Whipping up goodness

Whipping up goodness
I grew up in a place where food played an important part in my life. I was exposed to different varieties of food and my mother would often try making her own version of dishes at home. That is probably how I became interested in cooking as well. When I moved out of my home and began living in Mumbai, I started preparing my own food. I like making my own version of dishes and also adding healthy elements to them. This daily activity slowly encouraged me to start baking as well.

I took it very seriously when I volunteered to take baking classes for an NGO. I realised that making healthier versions of dishes was a much better choice for the kids. In 2012, I started ‘Ovenderful’, a blog on baking. And after a couple of experiments and encouragement from people around me, I decided to make it commercial. Now I take orders from clients and make sure to use only healthy ingredients for my baked goodies.

The one incident that changed my way of baking was when a mother approached me to bake a cake for her eight-year-old son’s birthday. Though it doesn’t sound complicated at all, the young boy had a different story to tell. He was allergic to almost everything that can be added to a cake — dairy products, its associates, gluten and nuts. It was an incredibly challenging task for me to make something for him.

However, by talking to the mother and understanding what I could work with, I made a gluten-free vegan strawberry cake. I prepared a trial batch before the party and waited for a week to ensure that there were no allergic reactions. The boy loved the cake so much that he ordered it again for his sister’s birthday! That’s why baking makes me happy. I am able to spread joy through what I do to the people who enjoy sweets. What many don’t realise is that they can enjoy sweets by substituting certain ingredients with healthier products. That’s what I aim to do in the future.

It’s important to understand the cooking process of the dish you are going to bake. I always visualise what my final product will be like and keep testing it all the way through to get the right texture. While many believe that baking is like a science experimentation, for me, it is about adding your own elements to the dish to make it how you want it to be. My favourite part of baking is making my own version of traditional desserts. The ‘Baked New York Cheesecake’ is one of the most popular desserts in the world and I am glad that I can enjoy it without feeling guilty.

Simran Oberoi Multani

Baked New York Cheesecake

n Wholewheat ragi chocolate biscuits, made with cane sugar and crushed well, 15 gm
n Melted butter, 2 tbsp
n Homemade cream cheese, 250 gm
n Powdered sugar, 1 cup
n Milk, 3/4 cup
n Eggs, 3
n Cream, 1 cup
n Vanilla extract, 1/2 tbsp
n Organic barley flour, 1/4 cup

n Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease a nine-inch springform pan.
n Mix the crushed biscuits with melted butter. Press onto the bottom of the springform pan.
n In another bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Beat in milk, and then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.
n Add the cream, vanilla and barley flour. Mix until it’s a smooth liquid. Pour filling into prepared crust.
n Bake in the preheated oven for one hour or till the filling sets well.
n Let the cake cool before
removing it from the tin — this
prevents cracking. Serve it cold or warm, however you prefer.

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