Entrees are for the belly, desserts are for the heart! And in the age of Instagram, every macaron on your feed wants to grab your eyeballs.
Gone are those days when a simple frosting did the job. Quirky, themed cakes are on everyone’s mind and for self-taught or experimental bakers, themed, trending or narrative-driven cakes are a great way to show off their skills. It gives them room to play around with texture, flavours and finish, and also earns them a place on their clients’ social media feed.
Kolkata’s home bakers are rustling up some of the most creative customisations in buttercream, fondant and ganache. From fan-fiction cakes to bachelorette cupcakes and even themed bento series, Kolkata’s bakers are doing it all. Here are five labels that you need to know about:
Sugar Story by Swati
Swati Arora’s label Sugar Story is less than five years old, but her gorgeous themed cakes score top marks. Arora, 33, started baking professionally in 2012 after she quit her job at a direct sales agency and started her label a few years later.
“It started out as a hobby. After my son was born, I started baking healthy cupcakes for him, something which he and his Montessori friends relished. The other moms encouraged me to take this forward and pursue it professionally,” says Arora.
Sugar Story specialises in buttercream cakes, but Arora’s chocolate ganache creations are also one-of-a-kind. One of her most coveted numbers is the Starry Night cake which features a buttercream recreation of the Van Gogh painting on a chocolate and caramel sea salt base.
Arora also creates unique cupcake bouquets and bento cakes that are great for gifting. The baker tells us that she has a knack for exploring flavours, be it chocolate praline, chilli chocolate brandy, or wholewheat banana with pure chocolate ganache. Her quirkiest themed bakes are the two-tiered Boss Baby cake and a popcorn tub cake.
If you think a theme is impossible to depict on a cake, Khyati Jhajharia is here to prove you wrong. Be it a calendar cake, a law and order cake or a Friends-themed number, the baker can design any theme on a sponge. The 28-year-old Jhajharia was a company secretary student when she started her brand, Frosted Delight. At the moment, the Salt Lake-based kitchen is known for handmade fondant, buttercream and ganache cakes.
The baker shares that eggless desserts are some of her top-sellers, while chocolate-based Biscoff desserts are also a trending big with Kolkatans. Peppa Pig and jungle-themed cakes do incredibly well for kids’ birthday parties.
“I’m a self-taught baker and I like experimenting so I’m really proud of all my experimental creations, especially my first chandelier cake. Until I made it, I was extremely nervous and couldn't sleep that night,” shares Jhajharia.
Suchi Dutta, 30, started baking on her induction cooker one random weekend while she still had a corporate job.
Suchi specialises in semi-fondant cakes with customisations in whipped cream, ganache and buttercream. Some of her best toppings are her macarons which add a pop of bright colour and textural contrast to the creamy cakes. Her bachelorette-themed bakes are her quirkiest creations, along with the bride and groom cupcakes and a 16-year-old BTS fan’s fantasy wedding cake featuring Jungkook!
“I take a lot of pride in creating simple cakes. I see a lot of appeal in something that’s simple but aesthetic. Sometimes a lot of effort goes into making a cake look simplistic,” says Suchi.
Her personal recommendations? The chocolate overload cake with macarons and the coffee-toffee flavoured cakes, which are a mix of coffee and a brown caramel sauce.
Sreya Basu jumped right from a corporate job to professional baking in 2014 with her brand, Melodrama, based in Jodhpur Park.
Melodrama specialises in elaborate and intricate fondant-based artwork. Some of her most audacious designs are featured in the money tower cake, the cubic Mughal-themed engagement cake and the limited edition Game of Thrones-themed Johnnie Walker bottle recreated as a cake.
“For children, it’s almost always Elsa-themed cakes. Floral-themed cakes are very popular with adults,” said Basu. For complex floral work, the baker relies on handmade sugar flowers that taste as delicious as they look.
She is proud of her Frida Kahlo cake which is nothing short of edible art. Although her Venom cake too features some prolific handiwork.
Land of Cakes
Megha Sarayan started her label Land of Cakes in 2018 while she was still a student of economics. Now she has two cloud bakeries, one in Chinar Park and the other in Central Kolkata.
This bakery specialises in whipped cream customisations but the baker also creates cakes with fondant and buttercream as per the client’s demands. The most loved flavours from her kitchen are the chocolate Biscoff and blueberry black currant which she can incorporate into any dessert.
Sarayan reveals that eggless desserts are her top sellers. Last year her baker created the brownie piñata cake which was the first of its kind! Another design marvel? Her no-fondant motichoor rabri cake!
To know about more home bakers, click here: