Starting From Scratch

I am a dessert person. I love dessert.  There is no doubt that I got my love of desserts entirely from my mom. My dad is not a “dessert person”, at all. Apparently, when it came to dessert at a restaurant, they did the “she gets the dessert, he tastes a couple of bites” routine. And I don’t mean “he actually eats half”, I actually mean a couple of bites. If I let my husband share my dessert, I generally cut it in half first because a) I don’t share well, and b) he also loves dessert (although slightly less than me).

Since it was my dad’s birthday a few days ago, I wanted to make him a cake that was, well, healthy. Something he would actually eat. I wanted to make a super fancy raw cake, but didn’t have the time to do all the prep (i.e. learn how to make 8 cups of almond milk from scratch). I resorted to making a “regular” cake. I figured an apple cake. Between applesauce and apple bits, if I searched for a healthy vegan apple cake, there would be something, right? Wrong. Apparently “healthy” includes at least 1/2 cup of oil, usually more like 1 full cup. After nearly an hour of searching, I gave up. I did some research. I built my own recipe from scratch. Nearly 1/3 of the recipe volume was applesauce.

And it tastes and looks delicious!

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Except for one itsy bitsy problem…it’s super dry and crumbly. Half of me wants to just try upping the applesauce, as it was a pretty thick batter. The other half of me is fairly sure I will have to increase the coconut oil from 2 tbsp to 3 or 4 tbsp. The tragedy! Unfortunately, until this fiasco is resolved, I will be keeping this recipe to myself. I don’t think there’s a huge demand for healthy, crumbly apple cakes.

I suppose the problem could be covered up solved by slathering it in icing…but where’s the fun in that?

What’s your favourite “healthy” dessert recipe?

Cooking vs Baking

It has come to my attention that there is a bit of a divide between the “cooks” and the “bakers” of this world. I have met a lot of people who love one, but dislike the other. I am someone who loves to bake, but hates to cook, and I am slowly realizing why.

You see, to cook, you either need improv skills, or to follow a recipe. If you are the follow the recipe type (like me), then you have to have the ingredients you need on hand. And whenever I try to cook, all of the recipes I want to make include some sort of ingredient that isn’t in stock right now. Which requires the ability to improv with savoury materials–an ability that I don’t appear to have.

I have tried to improv cook a few times. I made pasta, with a sauce. It was turning out really well until I thought italian dressing would give it the right flavouring. It didn’t. It made it grossly sweet, and difficult to eat. But, I have had some successes, cooking. They just usually followed a recipe. So I often insist, when someone accuses me of not being able to cook, that “I can cook, I just don’t want to”.

My husband, on the other hand, loves to cook. He much prefers to improv dinner than to try and pick a recipe in a book and follow it. And while he enjoys baking, he doesn’t enjoy it as much. It’s too easy to mess it up.

Because it’s chemistry. Which is finicky. And totally awesome. No bias on my part, of course.

Although, I can’t lie, in part I love baking because, well, who wouldn’t prefer to eat this over dinner:

As you can see, the cake is tiered. (Photo by Julia, my new sister-in-law)

Still dreaming of this cake! (Photo by the lovely Julia)

Which do you prefer: cooking or baking (or both!)? Why?