Coconut Heaven
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Did you know that I’m loco for coco?

Also, did you know that the entire coconut tree is useful and there are varied products that can be derived from coconut?

As some of you may know, my cakes are coconut heaven. I use a lot of coconut products in my cake, including coconut flour, mylk and coconut sugar. So, in this article, I want to share you the goodness of coconuts and how an entire part of coconut trees can be transformed into something useful for humans.

Here in Indonesia, it’s really easy to find coconut because, well, you know.. as the one of the naturally richest tropical countries, Indonesia grows lots of coconuts.  That’s why I use coconut flour (and tapioca and rice flour) instead of almond or other imported flour as my main cake dough ingredients.

Coconut is one of the great substitute ingredients for vegan or gluten free dishes, providing a number of nutritions and benefits that prevents varied diseases and health conditions. According to a study published in the December 2006 issue of Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, adding coconut flour to our diets can significantly reduce our risk of developing heart disease, lower our cholesterol levels and guard us from cancer and diabetes. Coconut in general is packed with protein and able to help digestion.

I also use coconut mylk for my cakes and cupcakes as a healthier alternative to dairy. It is believed that it may boost your immune system and protect your body against viral and bacterial infections. I produce my own homemade coconut mylk, in which case has its own natural sweetness and no added yucky substances, unlike the ones you might find in the store.

What other function does a coconut have?

Beside the health benefits of a coconut inside a dish, here in Bali, they use its old stems to build a shack, the coconut leaves for ‘Penjor’ or bamboo pool decoration during Balinese major holidays. Even the hard shell can be used for dishwashing or craft materials like the ones you find very popular on instagram, the coconut smoothie bowls ;)

Young or old, the whole coconut can be used in different ways for various purposes.

So, are you now loco for coco too? <3

Sugar In A Cake
 
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As we commemorate the World Diabetes Day, I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about sugar. Based on the data from World Health Organization, The number of people with diabetes has risen from 390% increase in the past 34 years. From 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014. In 2030, it is projected to be the seventh leading cause of death in 2030.

This may be one of the reasons why more and more people these days are trying to avoid sugar completely. I saw some extreme examples taken by people, like having non-fruit diets for example.

While limiting sugar intake to our body is important,  in my humble opinion, I think we must, first, understand the science behind sugar before we decide on making a drastic decision to cut sugar out of our lives completely.  I sometimes wonder, how many people know what makes up sugar, how they are being being made and in what natural forms do they come from.

Fortunately, my mother is a food nutritionist with a degree in chemical engineering. Her specialization is in organic chemistry. So, I learned a lot from her about sugar and it’s function in my cake. So, in this blog, I’m sharing you all the things I’ve learned about sugar so far.

The sugar ingredients I use in my cakes and buttercream comes from coconut sugar and sugarcane syrup - which naturally contain sucrose. When sucrose is eaten, a certain enzyme in our body separates it into sugar units of glucose and fructose. Our body generally uses glucose as our main energy source, and fructose for the extra energy we need. However, when not used, fructose will be stored in our body into fat. This unused fat is what then turn into health issues, such as diabetes.

So, it’s important to limit the amount of sugar coming into our body and to make sure to use them by exercising and being physically active!

We need to be mindful with the type of sugar being used and how much is in the cake.

As for the coconut sugar I use, I wondered if it’s healthier than refined / table sugar. I did some research and found out some interesting facts about coconut sugar. Here they are:

#1 Coconut sugar has 50%  lower glycemic index compared to refined sugar. Glycemic Index or GI is a measure of how quickly a food raises our blood sugar levels. Research says, coconut sugar has a glycemic index of about 35, whilst sucrose (which is table sugar) has glycemic index around 68. Which goes to ‘high’ category.

#2 Coconut sugar helps to ferment cake dough. Sugar is needed to be broken down into carbon dioxide and water, which in turns, raises the dough, making them easier for us humans to eat.

#3 Compared with table sugar which doesn’t contain any important nutrients, coconut sugar has quite a bit of nutrients. These are including iron, zinc, calcium and potassium.

These things make coconut sugar a better option than table sugar! However, we also need to still be mindful with the amount of coconut sugar we put into ur body. Because, you know, too much of everything is not good.

So, before we eat anything, we need to be mindful with the type of sugar being used and how much it is in one meal. As for mine, I only use the lowest amount of GI sugar products, like coconut sugar and sugar cane, and I make sure that I don’t put too much in them that it will be excessive for our body.

 
Bali Vegan Festival 2017
 
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September marks the first year of me as a young entrepreneur and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the things that has happened! I have a sort of clear vision and lots of crazy ideas for my next year and this new season to come. But first, I’m about to take you back to last week.

I got the chance to kick off the second year of Thyme & Caramel by participating in one of Ubud’s largest festivals for vegans and vegetarians, the Bali Vegan Festival.

The event was held for three days from the 6th - 8th October. I opened a booth filled with flowery cupcakes and sweet desserts during the festival and it was worth all of the preparation to make this booth stood out. For 3 days straight I was there, many people came to show their love and support toward the work that I’ve done which I really appreciate.

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The booth wasn’t the only thing that kept me busy all weekend, I also had a talk on second day of the festival. At first, I doubted myself if I could do it or not as it required me tons of preparation for a 40 minute talk. But my thought was wrong, my worry was gone once I started speaking. The presentation turned out great and I got many positive response and encouragement.

Unfortunately, not all of them went as planned. I had scheduled to do a buttercream flowers workshop there, but decided to postpone it and later cancelled due to the weather. Anyway, for kids who missed the workshop, I’ll be having my first buttercream piping class on 11th November.

I’ll lead this class every once a month. So, sign up now, because there’s only 8 spaces available in every class! :)

 
One Year of Gratitude
 
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I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I launched Thyme & Caramel, oh how time flies! This year has been filled with lots of excitement and amazing experience, thank you to everyone who has supported me. The growth of the business is beyond my expectation!

These experiences has made me realize how grateful I am to be able to find my passion at a young age and feel the joy in what I do, which is baking and crafting cakes. My biggest gratitude to the special people, family, friends, and even people from around the world, who have showed their love towards my work and supported my journey in what I want to achieve as a youth.

I’m thoroughly grateful for the path I have chosen and the support I am given, I believe that education is a lifelong process, and I have learned so many lessons each day from many different aspects. These lessons are ones I value most, reality education that has taught me how to sustain myself as a person and certainly to sustain my business.

I feel the need to share my happiness. That’s why, last month, I kickstarted a small fundraising project for my local farmer’s daughter who has been providing me with only the finest passion fruits for my cake. I’ve donated a percentage of every cupcakes I sold to raise fund for her education.

From one idea to another, I’m thankful to be able to make them happen one by one and step by step. This encourages me to motivate more people, to believe in themselves that how silly people might think your idea is, as long as you believe, there is always a way to turn things that started from only a dream into reality.

Now that I’ve managed my cakery for a year, I’m planning to grow and expand its wings! I am about to launch my buttercream flower making workshop for kids on November, to inspire them to use their creativity in the right place that can make the world a little bit better.

Another exciting news to welcome a new year of Thyme & Caramel, I’ll be participating in one of the biggest festival for vegans and vegetarians in Bali, which is Bali Vegan Festival. There, I’ll be holding my first public demonstration of cake decorating, giving a talk about my journey of positivity and happiness along with amazing speakers who are coming from around the world, and also having a booth at its vegan marketplace (The Vegan Village) where there'll be a little surprise for you. Wohoo!!!

It’s a three-days event in Ubud from 6 to 8 October. Entry to the Vegan Village (Ubud Soccer Field) will be FREE. However, all workshops, talks, classes and screenings require tickets for entry. Check out their website and purchase your ticket now! See you there :)

xx,

Arielle

 
Sweet Purpose of Being
 
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Sweet Life of Purpose was the title of my presentation I gave at Hubud’s Pecha Kucha Night Ubud last Tuesday at BetelNut Ubud.

In celebration of Indonesia’s Independence day this August, Hubud Bali decided to do an ‘All Star Indonesian’ theme for the first time at the Pecha Kucha Night Ubud Vol. 33. I had the honor to be one of the speakers at this event along with other inspiring Indonesian Speakers who came from different backgrounds. Even though, it was their first time having all Indonesian speakers, it broke the record of more than 300 attendees on this Pecha Kucha talk! How cool was that!

Pecha Kucha is a very fun and interesting format of presentation originating from Japan, where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images which is in total I had 6 minute and 40 seconds to deliver my message.

My talk was based on an ancient Japanese philosophy of life called ‘IKIGAI’. Ikigai literally means ‘The reason for being’ which is formed by four primary elements:

  • What you love (Passion)
  • What the world needs (Mission)

  • What your call is (Vocation)

  • What you can get paid for (Profession)

IKIGAI is that space in the centre of these four elements, it’s the source of value or what makes a person’s life truly worthwhile. It’s like a guideline for us, so we can walk our own paths of happiness.

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I want to encourage young people to use their creativity in the right place to make the world a little bit better.

I love this concept as it very much explains the values we should consider when starting up, or simply running a business. I believe that without one or the other element, no balance will be found. In addition, I also implement my four pillars of value which is Responsibility, Dedication, Commitment and Discipline in running my business. I believe that by simply practicing these values in our daily lives, we can build a more responsible and meaningful life.

My intention for my presentation was to encourage young people, especially those who are fortunate enough to get an education to feel empowered and inspired to use their creativity in the right place to make the world a little bit better.

It was my first time doing a presentation like this and I absolutely had a lot of fun preparing for my talk. It took me about a month to get my script and myself ready for the night. I gotta admit that it was very difficult to fit my message in 6 minutes and 40 seconds, let alone with automatic slides. But at the end, I managed to shorten my words and make them simpler, but still impactful.

I have to say, I was nervous at first as it’s actually been awhile since the last time I was on stage in front of hundreds. I missed this place where I can focus and express my words, a lonely yet powerful place to be. I’ve always liked the stage and especially enjoy it more now, knowing that I have a message I would like to share with the crowd. All in all, I felt really grateful and satisfied for that night, especially with the positive responses that are coming in after that.

You can check out my full presentation at Hubud’s Youtube channel or here:

P.s. I will be sharing my next presentation at the Bali Vegan Festival, and will hold a small workshop for kids. See you there! :)

xxx,

Arielle

 
How It All Began?
 

Ever since I was 3 years old, I've only enjoyed puzzles and play dohs which were the two types of toys that I only played with. While others had barbies and dolls to play with, I was obsessed with molding things or anything to do that involves my hand working together with icky gooey dough.

Eventually, my mum knew what interest me most and decided to send me to miniature clay class when I was 7 years old. That’s where I made my very first bakery, out of clay. She thought it's important to nurture the things that interest me and have me use my free time to grow my hobby.

At the age of 9,  I was invited by a close friend to attend a 3D fondant cupcake class. There, the mentor saw that I had the potential in baking and above that, decorating. She told my mum afterwards and convince her that I shouldn't wait until I was 'old enough' to start, rather, when I am ready.

I have to say, I looove cakes and dessert, but sadly I found many cakes that are made from artificial and processed ingredients that are harmful to our body. In fact, each one of us always feel guilty eating one of the other sweets.

After a rather disappointing experience eating this super trending cake, which tasted so artificial, I was motivated to bake a healthier version of my favorite desserts. As I sat on that cafe table that day, I said to my mum, "I am going to have a bakery one day, serving cakes that has healthy benefits, using ONLY real ingredients."

I was soon to realize that I could do so much more than bake for myself, I found my own way to promote a healthier and more responsible lifestyle through my cakes. I never thought that my pastime could turn into a profession. I was 11 when I said it, and I thought that very statement was going to come true when I'm about 30.

Until a year ago, when I was 14, I started Thyme and Caramel, a vegan and gluten free cakery, aiming to spread a new concept of happiness and sustainability through cakes. Looking back in time, it's interesting to see that my journey in cake business didn't just start recently, but started ever since I was 3 years old. I'm lucky to have my mom support me in a very young age, and I hope that everyone out there in the world will have the same opportunity as I have to discover and develop their talents no matter how young they are. It is never too early for someone to follow their passion and dreams. Happy World Youth Skills Day!

 
Chocolate Heals!
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Life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’ll get
 

There’s this one girl that comes to my mom’s restaurant every week to buy half a dozen of Thyme & Caramel’s chocolate cupcakes.. Yeap!  every.. single .. week!

When I asked, “Why do you buy my cupcakes all the time?” She said, "The chocolate in your cupcakes tastes real, they don’t make me feel bloated after I eat them, and more importantly, it’s the only cake I like that is guilt-free and can actually make me smile!”

Knowing this makes me happy, because this is exactly why I launched Thyme and Caramel! I want my cakes to not just make people happy, but also help them lead a healthier lifestyle. This lady have found a better option of dessert through my cakes, and in addition to that, she gained more knowledge about healthy living.

Let’s talk more about the benefits of (real) chocolate!

The cacao ingredient I use are sourced locally from Kintamani in Bali. I buy it from a small chocolaterie owned by a Balinese guy that handpick organic cacao fruits with his own hands and process them into small batches of different chocolate products. That’s why my chocolate cupcakes taste like real chocolate, because they’re actually real!

Scientifically proven, chocolate is famously known as a medicine to help reduce stress, it contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which is the same chemical that  your brain creates when you feel like you’re falling in love. PEA encourages your brain to release feel-good endorphins.  Real chocolate may also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. In other words, it heals your body and calms your mind.  (*Because Stressed spelled backwards is Dessert and dessert is basically chocolate ;)

All of these benefits, of course, works for unprocessed and less processed chocolate, not the ones you find in the supermarket, because most of them use artificial ingredients that don’t come from an actual cacao. More than 400 chemical compounds are required to create the flavor of chocolate! Do you really want to put that much chemicals into your body every time you grab that chocolate bar off the supermarket rack? I don’t think so.

So, here is the solution: make your own chocolate and use ‘real’ foods!

My gluten-free chocolate cake is made from tapioca flour which I mix with coconut flour, rice flour , cacao butter, cocoa nib, cocoa powder, coconut sugar and coconut oil. Coconut flour is actually high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats , it is free from wheat and other grains. That makes coconut flour a good substitute for those who have a sensitive digestive system. I also use coconut sugar for my sweetener replacing those nasty refined sugars. All in all, I carefully choose the ingredients that are better and have some tremendous benefits for our health.

Today is the day that all of chocoholic have been waiting for all year. You can eat many chocolates you want for the day, but choose wisely! Eat the right kind of chocolate to indulge in and you’ll be fine. Happy World Chocolate Day, everyone!

xx,

Arielle.

 
Inside the Mind of a Successful Young Entrepreneur
 
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A talk I gave at Hubud’s Bali Bungkus Event

Back in April, I went to Hubud Community Co-working Space in Ubud, Bali to deliver a special cake as a surprise to a special someone. When I gave the cake to the birthday girl, almost everyone at Hubud raved about how pretty it looked and was surprised that it was made by me, a teenager. That’s when one of Hubud’s members approached me and invited me to share my story at their skill share event, the Bali Bungkus in June! 

Weeks passed by until that day, the day that I got excited (and well, a bit nervous!) I saw on Hubud’s website that my talk was mentioned, titled “Inside the Mind of a Young, Successful Entrepreneur”. I got nervous because the title of the presentation was kind of intimidating, as I feel like I’m not that successful yet and that I had just started this business last year! They expect me to share something that I learned as an entrepreneur that people (aka the adults) can learn from, which is a bit tough! :S

As I (slowly) prepared and practiced my presentation, I learned that I actually had gone through quite a roller coaster ride with Thyme and Caramel. I realized that I had learned so much more and acquired a better understanding from managing my own business, than sitting in a classroom. So yeah, I feel like I can actually share a thing or two about being an entrepreneur! Nevertheless, I also realized that there’s still a lot of room for me to grow. Like, learning on how to manage my time better, et cetera, et cetera.

Fast forward to the D-day, I got nervous (again!), because this was the first time I presented in front of experienced adults, whom are known as the ‘digital nomads’ of the world. Presenting in front of people is definitely one tough thing, and as confident as I may have seen, I certainly was quite anxious inside.  

This little presentation went well though. I got a really great feedback from the audience. I got some interesting ideas that I want to test to improve my business, which is really valuable. :) I also gained more confidence in public speaking! The audience were really nice and supportive of me. I even got an order that day.

All in all, this presentation has given me another learning opportunity. It was a nice day. Oh, to close off, I’m going to share you my full presentation. Check it out and let me know what you think!  

PS. I’ll be sharing another one of my story at Pecha Kucha Night this August! More info to come :)

 (My presentation was 15 minutes long, the rest are Q&A)

Xxx,

Arielle

 
Why Vegan?
 
 Plant-based colouring powder: cacao, matcha, turmeric, and beetroot.

 Plant-based colouring powder: cacao, matcha, turmeric, and beetroot.

So, why vegan?

People often ask me this question.

Well, it all started because I, myself, am allergic to processed dairy. I have been having this allergy ever since I was little. I’m also very sensitive with artificial and processed food, I instantly feel sick and usually get headaches. I don't see it as a bad thing really, it makes me more aware and conscious with what I eat.

When I started baking, I basically wanted to give myself more food options that won’t do me harm. I want to be able to eat cakes without feeling sick afterwards. You see, I love food, and so do I love desserts and cakes, but eating random sweets that consist of artificial ingredients like sweetener and food colouring, instantly gets me sick.

I went to Green School and studied there for 2 years. Being in Green School that time, I was opened and introduced to the world of veganism.  I also learned a lot about sustainability. I learned that the world becomes messed up today with pollution, global warming, etc mostly because of us, humans. We don’t really care about how we produce things and what we give back to the earth. I also learned that most activism towards sustainability is often seen as something that is too idealist. That’s why I wanted to do something outside the box to help build awareness about sustainability.

At Green School, I saw quite a large demand in veganism. I saw that quite a lot of people are allergic to certain animal products, like dairy and eggs. I found out about this when I helped my mom bake cakes for her food stand at school, and we got a lot of cake requests from families because we make dairy free & gluten free cakes. That’s when my idea of launching Thyme and Caramel started! I thought, by creating a vegan cakery, it will help me talk about sustainability in a positive way.

Thyme and Caramel is actually the first vegan cakery in Bali. I serve cakes for birthdays, baby showers, anniversaries, and even weddings - for all happy moments! I think that by reaching out to people with something that makes them happy, it will be easier to inspire them about the values around healthy and mindful lifestyle.

Veganism can be seen in many different aspects and opinions, but I believe that it promotes a more mindful lifestyle. If you look at it from health perspective, reducing some animal products in your diet will most likely help your body digest food better, as a lot of animal products are now harmed by unwanted chemicals. Additionally, without the use of eggs and butter in my cakes, it certainly reduces the amount of fat and calories in it.

I also substitutes the ingredients with super foods such as pumpkin, beans and chickpea, which are a better and healthier choice for our body, making my cakes a guilt free treat. I thought, this will be a hit for the ladies! Because, you know, usually cakes are like a big no no to a lot of girls because of the high sugar and fat it consists.

So yeah, these are the main reasons why I chose to launch a vegan cakery. I certainly hope that Thyme and Caramel can promote about sustainability, but more importantly, give a better food option for people seeking to have a healthier lifestyle.