense industrial/goth/metal stage in high school and then transitioned into more of a punk/rock/skate chick later on. Those influences can be seen in a lot of what I wear today. Chuck Taylor shoes and hoodies are my go-to's, but when I feel like getting fancy I definitely aim for the classic '50s pin-up. I have a stunning picture of my grandmother from that era that has captivated me since I was young. And Bettie Page has always been a sort of role model for me growing up, as well. There's just something about strong, independent, beautiful women with bright red lipstick that has always left me awestruck."

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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What are the biggest misconceptions about vegan food?
"I think a lot of people are terrified of just the word vegan. They think that all vegan food is dry, flavorless, and 'healthy-tasting.' I've often heard vegan food referred to as hippie food which is so far from the truth! For one, if you've ever eaten a piece of fruit, a salad, or a bowl of pasta with marinara sauce, you've eaten vegan food. Two, over the last decade, even the last year, vegan products have completely reinvented themselves. You can find amazing-tasting substitutes for even the trickiest of things like cheese, eggs, milk, and meat."

Shannon's favorite vegan magazine.

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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A peek inside of Shannon's produce-filled fridge.

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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What five items are always in your kitchen?
1. "I always have one of my friend Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's cookbooks laying around. I'm currently reading her latest one, The 30-Day Vegan Challenge, and pestering all my non-veg friends and family to read it."
2. "Coconut water. I'm totally addicted! I just found a really awesome organic brand called Coco Libre that I drink after my morning runs. Hydrating and delish!"
3. "Hemp seeds. I just recently discovered a ton of health benefits from these little guys after browsing through some raw cookbooks. The fact that they're a complete source of all 20 known amino acids including the 9 essential amino acids which our bodies can't produce had me sold. I'm kind of a nerd like that when it comes to nutrition!"
4. "Daiya vegan cheese. How I survived without it, I'll never know. It's the closest-tasting thing in the vegan world to cheese made with dairy. I use it as a substitute in all my recipes that call for cheese."
5. "LuLu's organic raw chocolate. I would wrestle someone if they tried to take my Aztec Crunch and Maca Love bars from me. Give me chocolate or give me death, I say! Ok, not really. But seriously, it's that good."

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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Where do you see yourself and Cinnaholic in the next few years?
"My husband and I want to expand the business and open another location in 2012. We already have offers on the table and are talking to a few investors. I would love to open a store in L.A. I've heard tons of good things about the food scene there. As much as I love the East Bay, I'm very interested in L.A. and getting to know the city and the people better."

Shannon and her adorable Cinnaholic mascot (aka her dog).

Photo: Caro Ramirez
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Shannon's Chocolate Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS
For The Cupcakes (the cupcake recipe was borrowed from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World):
1 cup room temperature rice milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

For The Filling:
8 tablespoons of non-dairy butter
¼ cup of non-dairy cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

For The Glaze:
3/4 cup rice milk
1/4 c. non-dairy butter
6 oz. semi-sweet (non-dairy) chocolate chips
2 oz. unsweetened cocoa bar
1 fresh Dragon Fruit
1 small carton blueberries

THE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a mini-cupcake tin with paper liners. Spray liners lightly with non-stick spray.
2. Place rice milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Set aside to curdle while preparing dry ingredients.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together until fully combined.

4. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla to the rice milk mixture. Mix until combined.

5. Mixing on low, pour half the dry mixture into the wet mixture until combined. Pour the remaining dry mixture in until fully incorporated. Turn mixer off while scraping sides and bottom of mixing bowl. Mix again on low.
6. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool.

THE FILLING
1. Mix all ingredients on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
2. Pour mixture into pastry bag with tip in place. Set aside.

THE GANACHE TOPPING
1.Combine chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate and melt in microwave for 45 seconds. Stir. Heat again for 45 seconds.
2. Melt non-dairy butter.

3. Combine chocolate, non-dairy butter, and rice milk in a mixer. Mix slowly until combined.

DRAGON FRUIT & BLUEBERRY TOPPING
1. Slice rough, outer edge from dragon fruit and rinse blueberries.
2. Slice dragon fruit into 6-8 slices. Lay slices flat and cut pieces into small triangles (like slicing a pizza). Set aside.

ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS
1. Poke holes into the middle of the cupcakes using a clean object about the size of a pencil.
2. Squeeze filling into cupcakes being careful not to overfill.
3. Carefully dip cupcakes into ganache topping, coating evenly.
4. Place a blueberry and a slice of dragon fruit on top.

5. Enjoy!
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