Baking for Beginners: Simple Recipes for Desserts from Scratch | Shivesh Bhatia | Skillshare

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Baking for Beginners: Simple Recipes for Desserts from Scratch

teacher avatar Shivesh Bhatia, Baker, Author, Blogger & YouTuber

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Finding Your Approach


    • 3.

      The Base Vanilla Cake


    • 4.

      Upside Down Pineapple Cake


    • 5.

      Chocolate Tres Leches Cake


    • 6.

      Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes


    • 7.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Signing up to bring dessert can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Get a taste for the fun, creative side of baking!

Join self-taught food blogger and cookbook author Shivesh Bhatia for a confidence-boosting, beginner-friendly baking class. Shivesh will show you how one simple vanilla cake recipe can be used as a base for countless mouthwatering desserts.

You'll learn how to make:

  • A remarkably versatile vanilla cake 
  • An always impressive pineapple upside down cake
  • A unique chocolate tres leches cake
  • Very Instagrammable rose and pistachio cupcakes

Plus, Shivesh shares his own journey as a baker, with tips and tricks to personalize your recipes with your favorite flavor combinations. 

Whether you're an aspiring pastry chef, cookbook collector, or total kitchen novice, Shivesh's practical, step-by-step instruction will help you achieve delicious results every time. Once you master the basics, impressing your guests is surprisingly simple and sweet!

This class is for anyone who wants to have fun making sweet treats in the kitchen. Baking teaches patience, precision, and focus—plus, you end up with delicious desserts you can share with family and friends.

Meet Your Teacher

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Shivesh Bhatia

Baker, Author, Blogger & YouTuber

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] One thing that fascinated me about baking and still continues to do so, is the fact that I can pick off the most basic ingredients off my shelf, mix them together, and then transform them into something magical in the oven. [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Shivesh Bhatia, a baker and food blogger. The process of baking it very meditative for me, that's probably the only time of the day when I'm not on my phone or have 100 things going on in my head. Baking could be that one time for you, where you completely stress free and focused on what's happening in the kitchen. Baking is a science, but what a lot of people don't tell you, is that once you have your basics in place, it actually opens up a field for you to have a lot of fun in and be creative. In this class, we will start by making a basic vanilla cake, and then use that as a base to level up and make a chocolate [inaudible] cake, an upside down pineapple cake and some rolls and pistachio cupcakes. The idea of doing this class, is to have all our basics in place, so that we have a strong foundation to build upon. I'm a self-taught baker and I can't wait to share with you all the little tips and tricks that I've been able to teach myself over the years. This class will not just be about following a recipe blindly, but I'll also share the right technique with you, so that you can use it, and make your own different versions. I hope you enjoy making these recipes as much as I do. I can't wait to teach you this class and welcome you to the world of baking. 2. Finding Your Approach: [MUSIC] My love for baking comes from my nanny and my mom, who I've always seen making cakes for special occasions and birthdays. I remember, I would always sit on the counter and watch them bake and once in a while just taste the batter. Beyond that, my involvement in the kitchen wasn't a lot actually. I studied political science for my undergrad in the plan was to probably become a lawyer or an IAS officer. But while I was still in college, I fell in love with baking, I started posting pictures of my desserts on Instagram and I realized that those posts were getting a response beyond my immediate friends' circle. A lot of people reached out to me asking for recipes such as via thought that I should probably make website or a blog where I can compile all my recipes in one place. That was the unexpected way that I actually got into baking and started taking it more seriously and looking at it as a full-time profession. If you're just starting out, I know baking can be intimidating. When I started baking on my own, it was followed by a lot of failures, a lot of disasters, you will make mistakes, lots of them, but trust me that's the only way to learn and get better. I remember I was baking a batch of chocolate cupcakes with my cousins, and although we ended up burning the entire batch, I just had so much fun being in the kitchen, putting together the batter and frosting those cupcakes, I started reading up on the science of baking, understand what each of the ingredients is doing to my cake. That is how with a lot of practice and experimentation, I was able to get slightly better. Seven years later, baking continues to excite me. I still remember the first recipe on my blog is this three layer orange cake with the meringue frosting, which is super elaborate. My style of baking at that time was super aspirational, intimidating, and very influenced by what I saw internationally. But over the years, I've tried to simplify my recipe. Now it's about constantly reminding myself about why I started in the first place, my love for baking and how it was for me as a 16-year-old self-taught baker. The idea is to get a lot of other people to do just that in their kitchens. Even if you decided to not make baking your profession, just following it as a hobby could bring you a lot of little moments of joy. I completely understand the joy of pulling out that fast perfect cake out of the oven and how a very simple recipe could help you do just that. I feel that it's very important to have those go-to recipes that you can trust blindly. For me, this vanilla cake has been one such recipe that I've actually been using since the beginning of my baking journey, and I always keep going back to it and working on different versions using that recipe. Even the three recipe that I shared with you can work more like blueprints that you can alter, basis the flavors that you like, or what you have available to you. Your student project for this class will be to follow my recipe and upload a picture of your dessert on the project section. Don't worry, even if it doesn't turn out perfect, do share a picture, I'd love to see your progress. You'll also find the full list of ingredients and the recipe in the resources section below. Now let's get started. [MUSIC] 3. The Base Vanilla Cake: [MUSIC] We're ready to get started with our base recipe. Our base recipe is a foundation or a simple recipe that you can build upon and level up to create a lot of different desserts. The reason why I wanted to bake this vanilla cake for this course is because it's this base recipe that you can actually play around with, experiment with and build on. It's one of the first cakes that I baked when I started out. It's a super simple recipe using just the staple ingredients which you probably already have in your kitchen. The equipment that I'm using today includes spoons, pastry brush, measuring cups, sieves, spatula, parchment paper, round pan, wooden skewer, glass bowl, measuring spoons, and hand mixer, and an OTG. The ingredients that we need for this recipe include some dahi, which is homemade, curd, or you could use yogurt if you want. I have some vegetable oil here, super fine sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, some all-purpose flour, and baking powder. Starting out, honestly, when I was working on this recipe, there were multiple times when I failed. Sometimes the cake was too dry, sometimes it was too dense. I also ended up burning it a few times. But the recipe that I have now is tried and tested and has worked for me over several years that I've been using it, and I can't wait to share it with you. Let's start making the cake. I'll start by adding the yogurt or the dahi that I have here into my mixing bowl. Into this, I'm going to add the baking soda. Now, using my spoon, I am just going to mix both of these ingredients together, and then we let it sit on the counter for about 5-10 minutes. The reason why I like to start with combining curd and baking soda is because there are no eggs going in this recipe. You'll add the alkaline. Baking soda reacts with the acidic curd, and makes my cake super light and fluffy. Now my curd is becomes super formy and voluminous. Into this, I'm going to add some super fine sugar, which is also called breakfast sugar, or castor sugar, along with some vegetable oil. Whenever you're baking, make sure the oil that you're using is neutral in taste and smell. Don't choose anything which has a very distinctive taste, because that's going to come through when you actually bite into your cake. Now, into this, I'm also going to add some vanilla extract, which is very important. Make sure you're using the best vanilla extract that you can get your hands on. Now, using my hand mixer, I'm going to combine everything together. [NOISE] When my wet ingredients are in this bowl, I am now going to sift in the dry ones. I'm using some maida, which is all-purpose flour, and some baking powder. Now, using a spatula, I'm going to gently fold my dry mix in. It is extremely important to probably digital electric mixer or keep it on extremely low speed, because you don't want to over mix your batter right now. Doing that would knock out all the air that we've incorporated so far and result in a very dense and heavy cake. There you go. Our basic vanilla cake batter is ready. I am now going to transfer it into an 18 circular pan, which I have greased with vegetable oil, using a pastry brush and also lined with parchment paper. Now, the reason why I like to do this in advance is so that my batter doesn't have to sit on the counter after it's ready. The baking powder that we've added into it already start reacting. My butter is ready for the oven. I'll bake this in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees celsius for about 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Now, preheating your oven is extremely important because it's like a warm-up before a good workout. Two things to keep in mind here whenever you're following a recipe, always remember that the time mentioned in that recipe is always indicative. It could take slightly longer or slightly shorter depending on how your hot you oven is or how it works. Make sure you keep an eye on your cake and don't let it burn. The other thing to keep in mind here is to not keep opening your window again and again, because that would disrupt your baking process and could lead your cake to collapse. I know it's extremely difficult to be patient when your cake is in the oven, but I trust you to do your best. [NOISE] My cake is out of the oven, and I've let it cool completely, which is very important because when your cake is hot, it's very delicate and could break easily. Make sure you let it cool down completely before you try to de-mold it. Now, I love my tea cake just as it is, but the easiest and quickest way to elevate the look would be to give it a generous dusting of icing sugar. There you go. Our basic vanilla is ready. Now, we're going to use this recipe, and see what other different fun ways that we can use to level it up. [MUSIC] 4. Upside Down Pineapple Cake: [MUSIC] An upside down pineapple cake is the easiest and simplest way of using this basic backup. It's a classic and I love how just by adding a layer of fruit can add so much freshness and flavor to this cake. In addition to the basic vanilla cake butter, the ingredients that you need for this recipe include, some vegetable oil to grease your pan, a few slices of canned pineapple, and some golden syrup. The first thing that I'm doing is basically greasing the sides of my pan using some oil and a pastry brush. Now in the bottom of my pan, I am going to spread an even layer of the golden syrup. In case you want, you can avoid the golden syrup and use some melted butter and some brown sugar. The reason why I like using golden syrup is because it gives a really nice, an even golden color to my upside down pineapple cake. Next step, I am going to place my canned pineapples slices on the golden syrup. If you want, you can also use thinly sliced fresh pineapples for this recipe. [NOISE] Now all that is left to do is to pour our vanilla cake butter onto the pineapples slices. If you like, you could add in a pinch of cinnamon or some grated [inaudible] for your butter for more flavor. [NOISE] Now, lets just spread our butter into an even layer, [NOISE] and it's now ready for the oven. [NOISE] The pineapple cake is ready and cooled down. Now the fun and the slightly stressful part of flipping it upside down and demolding it. [NOISE] This looks so pretty. I'm still happy with how it's turned out and I'm so glad it didn't break. Honestly, in a worst-case scenario, even if a slice of pineapple or some part of the cake remains stuck to the pan, you can always pull it out and do some patchwork. Nobody needs to know. I had so much fun playing around with the fruit, and now for the next recipe, let's bring out the chocolate. [MUSIC] 5. Chocolate Tres Leches Cake: [MUSIC] Tres Leches cake is the perfect way to level up, and use this basic recipe to make a slightly fancier cake. I've used this recipe to make Tres Leches cakes of several flavors like Ross Malay, and even rows of vanilla, but today I'll be showing you a chocolate Tres Leches cake. For the ingredients, I have half of the vanilla cake butter that we made earlier, along with cocoa powder, some milk, condensed milk, fresh cream, and some whipped cream. I start by making sludgy with hard cocoa powder and some milk. I bombed this milk slightly before adding it in, and now I'm going to give this a quick mix. [NOISE] This looks good. I'm now going to pour this sludgy of cocoa powder and warm milk into our vanilla butter. Using my spatula, I just pour this in. [NOISE] There we go. We have successfully turned our vanilla butter into a chocolate one. I have an eight-inch square pan here which I've greased with oil and lined with parchment paper, leaving a little extra on both sides which would function as handles once I want to lift my baked cake out. Now, let's just transfer the butter into the prepared pan. [NOISE] Let's spread it out into an even layer. [NOISE] This is ready for the oven, I'll be baking it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20-25 minutes. While the cake is baking, let's make the milk mixture. In a jug here, I'm going to combine some whole milk with some condensed milk, this is sweetened condensed milk, and some fresh cream. Into this, I'm also adding some cocoa powder. Using a wickes, let's mix all of this together. [NOISE] This is not a traditional Tres Leches recipe, and I've made a lot of changes to it. I always feel that whenever you are making a disorder using a recipe, you should work with the ingredients that you have and make a join. We can now pour it over our cake which is big and ready. [NOISE] Before I pour the liquid in, I am going to use a fork and ***** the entire surface of my cake so that the milk mixture can seep in easily. Now, let's start pouring the milk mixture in batches, giving the cake enough time to absorb the liquid easily. [NOISE] The reason why I'm adding the liquid in batches, is to give this sponge enough time to absorb the liquid. As soon as you can see the liquid seeping in, you can go ahead and add some more. I'm going to put this in the fridge for at least one hour so that all the liquid can get nicely absorbed. Here's my cake straight out of the fridge, and I'm now going to top it with some whipped cream. I'm just adding a few dollops on top, and then we'll spread it using an offset spatula. The offset spatula basically has a band hood, and this is what will really help me spread out my whip cream very easily. [NOISE] You can serve it as Tres Leches cake as it is but I like to dust it with some cocoa powder, because I feel that when you're serving your desired people consume it with that ice fast, so it's important for your desert to look as good as it tastes. Before even cutting into your cake, you can already tell that it's going to be a chocolaty dessert. There you go. The Tres Leches cake is ready. But here's the tough part, before you dig in, you need to put it back in the fridge for one hour. Let's cut ourselves a slice and serve with the milk mixture that we made earlier. [MUSIC] Perfect. Now, I want to make something decorative without vanilla cake butter, so let's make a batch of notes Pistachio cupcakes. [MUSIC] 6. Rose and Pistachio Cupcakes: Cupcakes are my go-to every time I want to make something cute and Instagrammable. Now there's a million flavors that you can play around with. But I wanted to work with flavor that remind me of my childhood. We are making rose and pistachio cupcakes today. These flavors remind me of all the Indian sweets that I would eat whenever there was a celebration or a festival at home. Besides our vanilla butter, the ingredients that you need for this recipe include some unsalted butter, icing sugar, some food color and kewra extract for defrosting along with pistachio that we use to make of a pistachio paste and rose petals for the garnish. Now the first thing that I'll do is line in my cupcake tray with this paper liners. I'm now going to use an ice cream scoop to scoop my vanilla butter into the cupcake liners. Using an ice cream scoop helps me ensure that I'm adding the exact same quantity into each mold. This looks good, I'll be baking my cupcakes in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, let's make a simple pistachio paste they'd be used to fill out cupcakes. For that, all you need to do is to blend some pistachios in a processor until it forms a nice and smooth paste like this. Now let's make a rose buttercream frosting for our cupcakes, for which the first thing that I need is some softened butter. Into this, I am going to sift in the icing sugar. I'll be adding in the sugar in two batches. Now let's give this a good mix using my hand mixer [NOISE]. This looks nice and smooth, now let's add in the second batch of our icing sugar. Let's mix this in as well [NOISE]. Now, using a spatula, I'm going to scrape the sides and bottom of my board just to ensure that all the icing sugar is nicely incorporated. The base of my buttercream is ready. Now into this I'll be adding in some kewra extract along with a few drops of pink food color. The key to getting the right texture for your frosting is to start with softened butter. If your butter is too cold or hard, you'll get a very lumpy frosting. If you butter is melted or to lose, your frosting will be super sloppy. There you go, our rose buttercream frosting is ready. I'm going to transfer this and the pistachio paste into piping bags and then we can start assembling our cupcakes [NOISE]. My cupcakes are out of the oven. Now I'm going to use a cupcake corer like this one to make a cavity in the center of the cupcakes. In case you don't have a cupcake corer, you could simply use the wider end of a piping nozzle and will fill this cavity with the pistachio paste that we made earlier. [NOISE] Now, I'll frost it using my rose buttercream frosting. Let's decorate it with some dried rose petals. I've gone ahead and frosted a lot of more cupcakes. Cupcakes are always hard to resist, so I can't help but take a bite. This tastes so good. As I said earlier, there is a lot that you can do when it comes to flavors. You could fill the center of your cupcake with cardamom sauce or Nutella or biscoff and do a chocolate ganache frosting on top. Or maybe you could fill the center with a strawberry jam or jelly with the peanut butter frosting. There's actually a lot that you can do, so feel free to play around. I think now it's time for you to leave me alone with my cupcakes and you can go make a batch of your own. Happy baking. [MUSIC] 7. Final Thoughts: [MUSIC] Congratulations, you've completed this class. Don't forget to share your student project in the project section below. If you want to find me, follow me on Instagram @chevy17 and on Bake Chevy on YouTube, and I hope you have a lot of fun in the kitchen trying out these recipes.