Taskeen Zahra spends the day with the talent behind Cakery Bakery to talk all things kitchen confidential:
When did you first become passionate about baking?
My sisters had been baking for as long as I can remember, so I’ve always been passionate about baking. Even at a young age, I would love helping them in the kitchen!
What is your earliest memory with baking?
Not a very good one, haha. Burning brownies, and that too, twice in a row.
What was the first really eye-catching cake that you made?
The Cookie Pizza and the Ferrero Rocher Cake for sure.
Where did the name Cakery Bakery come from?
I wanted to keep something simple that defines exactly what we do, so this fit.
How do you get new and different ideas for each of your cakes?
The liberation of home baking is that you can come up with something on the spot with anything you have lying around in the kitchen or with anything that inspires you. I love challenging myself, which gives me the drive to create new cakes. Honestly, that’s where my comfort and happiness lies. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do sketch out ideas about what I’d like to make, depending on where my inspiration comes from, and honestly it can be from the simplest of things, like maybe the marbled floor, or the texture of a tree trunk even.
There are so many bakers and bakeries around town. What sets the Cakery Bakery apart from others?
Being a hardcore perfectionist at heart! We believe in finesse, quality over quantity, attention to detail and the passion to innovate.
What do you specialize in? Is Cakery Bakery only limited to cakes and desserts?
We specialise in cakes and desserts, but we also do savouries and dessert tables.
What does youR typical day look like?
It’s full of cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and throw in some cookies as well, haha! Waking up early and finishing off late is a given. I do have a life outside my work though. I manage my time accordingly to spend some quality time with my family and friends, swim, and if I’m lucky, I get some alone time as well.
What has surprised you about business ownership?
It’s not as easy as people think it is. It’s constant hard work, you need to be continuously motivated to do what you love and to make sure everything is going perfectly. To be honest, managing, baking and creating new desserts all at once can be pretty overwhelming at times.
What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
I’m a control freak at heart so needless to say the most obvious and rewarding thing about owning a business is that I can do everything my way. From designing the boxes and menus to making sure people are replied to on time to being a part time photographer on top of it all. Also, the luxury of being my own boss means taking time off whenever I want to and for as long as I want to. It comes down to doing everything myself and enjoying every bit of it. It’s really as rewarding as it sounds – especially when you get appreciated for all the little things.
What are a few unique recipes you’ve created?
There are quite a few, from trifles to ice creams, and also pies! I love playing around with different ingredients and coming up with something that has different textures, complementing flavours and a perfect balance overall.
What are some of your favourites and how about the customer’s favourites?
My favourites would have to be my good ol’ Red Velvet Cake or Warm Croissant Bread Pudding with Vanilla ice cream, and of course, my classic Tiramisu. The customers’ favourites are too many to name but a few would have to be my Brownie Trifles, Mini Cakes, and Banana Bread.
How long does it take to complete an order?
It entirely depends on what is ordered. A Cookie Dough Cheesecake takes two days whereas a Brownie Trifle, the Mini Cakes or Cheesecakes take an entire day, and something simpler like the brownies or cookies take just a few hours.
Can you describe your worst baking disaster?
I’ve had tons! The worst would have to be when I made caramel for the first time. It was such a terrible mess – there was burnt caramel stuck everywhere! From the pan, to the stove, to my wall and even the floor. You can’t imagine what a nightmare it was to get it cleaned up.
What’s the most unusual or outrageous request or order you’ve had from a customer?
I’ve been asked if I can ship a cake to Canada and India, haha.
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with a cupcake?
Making Banoffee Cupcakes and Tiramisu Cupcakes as an experiment and boy oh boy, did they turn out good! They were very time consuming but totally worth the effort. I might just make them a part of my menu.
How often do you eat your own baked goods?
Every. Single. Day. It’s hard keeping me away from anything that has sugar in it.
What is the best way to repair a cracked cake? You know, like when you flip it out of the pan and some of it decides to stay in? Asking for a friend…
Frost it up! Use a generous amount of frosting to repair it. But make sure your frosting isn’t too thick, or it can break the cake apart even more while you’re trying to repair it.
When did you start sharing your cake creations on social media and what has that experience been like?
It’s been about five years now. The experience has been overwhelming and extremely rewarding. I can’t thank my followers enough for all the love and regular messages of appreciation. It truly keeps me going.
What’s been your favourite cake, ever?
Red Velvet (of course), Carrot or a classic Victorian strawberries and cream cake are a few of my favourite flavours. I can’t just pick one!
What’s the most unusual tool that you find really handy in your baking?
Wooden skewers, for sure. They are absolute lifesavers.
What are the biggest tips you have for new bakers?
Firstly, be unapologetically yourself about anything that you create, after all it is all a learning process. You should make things that define you and your style of baking. Like for me, it’s all about comfort desserts, vibrant colours and anything floral. Secondly, create and innovate for as long as you live. It’s an exercise to keep your mind healthy and helps you to project your energy in a positive way. And lastly, don’t start a business simply to make profit. Start it because of the love you have for baking and making others happy. And of course, always be open to criticism. Bake with passion, and I promise, it will add a whole lot more flavour to your creations.