Community Cooks: Teen fights child hunger with cookbook

Sahana Vij author of "Bake Away; Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression"
Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.
Caption
Sahana Vij author of "Bake Away; Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.

A recipe for Atlanta Crêpe Cake by Sahana Vij

In her debut cookbook, “Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression” (Mascot Books, $25.95), Sahana Vij recalls that when she was just 5 years old, her mother taught her how to make garlic bread.

Now 18, and living with her family in Seattle, Vij takes readers on a journey through her travels and inspirations as a baker, starting with a visit to see her cousins in Atlanta, where she decided to make a New York-style blueberry cheesecake.

“In college, I’m planning on majoring in journalism and focusing on writing,” Vij said in a recent phone interview. “But as a dream job, after college, I’d love to open my own bakery.”

Aiming high, Vij said her biggest inspiration is chef Thomas Keller, who applauds her for donating 100% of the author proceeds from “Bake Away” to No Kid Hungry, a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, which works to end childhood hunger and poverty in America.

ExploreMore Community Cooks recipes
Caption
"Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij

Credit: Handout

"Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij
Caption
"Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

“I really wanted to work with them because around 22 million children don’t have access to low-cost and free meals,” she said. “I think it’s a big duty of mine to help those kids.”

“Bake Away” will be released on Oct. 26. Look for a Williams-Sonoma Atlanta book signing in late fall.

In the meantime, Vij is sharing the recipe for Atlanta Crêpe Cake. Inspired by a Proustian memory of making breakfast crepes in Atlanta with her younger cousin Jadon, she created a multilayered dessert topped with whipped cream and fresh berries.

Caption
Atlanta Crêpe Cake from "Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij. Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.

Credit: Handout

Atlanta Crêpe Cake from "Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij.
Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.
Caption
Atlanta Crêpe Cake from "Bake Away: Twenty Recipes Capturing the Spirit of Creativity, Experience, and Expression" by Sahana Vij. Courtesy of Smith Publicity, Inc.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Atlanta Crêpe Cake
  • For the crêpes:
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Unsalted butter, for cooking crêpes
  • For the whipped cream frosting and topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries, for topping
  • Place the milk, eggs and butter in a bowl. Whisk until ingredients are fully combined and the mixture resembles a smooth, yellow, creamy liquid. Add in the sugar, salt and flour and whisk until a smooth, watery batter forms. Heat a nonstick 10-inch pan over medium heat. Melt a thin pad of butter in the pan and coat the surface using a spatula.
  • Scoop ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan. Pick up the pan so it is slightly above the stovetop and turn the pan in a circular motion until the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan. Make sure to spread the batter along the edges to create an even circle and an evenly spread surface.
  • Rest the pan back over the heat and let the crêpe cook until it is set. Make sure there is no loose, wet batter surrounding or covering the crêpe.
  • Gently push the spatula under the edges of the crêpe, ensuring the crêpe can be flipped and is set. Flip the crêpe over and let it cook for a few seconds.
  • You can now transfer the crêpe onto a plate to allow it to cool to room temperature.
  • Continue making crêpes until the rest of the batter is made, and lay the rest out to cool.
  • To make the whipped cream frosting, blend the cream, sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk ingredients for roughly 5–7 minutes, or until frosting holds peaks.
  • To assemble the cake, begin by placing a crêpe on a cake dish and then spread about ¼ cup of the whipped cream frosting over the crêpe until an even layer is spread. Continue stacking the crêpes and spreading frosting until the cake is roughly 7–8 inches tall. There may be extra crêpes and frosting, but don’t continue stacking them above 8 inches, otherwise the cake may become unsteady and easily tip.
  • Coat the top of the cake with whipped cream frosting and leave the sides bare. Top with fresh berries, slice, and serve. Serves 8.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 303 calories (percent of calories from fat, 59), 7 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 20 grams total fat (12 grams saturated), 146 milligrams cholesterol, 127 milligrams sodium.
ExploreMore must-try recipes

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.

About the Author

Editors' Picks