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Baking a career
May 23, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Baking a career
By Priyanka Chakrabarti
 
You don't really need a formal degree to bake these gorgeous, fluffy, creamy pieces in ramekins. But there's a big difference between spending a leisurely evening in the kitchen, whipping up your favourite cookie recipe, and spending a strenuous shift in a fast-paced commercial bakery. Meet these zealous ladies who have baked their entreprenuerial instincts and made it big with their creative brains.
 
Ipshita Chakladar
She loved the art of baking as a child, and today, she is a successful baker.

There is much more than just the fondant, icing and woolliness in Ipshita Chakladar's bakery products. Be it cupcakes or a grand wedding cake, every product narrates a story.

Having started baking since the age of 11, today she creates incredibly fascinating cakes from her own kitchen for all occasions and is much appreciated. She learnt the art of baking from her mother. "When it comes to marketing, I totally rely on word-ofmouth publicity. However, I feel that social networking sites are also great marketing tools,"
says Chakladar who runs her very own bakery Cakes Mamma Bakes in New Delhi. Her packaging is simple yet elegant. The focus is more on the product, so the boxes come with pretty windows allowing you to peep into the products. However, she is open to customising the boxes if the client makes a special request for it.
 
According to her, baking is not a profit making venture in the first couple of years, but if you can survive the initial phase and carve out a niche then it can mint moolah eventually. Chakladar imports all her raw materials, except for the flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Speaking about preservation, she says, "Baked goods are at their best when eaten fresh. The shelf life really depends on the product. A cookie will stay for a week but a brownie needs to be eaten within three days so that it doesn't dry up." Taking about the latest trends in the baking sector, the 40-year-old says, "The trend revolves around flavours, especially salted caramel and lavender; designs like layer cakes, which look simple outside till you cut them to see a burst of colours, and hidden hearts. Balls inside the cakes are also in demand. However, I feel that straight lines and classy looks are the thing but then there is a slight hint of vintage look too. Doughnuts, cupcakes and mini eclairs are so much in demand these days."
 
Chakladar adds that initially, the baking industry lacked women bakers but now the scenario has drastically changed with women making the best of their culinary skills and coming out of their home kitchen to showcase their talents on a bigger platform.
 
When it comes to marketing, I rely on word of- mouth publicity. However, now I feel that social networking sites are great marketing tools.
 
Yeshi Chaudhary
Passionate about baking, she takes time off her parallel career to make and sell cakes.

Working in a digital marketing agency, this 26-year-old loves baking. And she manages both effortlessly. Although Yeshi Chaudhary mastered the art when she was in grade four, she took baking seriously only a couple of years ago. Throughout the week she goes for her job and uses her time at home to try out new recipes. At present she is only baking out of her home kitchen, and sells cakes in her friends' circle. However, she wants to make it big in another year's time. She also posts her recipes on her blog – mybutterhalf.com.


"When I think of cupcakes, I think of the word 'glamorous'. They are simple, bite-sized, with countless flavours and decorations. These can be easily made at home. You can create characters, play with the icing and of course tell a story too," she says animatedly.
 
Chaudhary feels that during the initial setup of a bakery, the biggest challenges are those of obtaining a countless number of licenses and then getting the right kind of publicity. "But with the booming of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube, life has become so much easier. Of course, one should know how to leverage these platforms well," she quips.
 
This Mumbaikar feels that the baking industry is a profit-making venture and is extremely satisfactory one too. "Every product out of the oven is like a baby – gorgeous and precious. One just needs a kitchen, a commercial oven, refrigerator, a storage container and around Rs 3–4 lakhs to get started on a small-scale basis," she adds. She loves making red velvet cupcakes, cinnamon rolls and vanilla Bavarian cream.
 
"Baking is art blended with science. You need to know the right amount of ingredients, the proper techniques to fold the batter, the right timing, et cetera, so that they taste as well as look nice. After all, at the end of the day people eat with their eyes first," she smiles. Speaking of packaging, Chaudhary says, "Packaging should be fancy, chic and intelligent because the products are extremely delicate. One has to make sure the frostings and decorations don't get spoiled."
 
Baking is art blended with science. You need to know the right amount of ingredients, the proper techniques to fold the batter, et cetera, so that they taste as well as look nice.
 
Charu Nanda
She feels there has been a paradigm shift towards seeing baking as a serious career.

Working out of Delhi, Charu Nanda bakes astoundingly delicious cakes from her home kitchen, assisted by her daughters, Simran and Bani. "With the dawning of the coffee shop culture, the baking industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. Earlier, to enjoy a red velvet cupcake, one had to visit a coffee shop of a five-star hotel, but now there are so many bakeries mushrooming at every nook and corner of the city. For the past two or three years, people have been opening up to experimentation and trying out newer things. Cakes are getting quirkier. A few years ago, by 'cake' one meant just pineapple, chocolate or black forest.
But today there are so many variations, be it strawberry cake, carrot cake or mango with cinnamon, apple, baked walnut and so much more. Also, cupcakes are much loved, especially by youngsters," shares the 49-year-old.
 
Nanda started baking commercially two years ago. "My marketing tools have been social networking sites, cake tasting parties and word of mouth. Also, I sent bulk SMSs every 15 to 30 days, introducing products," she avers.
 
Nanda's forte is dry cakes as she is completely against fondant. According to her, to set up a small-scale bakery one needs to have a good oven, proper baking equipment such as mixers, and packaging products – an average investment of Rs 2 lakhs.
 
Nanda's only exposure to professional baking roots back to her college days, when she interned with the Oberoi Hotels in the bakery department. "Those 15 days of internship helped me a lot and I still cherish those days," she recalls. According to her, during those days, baking was looked down upon as a career option. However, things have changed now. "Youngsters today are happily opting for baking and cooking as a full-time career. In fact, my elder daughter Bani is currently pursuing baking as a career from Paris. She is living my dream. Being a physics graduate, Bani realised how passionate she is about baking beautiful and delicious cakes. She is also very specific when it comes to presentation and packaging," signs off the proud mother.
 
For the past few years people have been trying newer things. Cakes are getting quirkier. A few years ago, by 'cake' one meant just pineapple, chocolate or black forest. But now there's more.

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