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22 Oct 2021, Edition - 2292, Friday

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Coimbatore

Baker Rekha’s healthy choices are the icing on the cake

Covai Post Network

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Rekha Raveendran is an ardent baker whose multi-grain cakes are as delicious as her cream cheese creations.

Rekha Raveendran bakes cakes, and they come in all shapes and flavours you could probably think of and, most importantly, offers an array of healthy options that seem to be just as tasty and flavourful as vouched for by her growing list of cake connoisseurs.

Though round-, square- and heart-shaped baked delicacies are a big part of her line-up, Rekha’s 2D and 3D creations are the proverbial cherry on the cake.

For Coimbatore-based Rekha, cake is an unbeatable expression of love, and still tops the gift list to commemorate special occasions. “I discuss the cake with my customers and get to know their preferences, expectations and thoughts before I design my cake.”

These personalised cakes could be a silk sari topped with ‘cakey’ gold jewellery that is dedicated to a mother on her birthday; a contemporary Among Us (online game) cake or popular animal characters gathering in a ‘buttercream’ garden.

“Cakes are a symbol of celebration and no one should be left out of this,” says this owner of Crazy Cakes.

With this business philosophy guiding her, Rekha embarked on a journey to satiate “an appetite for healthy alternatives”.

“I replaced the all-purpose flour (maida) with sathu maavu (multigrain flour) and sweetened the cake mixture with carrot and raisins,” she said.

Rekha ‘whisked’ a combination of innovative techniques to acquire the ‘zing’ in the ‘sugar-free-maida-free’cake mixture, and the results were remarkable.

“Some of my regular customers are extremely health conscious and have nurtured a culture of healthy choices in their diet even for their young children,” Rekha said, which according to her was “a strong reason to go big on the healthy cake options.”

Even her regular cakes are free of preservatives and essence. “I use fresh, seasonal fruit purees in my cake, like orange, mango and strawberry,” she says, adding, it is her homemade butterscotch sauce that is folded into the one of the most popular creations.
Fusion cakes are trending at Crazy Cakes. India’s most popular flavours like rasamalai, gulab jamun and paan are taking the form of cakes. “These are fast moving cakes,” says Rekha whose home bakery is kitted out with a mechanical hand-beater and two automatic cake makers.

Rekha grew up smelling freshly baked cakes in her house, and started baking from when she was in class six. “My mother baked cakes and we grew up tucking in her butter cakes, rosemilk-flavoured, pleasant tea cakes – something we still haven’t grown out of.”

“I love cooking, and after winning a cookery competition when I was in class 10, my urge to bake cakes grew stronger,” says Rekha, and “while I was in class 12, I was dreaming of becoming a baker.”

Something that sparked my desire was a hoarding that advertised a baker making plum cakes, Rekha recounted how her passion to make cakes grew.

Rekha perfected her baking skills by taking up courses. She has been certified a professional baker by Craft Bakers and food processing specialist by the government’s Food Industry Capacity & Skill Initiative (FICST).

I improvised the techniques I learned and followed my instincts in baking, says Rekha, whose business model is driven by a passion to further develop the craft, spread the goodness of this delicacy, and expand the class of cake connoisseurs.

Rekha, whose business has been expanding by word of mouth, plans to start a bakery outlet very soon. “I wish to give more visibility to the cakes I make.”

I’m planning to run the outlet with the help of single mothers and transgender members, especially, says Rekha.

This baker works round the clock during the Christmas and New Year season. “I take bulk orders, and end up baking at least 20 plum cakes.” These cakes are available round the year, as she has to simply reach out for the jar of soaked dry fruits to make them.

A member of the Champion Chapter of BNI, Rekha says the organisation empowered her endeavour as a businesswoman.

“BNI was a big platform to share fresh ideas, interact with like-minded people, and where we can learn to sell our products.”

Rekha bakes cakes from scratch – an idea that is carved on a cake base that is filled with fresh fruits, chocolate mousse or cream cheese, topped with chocolate ganache, sprinklers or nuts or decorated with popular cake toppers – figurines sculpted out of diligently made fondant.

“I make the fondant (sugar paste of a distinct texture) and the gel colours that go with it at home,” says Rekha, as against store-bought items.

She is supported in her venture by her family. Her son, Rithul, who is the business head of a corporate organisation, spares his free time to help his mother manage the marketing and online business of Crazy Cakes. Her daughter, Malavika, who is planning to pursue home design studies after school, and a baking enthusiast herself, assists her mother with baking.

“My husband and my children are my biggest support, and my daughter is a saviour,” says Rekha, recalling how on many occasions, Malavika saved the day for her by completing her baking orders or sometimes even doing it from scratch. And there are no surprises there!

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