Baked goodies for a good gut
Patissier Avantika Sinha Bahl is trying to keep up with one of the fastest-growing food trends—baking that promotes gut health
The whiff of freshly roasted hazelnuts and caramelised coconut sugar wafts through Avantika Sinha Bahl’s Gurgaon-based cloud kitchen. It’s a warm, toasty fragrance that pulls us in the direction of the humongous baking oven in which she has just placed a batch of freshly-made Nutella Hazelnut Pralines. It’s a house special at Cocodate, Bahl’s recently launched patisserie.
The baker never thought that the vegan, flour and sugarless praline would become such a hit, like many other cakes and desserts in her repertoire. “Some called up in sheer shock asking how a tart made of oats, almonds and coconut oil could taste almost like the one traditionally prepared with flour, sugar, and butter,” she laughs.
Cocodate is a combination of coco (chocolate) and date (a natural sweetener). The name is proof of Bahl’s love for chocolates and her motivation towards health and fitness, which is why she only uses natural unrefined sweeteners in her creations.
The innovative baker is trying to keep up with one of the fastest-growing food trends—baking that promotes gut health. This means she avoids anything that could cause allergic reactions, gastrointestinal issues or autoimmune flareups. Dairy, wheat and soy cause most allergies, which is why you’ll never find them in her kitchen. “Digestive health is a priority for many adults. At the same time, they don’t believe in depriving themselves of their favourites. Sweet eats rich in fibre and nutrients allow people to have the best of both worlds—health and happiness,” says Bahl, also the founder of Delhi-based Kampai, MaiBao and EBK Catering.
Her library of ingredients is extensive. There are massive jars of coconut four, oat flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour on the shelves. Tall air-right bottles of organic maple syrup, organic coconut oil, and countless pouches of coconut sugar, dates, jaggery, raw khandsari sugar, nut butter and more crowd her larder.
“Consumer requirements and routines have changed since Covid 19. Health is on top of everybody’s mind. This explains the rise of more artisanal bakeries in the last two years,” she suggests, busy adding chocolate ganache made using a vegan pastry cream made of melted chocolate, almond milk, coconut milk, agar-agar and more, into a mixing bowl to make the moose cake. Next she layers it with fudgy gluten-free brownies. “You don’t have to deny your cravings anymore,” Bahl declares. Health is now a piece of cake.
1) Dark chocolate and salted caramel tart
2) Cinnamon, almond and honey tea cake
3) Lavender and Lemon cake
4) Nutella and Hazelnut Praline Tart
5) Date and Walnut cake