This year, in the social media universe of baking, sourdough came to signify triumph and banana bread embodied baby steps. But, home cooks without ovens tried pressure cooker cakes, those with a microwave turned to mug cakes and children assembled their first pizzas. Devoid of the outdoors, bonding over baking or making art with focaccia brought comfort and joy.
Onion slices shaped like flowers, rosemary for a touch of green and cherry tomatoes for a pop of colour were laid on focaccia dough to announce the arrival of spring-summer 2020. It was a time when a garden bloomed on bread.
Pressure cooker cakes
From Ranveer Brar to Pooja Dhingra, celebrity chefs started posting recipes of pressure cooker cakes on social media. Lounge carried a story about cakes baked in a pressure cooker. It was a rage in the early days of the lockdown. While the world was swaying to the tunes of sourdough, the desi pressure cooker cake brimmed with flavour and nostalgia.
Single-serve mug cakes
Whether one is a beginner or Nigella-Lawson-level baker, there is a cake recipe for all. “Mug cakes are the easiest for novice, time-constrained baker. They don't need an oven and they don’t take more than 1-2 minutes. They can uplift one’s mood instantly and even during a day packed with Zoom meetings, one can find two minutes to bake a mug cake in the microwave,” says chef Aditi Handa, Co-founder and Head Baker of The Baker's Dozen.
Pizzas for all
Parents who didn’t want to risk ordering in pizza, but had children pestering them for their favourites cheesy margheritas devised clever ways to recreate them at home. “Making pizza from scratch, or buying just the base and assembling it with the children’s favourite toppings was a great way to keep little ones engaged,” says Handa.
Health in focus
Breads oriented towards better health were much in demand. Those used to a breakfast routine of morning toast with eggs, started seeking healthier alternatives, and those who bought cakes consciously looked for sugar-free options. Ankita Sood of the Artful Baker says, “We have made small changes like using atta instead of refined flour or jaggery and palm sugar instead of refined sugar in products like our banana bread and flourless chocolate cake.”
Soft chewy ladi pav bread is the heart and soul of Mumbai’s street food experience. The need for misal-pav, pav-bhaaji and vada pav was fulfilled when Mumbaikaars started to bake ladi pavs at home from scratch. Ladi pav, spelled as pão in Goa is so popular that Bengaluru-based home chef Alisha Da Lima Leitao started a food venture centered on this bread and named it Whattay Pão. Leitao makes stuffed pão with fillings like chicken ghee roast, vindaloo and even chocolate.