Mayavi Khandelwal specialises in desserts that don’t make you feel guilty

Mayavi Khandelwal was about 15 when she baked her first batch of cookies and naan khatais. Friends and family devoured them. She only got to see them! Thirty-five years later, she has added cakes, chocolates and other sugary delights to her repertoire and sells them in Mumbai under the brand of Maya. She specialises in desserts with a twist, infusing them with the goodness of fresh fruits, crunchy nuts and hung yoghurt.

Mayavi was recently in town to train the bakery staff at That’s Y Food and On The Go in innovative desserts that are delicious and not necessarily decadent.

On the menu were saffron almond yoghurt, an airy dessert that had you asking for more without feeling guilty; a sinful chocolate filled chocolate cupcake to make up for that; red velvet cupcakes with vanilla and white chocolate; and a crispy canoli with a soft and crumbly khoya-paneer-dry fruits filling. The desserts were passed around for feedback, and based on popularity, most of them will soon feature in the menu.

Every spoon of the saffron almond yoghurt had generous slivers of almond. “That’s so essential in a dessert. If the name says almond, you should not be looking for it,” she smiles. “You must offer value for money in desserts. Don’t scrimp on ingredients,” says Maya.

Maya grew up in a Jain house, loving biscuits, cookies, cakes and anything that came out an oven. Once, someone gifted her a book by Tarla Dalal that featured eggless desserts. Maya knew where her heart lay.

In between, she qualified as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist, before chocolates grabbed her attention. A booming business making gourmet chocolates followed.

“I mix and match ingredients. Among our popular chocolates are those with Himalayan rock salt and sea salt. Then, we have our chocolate baskets, desserts in jars…” Among her favourites is special freeze-dried Nagpur orange slices dipped in chocolate. “It’s not easy to make, it costs money and it’s seasonal. But, one bite and everything seems worthwhile,” she says.

Mayavi does not bake every day now. “I have trained staff to do that. But, I’m there, mixing and stirring to create something new. There’s something special about baking. It’s almost like therapy. In a way, my profession and passion meet,” she smiles.