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Healthy and hearty bakes

March 22 - March 28,2023
Gulf Weekly Healthy and hearty bakes
Gulf Weekly Healthy and hearty bakes
Gulf Weekly Healthy and hearty bakes
Gulf Weekly Healthy and hearty bakes
Gulf Weekly Healthy and hearty bakes

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Big-hearted bakers from Bahrain are aiming to promote healthy eating and raise funds for children with special needs through a month-long baking bonanza.

The Ovenderful Mom Bakers’ Community (OMBC) has organised the Ramadan Bake Sale Charity event from March 22 to April 22, boasting a menu that includes vegan and gluten-free delights and all proceeds from sales will go to the Sneha Recreation Centre run by the Indian Ladies Association (ILA).

“The Ramadan bake sale is very close to my heart because Ramadan is the month of charity and giving, and we feel blessed to have the event during this time,” said OMBC member and the initiative’s organiser Ekta Sethi, 47, from Barbar.

The baker, instructor and recipe developer from Saisha’s Sweet Treats has been baking for the past seven years and teaching for five. She is passionate about creating healthy recipes and likes to involve herself in charity work.

“I have been involved in various bake sales to raise funds for good causes,” said Ekta. “One of my recipes was included in the Healthy Baking Book which was the first of its kind compiled by Simran Multani and Samira Pillai and the proceeds went to support two worthy causes.

“I feel bake sales bring joy to both the giver and the receiver of goodies, and this event will also bring cheer to the children of Sneha.”

Aside from Ekta, Kavitha Chowdary, Amrita Darshan Bhatia, Manjula Akula, Siji Binu, Soni khadilkar, Ema Ridhi, Samra Usman and Anushka Sharma will also be whipping up a bevy of healthy bakes that will be available online.

“This bake sale will also help in spreading awareness about eating healthy and avoiding refined flour and sugar in our diet,” Ekta explained.

“It promotes health benefits of eating healthy flour and millets. Some people think – what’s a healthy bake – it’s filled with calories anyway. However, using alternate flours and sugar is always better and less harmful for children and adults.

“The pandemic has made us realise the importance of good health like never before. Many also feel the healthy bakes are not delicious, but that’s not true. A good recipe and accurate baking can result in a delicious and healthy treat.”

The Ramadan Bake Sale, which is in its third year, is being supported by Let them Eat Cake and the ingredients are being sponsored by Megamart.

Kavitha, who participates every year, is delighted to be a part of the caring campaign.

“I feel blessed to be able to use my baking skills for a good cause,” said Kavitha, 50, from Sanabis. “Each year I get to try new healthy recipes and add to the menu which also helps to spread awareness.”

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Anushka from Saar, who is studying finance, is participating for the first time.

“This initiative is a humble way to share a small contribution from my side to the children of Sneha who hold a special place in our hearts,” said Anushka. “I will feel blessed if I can bring a smile on their faces.”

Ekta - who has been staging online training courses for young adults with special needs, living in the ‘Nischhinta’ community in Kerala, for the past 18 months - also hopes this delightful drive will encourage other bakers from around the world to take part.

“I’m hoping more people in other countries are inspired to organise bake sales as fundraisers to promote healthy eating,” she said.

“My niece and my friend are planning a bake sale in two different cities in India. We are looking for bakers in Kerala to support a local special needs village project. Those interested may get in touch with me.

“I have had youngsters from Bahrain, Kuwait and India join in my online course, held every Tuesday. Mums also enjoy baking with them. Pastry chefs and experts can participate and I’d love to do a class for special needs children and young adults in Bahrain.”

The bake sale is a virtual event similar to last year, and Ekta will be co-ordinating the collection and delivery of items purchased during the charity drive.

For more details, follow @bake.with.ekta.at.saishas and @saishas_sweet_treats on Instagram.

No sugar dates & walnut whole-wheat cake


Dates - 20-25

Warm Milk - 1 1/4 cup

Oil - 1/2 cup

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup

Baking powder - 1/2 tsp

Baking soda - 1 tsp

Walnuts - 1/3 cup for the cake batter

1/4 cup walnuts for garnishing

(1 cup=250 ml)

Let’s bake:

1. Soak dates in warm milk for 15 - 20 mins.

2. Grind it into a fine paste.

3. Pre heat oven at 180 C

4. Sieve the dry ingredients (flour, Baking powder and baking soda).

5. Take out a small spoon from the flour to roll the (1/3 cup) chopped nuts in and keep aside.

6. Add oil to the fine dates paste.

7. Fold the sieved flour into it and mix with a spatula.

7. Fold in the floured nuts till you get a smooth batter. Do not overmix.

8. Pour the batter into desired shaped tins.

9. Top with (1/4 cup) chopped walnuts.

9. Bake at 180 C for 20-25 mins or till the toothpick comes out clean.

The cake can be made vegan by using non-dairy milk.

Carrot walnut cake


Whole-wheat flour 1 cup

Baking soda 1 tsp

Cinnamon powder1/2 tsp

Salt 1/4 tsp

Buttermilk 1/2 cup (1/4 cup thick yogurt +1/4 cup water)

Vinegar 1 tsp

Oil 1/4 cup

Jaggery powder (or brown sugar) 3/4 cupheaped

Carrot (grated) 1 cup

Vanilla essence 1 tsp

Water 2 tbsp

Chopped Walnuts/Almonds (optional)

Chocolate chips (optional)

Let’s bake:

1. Take a bowl. Add 1/4 cup thick yogurtand 1/4 water to make 1/2 cup buttermilk. And 1 tsp vinegar to it. Keep itaside for 5 minutes.

2. Add 3/4 heaped cup jaggery powder and1/4 cup oil to it and mix for 40-50 seconds or till blended.

3. Add grated carrot and vanilla essence toit and mix for a few more seconds.

4. Now add the sieved dry ingredients(flour + Baking soda + salt + cinnamon powder).

5. Mix for 40 seconds. Do not over-mix.

6. Add 2 tbsp water and mix for another fewseconds.

7. Pour the batter in a greased 8” pan. Topwith lots of chopped almonds and walnuts. You can add chocolate chips too.

8. Bake at 180 C (only lower rod) till doneor till toothpick comes out clean. You can put the upper rod on for 5-10minutes in the end if you like a crunchy top (Recommended).

9. You can bake cupcakes too!

Ekta’s tips:

1. You may substitute the jaggery with anequal amount of raw cane/brown sugar if you wish.

2. It’s very important to sift the dry ingredients four to five times to get a light cake if you are using whole wheatflour.

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