While Bollywood celebrities Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez and Chunky Pandey Bhavana’s wife are among its regulars, its desserts have also reached Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan’s home, Mannat. Meet Juhi Pahwa, a 30-year-old self-taught baker in Mumbai who elevates the movie star frenzy. But what makes her everyone’s favorite?
“My desserts are free from refined flour and sugar,” informs Juhi, a specialist in artisanal cakes. She also offers tasty brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and peanut butter, most of which are gluten-free, vegan, and butter and egg free.
While her bestseller Jowari Dark Chocolate Cake has found a loyal buyer in Jacqueline, she mostly makes buckwheat pancakes (not on the menu) for Katrina and Bollywood trainer Yasmin Karachiwala. One couldn’t help but wonder if these desserts are zero calorie given that her clients are some of the biggest fitness enthusiasts and have perfectly toned bodies. Juhi laughs, adding, “Jowar is still carbs and coconut sugar has calories, but the former is easier for your stomach to digest and the latter has a lower glycemic index. So even though it has some carbs and calories, it’s better than what you would eat otherwise and that’s why I call my business The Better Binge.
Juhi, whose business mainly runs through Instagram, spends the same time making sure every element is Instagrammable and aesthetic. “I think you eat with your eyes first, so there can be no compromise on how these desserts look,” she adds before signing.
If you want to make your celebrity’s favorite desserts, we offer two recipes from Juhi Pahwa’s kitchen:
1. Apple and cinnamon cake
Ingredients: Whole wheat flour – 1 and 1/4 cup | Powdered Jaggery – 3/4 cup | Baking soda – 3/4 tsp. Tea | Salt – 1/4 tsp. Tea | Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon | Soy / Almond Milk – 1/2 cup | Lemon juice – 1 tbsp | Applesauce (mashed apples) – 1/4 cup | Vanilla essence – 1/2 tsp. Tea | Apple (peeled and chopped) – 1
● Preheat your oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
● Grease and line an 8 inch pan and set aside.
● Mix the almond / soy milk with the lemon juice and leave to curdle for 10 minutes.
● To the curd, add the applesauce and vanilla.
● On this wet mixture, sift your flour, Jaggery, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
● Cut them and fold them together to make a thick dough.
● Sprinkle the chopped apple with flour and fold it into the dough. Sprinkling with flour prevents the apples from sinking to the bottom during cooking.
● Transfer the dough to the pan and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
2. Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes
Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes): Oatmeal (very finely ground oats) – 1 and 1/2 cups | Unsweetened cocoa powder – 1 cup | Baking soda – 1 teaspoon | Salt – 1/4 tsp. Tea | Water – 3/4 cup | Milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy) – 1/2 cup | Coconut oil (use vegetable oil if coconut oil is not available) – 3 tbsp | Jaggery – 1/4 cup | Honey – 1/4 cup | Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon | Frosting – 2 cups of good quality dark chocolate and 1 cup of cream / coconut cream / almond milk
● Preheat your oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
● In a large bowl, combine the water, milk, oil, sugar, honey and vanilla extract.
● Place a sieve over it and sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
● Prepare a thick dough and pour it into 3/4 cupcake molds.
● Bake for 16 to 20 minutes.
● Once cooked, let cool completely for 30 minutes.
● For the frosting, whip the chopped chocolate and cream / milk together in a double boiler or microwave until they are perfectly incorporated into a ganache. Let cool for about 1 to 2 hours at room temperature to thicken.
● Once the icing is ready, transfer it to a pastry bag and place it on the cupcakes. Garnish with berries and enjoy.
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