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Home > Sunday Mid Day News > Comfort food A pull me up cake to beat lockdown blues

Comfort food! A pull-me-up cake to beat lockdown blues

Updated on: 01 November,2020 06:54 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Phorum Dalal |

Who wants to simply cut a cake when you can splash it with molten chocolate? Heres how yet another baking trend is adding excitement to lockdown celebrations

Comfort food! A pull-me-up cake to beat lockdown blues

Rajni Singh and Guntas Bhasin

The "pull me up" cake comes with sacrosanct instructions. Refrigerate the base, bring it out an hour before cutting, and do not refrigerate the sauce, which we have already sneakily tasted. Commands are duly followed. When it is time to assemble, we heat the ganache for 30 seconds in the microwave to get a molten lava consistency. The process is akin to sitting at the edge of your seat before a final goal or watching a thrilling film climax. There are some oohs and aahs when we pour the sauce on the cake, and finish the deed with the toppings of brownie, praline and Ferrero Rocher. Video cameras on, we are waiting for the final reveal. The cake is encased in a towering sheath of plastic. We hold the edges of the sheet and give it a gentle nudge. It slides up easily and we do it slowly [for the 'gram, of course]. The cake is now dunked in the cascading ganache, and one thing is clear: there is no clean way of eating it. We hungrily cut a slice and indulge.

The last six months have been eventful on the global health front, but somewhat uneventful when it comes to ringing in celebrations. No more gatherings at home or parties at your favourite restaurant. Despite the limitations, there has been no dearth of virtual excitement, with baking fads topping the list. The pull me up cake is the latest.

Santacruz-based chef Guntas Bhasin has sold 1,300 of them so far and agrees it is a current hot-seller that's helping create lasting memories of special occasions. Bhasin, a London Le Cordon Bleu alumnus, says it is all about "experiencing" your cake. "Call it a hot mess or a chocolate avalanche, the response to it is huge. We have people sharing videos on social media, where there is excitement about pouring the warm ganache, adding the toppings and then pulling up the plastic wrap followed by hoots and cheering."

Juhu-based Rajni Singh, learnt about the trend from her daughter-in-law, who lives in Los Angeles. Singh has been running La Creme Delight in Juhu since 2013. Eager to bake a cake for her niece, she decided to give the pull me up cake a shot. "My daughter-in-law is always updating me on food trends. What could possibly go wrong, I thought. It would end up in a big puddle and that's alright," she laughs, adding that her version was a tiramisu cake base with a dark chocolate sauce to pour over.'

"Aesthetically, the pictures can look terrible, but I worked on the correct consistency of ganache, which is neither too runny nor rigidly thick," says Singh. Her bestseller is a sinful Nutella, in which the chocolate cake base is sprinkled with orange juice. An offbeat option on her menu is the cookie crumb version called Biscoff pull-me-up. "Sometimes, we get odd requests for a cake in milk chocolate, with a chocolate milk ganache which can become over-the-top sweet. We are also doing versions using white chocolate, and 55 per cent dark chocolate. But, in the end, a cake can be customised to people's tastes and preferences. Since I am not around when customers are assembling the cake, I send the sauce and toppings separately and give detailed instructions about the consistency of sauce. Trends come and go. For now, it is this. In some time, something else will replace it."

'It is a passing fad'

Bunty Mahajan, owner of Deliciae, agrees that it's the drama of the pull me up cake that's making it a current favourite. "Pull out or pull me up cakes are fun, and have mostly grown through social media popularity. However, with more intimate gatherings, people prefer classic and intricate designs that also taste good, so this could be a passing fad."

Hammer and song

Hammer and song

On Shilpa Chawla's birthday last month, her family ordered a globe cake from Yumergency, and instead of giving her a knife, handed her a hammer. "It was an experience, and felt odd at first. I had to smash my cake! Smashing the globe made from chocolate was a memorable way to welcome a new year which has come with a big change. It was like my mother said, 'hammer the bad'."

Hammer and song

Two weeks ago, Shreya Gupta who runs a bakery called Essange from her central kitchen on Hughes Road, launched a cake that lets you dedicate a song while you take a bite. All you have to do is scan the barcode on the cake with your Spotify app and enjoy your favourite song. "I was inspired by Matt Adlard who created the barcode with chocolate. I loved the idea and had to do it with frosting on our cakes."

Hammer and song

Savoury pull me up, anyone?

Savoury pull me up, anyone?

Two months ago, Navleen Kaur Vijan, a kindergarten teacher based in Bandra, launched a home-cooked food delivery service, Food Nostalgia. "I come from a family of hoteliers, and food always interested me. As a family, we are used to ordering takeaway at least twice a week. That stopped with the lockdown and I started making dishes at home for my kids. I follow chef Guntas Bhasin and am greatly inspired by the food she cooks. When I saw her pull me up cakes, I tried a savoury version with chicken paprika on a rice bed," says Vijan. She even did a paneer version with gravy. For customers who don't want too much gravy, she offers a sticky rice and paneer chilli and triple Schezwan rice version. "It's all about adding fun elements to how we eat at home."

Assemble the ingredients that include the cake, encased in see-through plastic sheet, toppings and ganache

1. Assemble the ingredients that include the cake, encased in see-through plastic sheet, toppings and ganache

Slowly pour the ganache over the cake

2. Slowly pour the ganache over the cake

Hold the sheet by the sides and gently lift

3. Hold the sheet by the sides and gently lift

A decadent chocolate cake dunked in ganache is on your plate

4. A decadent chocolate cake dunked in ganache is on your plate

Although messy, bakers say it makes for a memorable experience

5. Although messy, bakers say it makes for a memorable experience

Order Here

Food Nostalgia: 9819979946
Guntas Bhasin: 9740654123
La Crème Delights: 8452955485
Essange: 7208496291

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