Sweet on the vegetarian baker
From heady dessert shots to pancake mizes, the Mumbai-based home-baker Ayushi Shah has a few saccharine-heady options lined up on her tray
The urge to hop out of bed is almost always directly proportional to what's for breakfast. So, when there are hot, sugary pancakes that await us on the breakfast table, how could one resist the urge to jump out of bed! For hassled mothers and busy bachelors who don't have the time to sift, whisk and whip every morning, Icing On Top comes to the rescue.
Owner Ayushi Shah sells homemade pancake mixes that score a ten on ten in terms of outcome, and are thankfully zero on the preservatives. "The powder pre-mix needs to be diluted in water to form a thick batter and then ladled on a hot griddle," she says. After the pancakes start to sizzle, and show off their lovely golden-brown exterior, you can drizzle them with fresh fruit compote and clotted cream for company.
Among our favourites on Ayushi's exhaustive menu for Diwali were the dessert shot glasses. Packed with cream, chocolate and other things sweet, the shot glasses won our vote. Others that vied for the honours on the charts were the Belgian chocolate mousse shot that boasts creamy mousse over cocoa and digestive biscuit powders. The Oreo cookie glass transports you to a heavenly realm with cream and Oreo biscuit powder. Ayushi can also doe these in lemon, orange, blueberry, hazelnut and coffee flavours.
A few of the goodies from icing on top
The flour child
"Most of my inspiration comes from my travels," says the 22-year-old chef who has been in the business for the last two and a half years and has honed her skills under chefs from the Hyatt Regency and The Bombay Baking Company in the Marriott.
"I was holidaying in the United States when I spotted something called Cake Pops in a small cafe. I found out that there were quite the rage, and so I thought of including them on my menu as well," says Ayushi. Her instinct was right. Cake Pops are the most popular item on her menu.
As for naming her company, Icing on Top, she says the reason is because she prefers using only quality ingredients, including Belgian chocolate, Tahitian vanilla, imported frozen fruits and the like. Her menu is restricted to what she does best. "Since I'm Gujarati, I work without eggs," says the vegetarian entrepreneur.
Desserts made with egg including pavlovas, eclairs, souffl es, puddings and pies are therefore excluded from the menu. Fancy teacakes, mud pies, cheesecakes and other desserts that can be made with egg or by using vegetarian substitutes, including custard powder and curd make the cut.
"One of the star goodies on my menu are miniature cookies," says the baker, about the bite-sized biscuits available in flavours including raspberry, star anise, orange spice, cranberry, coffee almond and white chocolate chips.
We loved the tiny lemon cookies that come laced with swirls of lemon-sugar icing. The shortbread biscuits are another favourite: Soft and buttery, they felt like little pieces of clouds in the mouth. Future plans include opening a flagship store at a food court inside a SoBo mall. "That should happen within a month. I will also have my own industrial kitchen soon," assures Ayushi.