Bangalore now has a new class of entrepreneurs – popularly called ‘cake’preneurs – who bake out of their family kitchens. They cater to a niche but growing market, people who don’t mind paying extra rupees for exotic flavours, reports The Times of India.
Most of these entrepreneurs are women, who have converted their passion into business. In addition to cakes, some bakers also bake other goodies like quiches, chocolates and breads.
These home bakers are churning out new and unique flavours like Red Velvet Cupcakes and Whoopie Pies, which were all the rage in Europe in 2011. More and more Bangaloreans are choosing these gourmet cakes over ordinary ones when it comes to celebrating special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
It is interesting to note that these cakes come at a premium price – almost double the amount that an ordinary cake shop charges. The starting rate for a kg. (in such a context always spell it as ‘kilo’) of gourmet cake can be as high as Rs. 1000-1200.
A Bangalore resident, Lakshmi Nambiar, ordered a peach and lychee cake for her son’s birthday party, which left her wallet lighter by nearly four thousand. She was, however, happy to pay the extra money as the cake as the occasion was special.
“These people have such great range that you are spoilt for choice. You get flavours that you don’t get in your neighbourhood cake shop. Besides, a home-baked cake tastes completely different from what you buy from shops: the texture and feel is really natural, ” quips Nambiar.
The trend of ‘cake’preneurs emerged four or five years ago, when some young women – some barely in their 20s – started giving a twist to their family recipes, to cater to the increasingly specialized demands of the public. These included chocolates and cakes with fillings as exquisite as whisky and champagne to cinnamon and walnut. This trend has gone on to become a fashion today.
Many of these ‘cake’preneurs initially pursued baking as a hobby, later giving up plush corporate jobs or the life of housewives to make a career out of their passion.
Karishma Chandani is one of these ‘cake’preneurs in Bangalore. She loves baking, and decided to make her passion her business by creating a label called ‘Cookies’.
Rahila Rauf is another such baker, who started her business 10 years ago from the basement of her house, later expanding to a shop in Frazer Town. Cupcakes are the favourite type of cake of this entrepreneur.
She believes that cupcakes are all the rage not only in Bangalore, but in foreign countries as well. ‘I travel out of India a lot. I see it wherever I go: cupcakes are hugely popular, just like in Bangalore. It's what everybody wants, and it is my specialty too. It is not a phase, cupcakes are here to stay.’
Zaheena Nasser started baking professionally a year ago, after initially doing it just for her family, and because she loved doing it. She now sells under the label of Divine Deserts, Caramel Squares being her specialty.
Suman Gandhi, a former HR professional, became a ‘cake’preneur in 2010. Coming from a business-oriented background, she always wanted to get out of the nine-to-five rut and start something of her own. About two years ago, she traveled to New York, where she took up a baking course, shortly after which she returned to India to start her own range of cakes. She now specializes in making Whoopie Pies.
‘Cake’preneurship has helped these women do their best, because it combines passion as well as the benefit of flexible timings and working for oneself. That said, baking is also a highly competitive line, where the women need to constantly upgrade their skills and gain awareness about market trends. Chandani, for instance, takes baking courses every year in places like Mumbai, Singapore and Dubai, to keep herself updated with market developments.
The hard work does pay off, though. Chandani says that she has never advertised, and has always depended on word of mouth to keep her business running. “When you’ve given someone a great product, the taste not only stays with them, but they also want to pass it around,” she quips.
A yummy business trend, don’t you think?