The advantage about being a cake- chocolate- and cookie-maker who works flexi-time from the house is that there are no overheads and consequently, no compromises in quality or menu. Abha Kohli of Vasant Kunj is one of these. Her perfectionism comes through clearly, her menu is intentionally small and her prices unbelievably reasonable. She bakes sweet goodies as a full-time passion and you’ll never be able to tell that the soft, moist, decadent sponge and the silky, melting ganache (half portions of cream and chocolate) is not from the world’s best couverture. That’s a guarantee.
Her chocolate truffle cake (Rs 2,200 per kg + customized decorations) is her all-time best seller and far from trying to up-sell her other products, she is very happy to give you half a kilo of it. She only bakes after receiving an order and she does the whole process herself, from start to finish: no hired help to sift the flour or pack the chocolate bonbons into boxes. The upshot is that you cannot ring her up at the last moment and ask her if she has something lying on her shelves. Why, she doesn’t even have shelves!
Her other products are a range of tea-cakes – essentially cakes that don’t have icing on them. Date and walnut is her best seller, lemon cake tastes of soul cooking, the way a commercial establishment simply cannot deliver. The lemon cake has one fluffy layer, flavoured with zest of lemon and another more moist layer where a tangy mixture of sugar syrup and lemon juice has been sprinkled. Its shelf life is small, which is why you will never find it in a pastry shop, but Kohli finishes her orders one hour before they are picked up. The way she reasons is that she has to put in the same amount of effort to get an order ready, so getting it ready nearest the time it is to be consumed makes for a fresher product.
Her other signature product are her fudge brownies. You can opt to take these gooey, slightly chewy brownies in one single piece or have them cut into pieces (16 squares to half a kilo). Please do not make the mistake of asking Kohli for cakey brownies rather than the gooey ones she usually makes. She has strongly held opinions about everything on her tiny menu and brownies is the foremost. To her credit, though, internationally, brownies are supposed to be gooey and anything flat with walnuts in it with a cake like texture is just a chocolate sponge cake, not a brownie!
The other of her goodies that I have tried is the shortbread in flavours of lemon, choco-chip and cinnamon. Soft and flaky, they are a decadent delight with coffee, though they do not travel particularly well because of their freshness and their butteriness.
Kohli’s chocolates are popular, and have to be ordered well in advance during the festive season. In addition, she has a few eggless items on the menu: teacakes, iced truffle and shortbread. 24 hours notice is required. She can work out very simple shapes, but her products are not really kids’ birthday party fare. And you do have to collect your order from her residence.
D I-1325, Vasant Kunj, 100 metres from Heritage School (2nd floor)
Tel: 26124191, 9818250010
24 hrs notice for an order
Chocolates have alcohol flavours, nuts and fruit (eg citrus) flavours.