Daniela Pimentel is making the most of her twenties by not sitting idle. In addition to her 9-5 job, she runs a dessert blog where she shares her favorite recipes and inspiration. Starting the blog initially as a space to share healthy dessert recipes, Dulce Y Natural has grown to be more than that as it promotes having a healthy relationship with food and encourages open conversation about what you eat. Daniela personifies the caliber of people who continue to inspire me and others to be creative and continually seek growth. In this interview, she shares how she seeks inspiration to stay creative all while continuing to grow.
ON FINDING AND GROWING A CREATIVE OUTLET WITH DANIELA PIMENTEL
INTERVIEW BY JIJI MAJIRI UGBOMA
What’s your background and where did you grow up?
I was born in a place I like to call Canada Land and two fine individuals from Portugal raised me. I spent the cold months in Toronto and warm months in the Açores. Which means I grew up drinking maple syrup and eating pastels de nata. Nowadays I live in Madrid.
What is your Blog Dulce y Natural about?
Dulce y Natural is about falling in love with desserts again. I post my original recipes, provide resources and write about my opinions regarding our relationship with food, more specifically desserts, in hopes that we will stop seeing it as something dangerous and harmful and start seeing it as something that fuels us and a way to honor our cravings.
Lemon chai vegan cookies/Dulce y Natural
Why did you decide to start Dulce y Natural
I started Dulce y Natural to solve a few “problems” in my life. The first was homesickness. My mum is a baker. In fact, she bakes so much she permanently smells like butter. It could be a medical condition, come to think of it. Anyways, after a two-year stint in China and moving to Spain, I really missed her and her homemade creations so as soon as I had access to an oven, I started baking. Which leads me to the second reason. After I started baking, I realized a lot of people, especially women, are afraid of desserts and I wanted to change that by “veganizifing” them and making them “clean”, which I recently realized is ludicrous and an absolutely awful way of tackling the problem. But eh, that’s how I got into. Nowadays, I try to talk about our relationship with food and desserts head-on and change the way we talk about it too.
On top of that, my blog has been a safe space for me to work on my baking, photography, written Spanish and online marketing skills and it’s helped me meet so many people!
I try to talk about our relationship with food and desserts head-on and change the way we talk about it too.
Do you do anything else besides run your blog?
I work a day job that has nothing to do with baking, sleep and hang out with great friends. Especially the latter. I love socializing and being with people.
How do you balance managing Dulce y Natural with your day job?
Working for a company that respects my timetable and personal time really helps, and I’m grateful for that. If my co-workers find me at my desk after 17:00 PM they scold me, cross their arms and tap their left foot in deep disapproval.
Also, having a fan club helps. If I decide to work on my blog instead of spending time with friends and family, they have been very understanding and supportive. However, they always insist to “taste test”.
But above all, I make it a priority.
How do you find inspiration when creating your desserts?
At one point, vegetables and the leftovers in my fridge. I’m not kidding. For some reason, I once thought it was cool to add an assortment of Polish mushrooms into a chocolate and espresso cake. It’s not as bad as it sounds, it was actually kind of good, but I’m glad I’ve moved on from that stage.
Nowadays, my mom and Martha Stewart are my inspiration. I pretty much call my mom up or check out what Martha Stewart is up to, make something similar but more of my style (AKA better).
Vegan Carrot Cake/Dulce y Natural
Do you have any advice for those who want to do something creative in their spare time?
Stop doubting yourself, stop saying “what if” and instead, just start. Or as Nike would say, just do it.
With that said, unless you fart $100 bills, be very conservative and diligent when it comes to spending money in the beginning. Spending a lot of money on equipment when starting heightens the pressure and your expectations too early which makes it easier to make excuses and quite.
Stop doubting yourself, stop saying “what if” and instead, just start.
What has been the most fulfilling thing about running Dulce y Natural?
Having a creative outlet, something that is mine and that I can play around is very fulfilling.
Have you faced any setbacks since you started? If yes, how did you manage it?
Baking is easy, but promoting the blog has been very competitive and difficult for me. I try to read on SEO and social media as much as possible, attend talks and workshops, talk to others and experiment.
Chocolate ganache with pistachios and berries/Dulce y Natural
What’s one baking ingredient you can’t do without?
Nothing! I’m flexible. Ever since I started baking vegan goodies, I’ve learned that anything can be substituted.
What’s your favorite dessert?
Right now I am obsessed with dulce de leche and I like to add it to everything – cheesecake, banana bread, nachos, lasagna… Just kidding!
But my favorite dessert to make is chocolate ganache tarts garnished with berries.
When can I try it?
As long as you are willing to come to my place, anytime!