Chef Cynthia Louise’s new cookbook will let you enjoy desserts again

28 Dec 2021

@preethiness profile image


For Chef Cynthia Louise, cooking is more than just a passion. It’s about eliciting a reaction, revisiting childhood memories of a dish, and veganizing classics to evoke the same warm feeling.

These ideas are distilled into her recent launch, a third cookbook titled “Celebrate Your Sweet Tooth”. She describes her latest work – dedicated to vegan desserts – as a means to enjoy sweet treats with whole, plant-based ingredients and none of the recipes contain any white sugar.

Chef Cynthia takes some time from her busy cooking and teaching schedule to chat with abillion about her third cookbook, the romance of an actual book in the age of the internet and the magic needed to veganize classic desserts.

How did your passion for cooking come about?

I grew up surrounded by incredible home cooks. I assisted several of these cooks with peeling vegetables and cooking rice in a pot. Slowly, I discovered that food is a right, not a privilege. I recognized food was more than just a source of energy or a recipe.

Who inspired you to become a chef?

It wasn't until I was 34 that I went to a chef school in Australia and completed my chef apprenticeship. I knew I could cook and handle food, but the one thing that motivated me was the numerous women who taught me the basics of cooking when I was a little girl; it was them who inspired me the most to become the chef that I am today. Humble, strong, and forever teaching and learning.

Celebrate your sweet tooth

You have written two other books on plant-based cuisine. Why did you decide to write a separate book just for desserts?

Fantastic question! Common deserts have such a bad rap. By common, I mean desserts that are made using ingredients that are called “refined” sugars or highly processed ingredients that turn something into sweet.

My dessert cookbook called “Celebrate Your Sweet Tooth Naturally” is the exact opposite of. When I was creating this EPIC plant-based cookbook only for desserts, my entire vision was funded and fueled with celebration. Celebrating you and your body’s 78 organs it houses, using sweet ingredients that are as close to how nature intended it to be, with low human interference.

Cake Photo: Strawberry Coconut Cream Pie

What’s your favorite dessert recipe from your cookbook?

There is one dessert recipe that has always had my heart and has stood the test of time since I created it in the early 2000s. My son Jayman was around 14 or 15 years old. It is heartfully called “Jaymans Cake” on page 196.

What a journey that recipe was to make. Jayman had a massive sugar addiction at the time, and any money found in my handbag was spent buying crappy sweets from our local corner store. And of course, I would find the empty wrappers under his bed. At that time in my career, I was working as a chef in one of Australia's top health retreats. I was around great doctors, naturopaths, biochemists, botanists and health healers. Basically I was in food heaven with the best of the best guiding me on creating great menus that served one's health.

I would come home with my sweet ideas and make desserts for my family hoping they would love them as much as the guests at the retreat. But my family didn't love them at all. They hated every recipe I tried.

Instead of giving up, I decided to pay more attention to the sweet food that my son loved. It was then I began creating his favorite cake; Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake, loaded with big amounts of chocolate, raspberry goodness, and finished with more chocolate on top.

The kid hated each test I made, and stated very clearly “this tastes like avocado and tahini mum”! After weeks of testing, one day he took a spoonful of Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake, looked at me and said “you nailed it, mum! Can I have more?” This is why it's one of my favorite recipes in the entire book.

Desserts aren't just sweet food that make us feel good, they are a connection to childhood memories. My job is to recreate those dessert recipes like The Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Cake that is filled with whole ingredients that celebrates your sweet tooth, naturally.

Cake Photo: Very Vegan Berry Cheesecake

It’s tricky to get vegan desserts right. How did you nail the texture and taste in desserts?

I balance out the fat, nuts and seeds ratio. So, if it's my Strawberry Cream Pie or my Passionfruit Cheesecake, the base is made from seed fat sweetened with dates and held together using psyllium husk.

To achieve a creamy mousse texture there are a couple of things I do. Firstly a high speed blender is a must. Second, for the filling I use soaked or sprouted nuts like cashews which create a creamy texture. Cashews have a lot less fat content when soaked. It creates such a magnificent texture that is super smooth and creamy.

Does natural sugar like maple syrup and cane sugar change the texture and taste of the dessert?

In my experience, maple syrup gives a smooth texture. Like my “Next-Level Chocolate” – a chocolate recipe made at home without dairy and cacao powder. It's sweetened with maple syrup so it's very smooth. If I was to sweeten it with cane sugar, it would be gritty, and be super sweet. Maple syrup is mellow with regards to sweetness, in my opinion.

Social media and the internet has made it easy to access recipes. What essence does a cookbook bring to the kitchen?

I personally LOVE cookbooks. The question I ask is: “Will it be outdated”?

But right now our libraries around the world are still full. Reading and learning knowledge from a physical book is something quite extraordinary. My fans have been asking me for years and years to put my recipes in ink, and I am glad I listened to them.

Page connoisseurs are pressed to remember recipes that are loved. Food spills and fingerprints land on the most used sections of my books. And then, that same used cookbook gets passed on. A legacy continues in print and that to me is a unique human experience.

So with all the social media, the ever constant change in the online world, physical cookbooks are so much more than just a recipe. They provide instruction on techniques and ingredients, and like my cookbooks, each recipe has a story – a narrative, intended for the reader to feel my authentic voice though my words and food porn – it may be fun, it may be conversational, but all in all printing versus social media, there is no comparison.

My cookbooks have a stronger visual element than a person with a camera. I find that to be more rewarding than looking into a screen scrolling with one finger.

. . .

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@vikas profile image
vikas10 MONTHS AGO
Congratulations on the new book Chef!
@love-live-lemons profile image
love-live-lemons10 MONTHS AGO
My hands are itching to try one of your recipes!
@sofia-anne profile image
sofia-anne10 MONTHS AGO
@sarahel profile image
sarahel10 MONTHS AGO
Looks amazing 🥰🥰🥰
@manjugarg profile image
manjugarg10 MONTHS AGO
Wow . Love to try some recipes . You are doing great for all vegan generations . 👍
@thundergleep profile image
thundergleep10 MONTHS AGO
@daniellehart profile image
daniellehart10 MONTHS AGO
I'll be trying this book for sure. I tches Eating You Alive the other daybabd realized I eat too much refined sugar
@daniellehart profile image
daniellehart10 MONTHS AGO
I'll be trying this book for sure. I watched Eating You Alive the other day and realized I eat too much refined sugar so this book will be very helpful! Thank you! ❤️
@daniellehart profile image
daniellehart10 MONTHS AGO
Ignore my first try, I hit the wrong button... I wish there was a button to modify a comment... 🙄
@love-live-lemons profile image
love-live-lemons10 MONTHS AGO
Downloaded the ebook, but in most recipes you use eggs 😞
@ceespicy profile image
ceespicy10 MONTHS AGO
Would love to try out some of ur recipes