It’s made up of fat and sugar. It has a zilch nutritional value. It is very high in calories. It isn’t even represented in the Healthy Eating Pyramid. But wait….. it is also the king of Desserts. And it is a mark of joy and celebration. What is it? You guessed it. It’s a CAKE.
You cant buy happiness, but you can buy cake, and that’s kind of the same thing.
What’s a birthday without a cake.. the singing of the happy birthday song by the friends and family… the cake cutting ceremony to make the birthday person merry… Oh! Brings back the childhood memories.
When I was really young, going to a party thrilled a lot because it was so much fun and good food and no studies. But birthdays were even more special because it was so much fun and good food and no studies…. and the icing on cake was The Cake itself. Just had to get dressed and carry a gift for the birthday person and that was easy. Unlike today, back then, we didn’t get cakes whenever we felt like it. Cake was a rare treat reserved for special occasions only. Even today in India, people living in villages don’t celebrate birthdays or anniversaries but people in bigger towns and cities do in a similar way that is done in western countries.
Cake – a food of celebration!
Do you know there are so many varieties of cakes? It’s amazing! The most popular ones I can think of are pineapple-upside-down, bombe Alaska, carrot cake, chocolate truffle, rum cake, angel food cake, hummingbird cake, chocolate lava cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes and cake pops.
But wait, my niece, Anuya who is into baking fancy-schmancy cakes says, “these are quite run-of-the-mill basic cakes. People’s perception of cakes and desserts has changed greatly and they favour high-end, high-quality specialty theme based cakes that they can’t find at the local bakery. So the important thing is that the cakes must not only be delicious, but also creative, and have the magical power, which can not only satisfy people’s appetite, but also make people happy!”
In her cake studio OUT-OF-THE-BOX, Anuya bakes creative and customised classic cakes with new flavours, colors and shapes for weddings, birthdays, engagements, anniversaries and corporate soirees. These magazine-worthy baking delights range from designer cakes, theme cakes, cake pops, cakesicles to cookies. Her cakes-in-motion add a bit more imagination to the classics… you’ll love them.
“I have a passion for baking. For me, it’s more than just a culinary endeavour. You know, my first attempt at a cake was in my early teens! I remember how I used to tag along with my mother for baking classes and since she was a working woman and forever hard pressed for time, I ended up doing most of the baking. And, I loved every moment of it. That’s when I discovered my love for baking. Even today, I find baking creative, inspirational and therapeutic.”
Everything she does, she does it with passion, I can say that much about Anuya. Be it greeting and delivering exceptional customer service as an air hostess or handling familial responsibilities with love and appreciation while juggling work, friends and beloved ones, or creating murals with diligence, transforming each one into a piece of art, or making perfect candy bouquets as a delicious alternative to flowers. So, I’m not surprised. But there’s also one more thing. She is a lovable person and you know what they say – baking is love made visible!
What are your most-liked cakes?"I love doing cakes-in-motion as it gives me a sense of achievement.”
"Before I opened my cake studio OUT-OF-THE-BOX three years ago, I did a professional course to enhance my baking and pastry fundamentals with more specialized areas such as baking artisan breads, creating and decorating cakes, exploring molecular gastronomy and learning to create signature desserts.”
"After that, I started taking orders for designer and theme cakes; mostly eggless varieties (eggless cakes taste equally good). You’ll see some of my customised cakes in a variety of themes like Paithani saree, kolhapuri jewellery, pearl jewellery, purse, beer mug, jeans, guitar, soccer play, pizza, wada-paav, fish etc. Sharing a few mehndi favours and Christmas favours."
"But, I love doing cakes-in-motion the most, as it gives me a sense of achievement. And, I get to experiment with different combinations as I perfect the creation. Imagine a working beer-barrel cake filled with edible beer inside setting the right mood for beer lovers at a celebration party.. OR a racetrack cake with moving chocolate race cars, frosting grass and racetrack, perfect for a race-watching party or a car lover’s birthday.. OR then, a magical carousel cake with merry-go-round, elegant horses and shimmering golds – perfect for a carousel birthday party. So exquisite! Of course it takes a lot of planning, trial and error and it’s all a learning experience. But the outcome is extraordinary and satisfying.”
“Pat-a-cake pat-a-cake bakers man, bake me a cake as fast as you can” is fast giving way to “one two - what shall we do, three four - measure and pour, five six - whisk and mix, seven eight - bake the cake” in these DIY times. Besides, people are more inclined to baking from their homes post-covid. I’ll say baking is easy. Anybody can do it. Growing up, my favourite part about baking was licking the spatula, covered in cake batter. That still stands to this day.
Anuya, any advice for beginners? "Learners are usually unsure where to start, so as a baker my advice for them is to first read books and scour the internet for some basic recipes and to gain understanding of concepts of baking. But i think doing a short baking course for hands-on experience of how things are done from scratch. For those who are on their way to baking greatness, it’s always good to upgrade your knowledge and skills. I do it myself whenever I can. Actually I find time from my schedule to do a crash course or two from international baking schools and travel especially to learn new ideas and trends in cake-o-nomics."
A video of moving car cake display @ CAKEOLOGY, Mumbai.
“Quite recently, I have starting using Indian color additives and flavors in my baking. It’s nothing much, but I think I am getting into the atmanirbharta mode already and I feel good about it.”is what she told me when I asked her about her thoughts on self-reliance.
Anuya has shared a quick Chocolate Cupcake recipe for Gin n Sardonic fans. So even if your aim isn't to be an expert baker, learning a few tricks can still be worthwhile during COVID moments when boredom strikes.
Happiness is knowing there is a cake in the oven!
“If you are a baking enthusiast, you can approach me for learning on a one-on-one basis. My studio, Out-of-the-box is a professional setup fully equipped with everything from rolling pins and pastry brushes, to piping bags and spatulas – plenty to help you to hone your skill of baking.”
If you wish to get in touch with Anuya, or place an order, you can either call her or whatsapp her on +91 982 009 2092 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org