Among the women who pursue contrasting professions is Anjana Lath — she worked as an investment banker but something told her that her heart and passion truly lie in baking. Currently, this banker-turned-mom-turned-baker along with three other women, Anuradha Kambi, Sonali Mitra and Rima Chakraborty, runs an online platform for home-bakers of all levels to learn, be inspired and share their enthusiasm for baking.
“Home Bakers.co.in is our tiny step into giving all cake lovers a common platform to get to know each other, develop a bond and grow mutually. To facilitate this, our platform also allows cake lovers to purchase goodies from home bakers,” explained Sonali. The group had organised an event called The Great Chennai Bake Show in the city on Saturday and it saw baking material suppliers, home bakers, and expert chefs come together under one roof.
While it created the ideal setting for home bakers to network amongst each other and with professionals in the field, it also saw events such as demonstrations, a panel discussion, masterclasses and a cake competition. There were six broad categories for the contest, namely healthy bakes (muffins and cookies), Chennai’s best loaf (bread and buns), signatory cake in a rustic theme, intermediate non-fondant cakes for occasions, intermediate fondant cakes for general celebrations and advanced cakes with fondant based on a theme, which was Tamil Nadu.
In the advanced category, the first prize was secured by Rinky Kothari, a cake artist who runs The Frost Goddess. “My cake was in the shape of a Bharatanatyam dancer and was approximately 3.5 feet tall. I faced a lot of challenges and even failed four times in the process but I’m happy I won. The toughest part was making the dress and I spent almost eight days getting it right,” she said.
Nausheen bagged first place in the signatory cake in a rustic theme category. The elaborate cake had a healthy twist to it, which won the young baker extra brownie points (pun unintended). Explaining about her creation, she said, “I made a coconut cake that had a layer of green apple and spinach. I wanted to try something different because my mother’s anemic and the doctor recommended that she eats leafy and green vegetables. So, I dedicate this creation to her.” To balance the sweetness of the cake, she added a layer of lemon curd too.
The winners were given gift hampers from some of the baking material suppliers present. They were in for a real treat as they walked away with bars of the finest quality chocolate, crunchy nuts, different flavours and essences. One of the sellers, Sulakshan Parameswaran, caught up with us during the event. “My family has been into the business of flavours and essences for the past 20 years. We were initially a B-2-B company but through our baby brand Ossoro, we have brought out a line of retail flavours and essences that could help home bakers, smaller cafes and so on,” he shares.
Their proposition is to make concentrates of unique and exotic flavours and not the standard vanilla, strawberry or mango. He explains, “We have exotic flavours such as boondi laddu, carrot halwa, maple candy and more, which can be included in anything such as pastries, coffee and even lip balms, soaps and candles.” Their products are a mixture of natural and nature-identical or artificial elements.
After being judged, many of the cakes were distributed to the event’s charity partners, Robin Hood Army, an organisation that works to reach surplus food from restaurants to the less-fortunate sections of society.