There’s definitely something magical happening when food and photography meet…or maybe it’s just my obsession. I once read an article arguing that recipes should be considered fiction: the imaginary meal is always the best meal. That being said, I’ve always been a fan of recipe-reading and with the convenience of the world wide web at our disposal, it only takes less than a second to pull up a recipe.
And this is where Don Sweets comes in. But what is Don Sweets? Last year, I wrote a post dedicated to it but to sum it up in a phrase: the time of year when each don suite becomes a dessert mecca for residents to enjoy. This year, I had the difficulty on deciding what to bake…I wanted to bake all the things!
Baking has always been a hobby of mine and that was it. Now that I look at the evolution of my baking ways, it’s interesting to see the change in my baking style. Baking always appealed to me because it seemed to just be an exercise of obedience – follow the recipe and you’ll be able to reproduce exactly what you want. The old-era of Kelly-baking was focused on measuring to the exact amount. During those early years, I took for granted the equipment my parents owned at home and the internet. As long as I had both, I could bake whatever I wanted. Then, France happened. I’m cheap and didn’t see the need to invest in any baking equipment. This was when I realized how much I enjoyed baking and equipment isn’t essential to create something (unless you’re making some kind of liquid nitrogen dessert…). At this point, I also noticed that I don’t need to measure everything to the exact amount (rebel Kelly emerges) – there is room for changes and improvements. And then I went to Costa Rica and learned that baking is considered a transferable skill (put it on your resume) especially when you’re living in an isolated biological station where there isn’t the luxury of having every ingredient, tool or internet at hand. For 2.5 months of my stay, we were baking out of a toaster over (which is quite a feat when you’re baking 3-4 loaves of bread and 30+ cookies per day). The frequency to bake and the necessity of innovation allowed me to experiment and to understand the individual role of ingredients in a recipe. Baking gave me a new sense of feeling, a sense of independence…who needs a recipe, flour, butter, or a proper oven to make a cake! Obviously, failed attempts still exist but the capability to independently create something feels amazing. With that, here are two recipes I made for Don Sweets:
Red Velvet Beet Cake (Vegan)
1 large beet or 3 smaller ones, boiled
1 cup of sugar
2/3 cups of oil
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cups of cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a blender, blend the beets, bananas, sugar, vanilla extract and oil until puréed. Pour the mixture into a larger mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients (sift if desired). Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until well incorporated. If desired, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into two cake moulds and bake until the cake tester comes out clean (~40 min). Once cooled, frost with your favourite cream cheese icing or coconut whipped cream recipe.
Cheesecake Filling (all the better to stuff Strawberries and Raspberries)
1 regular tub of cream cheese (vegan cream cheese can be found and opted in)
juice from 1/2 a lemon
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl until desired consistency is reached. Add more or less of each ingredient based on taste and consistency. Core strawberries or use raspberries and fill the centre with cheesecake filling. Chill if not serving right away.