Operating primarily from their ordinary kitchens at home, the pandemic did much in the way of steering some home chefs into the limelight. Today, they are some of the city’s favourite home bakers, whipping up delightful cakes with beautiful customisations that are not only a treat for the taste buds but also for the eyes! From Harry Potter cakes to cupcake bouquets, if you can dream it, you can be sure that these bakers can make it.
Pies and Fries (Udita)
Debolina Datta started her home baking journey in October last year, with Big Bake Theory. However, owing to an increasing demand for savouries alongside her cakes and brownies, she decided to merge her business with that of an old friend, Anubhab Ganguly. The two formed Pies and Fries.
Well-loved among customers for its double fudge brownies and mini burritos, Debolina tells me that they often do pop-up menus which are very popular, sometimes bringing in as many as 23-24 orders a day. “The egg-devil and the fish fry are also favourites,” she notes, “because unlike others in the market, we use Japanese breadcrumbs for all our fried products.” They boast a wide range of dishes, spreading across Continental, Mughlai and Bengali cuisines. That apart, they also have specially-curated menus for festivals and other occasions.
Despite launching her business in the middle of the pandemic, orders came pouring in, probably because people were less willing to order in from outside as they used to, and trusted the hygiene and quality of homemade food as opposed to restaurants. “While people were hosting small gatherings last year, they have been more hesitant to order during the second wave,” observes Debolina.
Since Pies and Fries operates completely from home, they recommend placing orders at least 8 to 10 hours prior to delivery. They cater to customers both inside and outside the Udita complex, and one can place their order via DMs on their official Instagram handle. That apart, they also accept orders via Whatsapp or calls on the numbers listed on their page.
Magic Bakes and Cakes (Urbana)
“My sister often used to bake for friends and family and while she did not do it professionally, she was a very good baker,” recalls Purba Bhattacharyya, as she tells me about her inspiration to start a home bakery. A former chartered accountant, she realised she never wanted to go back to her old nine-to-five job, and instead chose to pursue her passion because it gave her the opportunity to engage in something creative.
From plain muffins to desserts and celebration cakes, there is a wide assortment of items one can order from here. She also accepts orders for cakes which can be eggless, sugar-free, gluten-free, and other healthy bakes made without refined flour and refined sugar. As a matter of fact, so popular are her cakes, that last Christmas she shipped out orders to Delhi and Bangalore.
Purba notes that there are two reasons for home bakers to be doing well now. “One is hygiene. But the other also has a lot to do with convenience, because this way, people don’t have to step out and go to a shop for their orders,” she explains.
Some of her most popular cakes from the menu include Tiramisu, Chocolate Truffle and the delectable Lemon Cake with lemon glaze. “Every packaging for every delivery is customized because I put a lot of stress on the proper packing of my products,” notes Purba.
While she enjoys baking because of the creative freedom it allows, Purba hopes to be able to venture into savouries as well. She wants to get things organised in time for an online store, with an even more extensive dessert menu and the resources to process more orders on a daily basis.
Sweta’s Bakes (Hiland Park)
For Sweta Kumar, cooking has never been a profession. It has always been a passion. “My mom never used to let me enter the kitchen,” she laughs, “So, whenever she went grocery shopping, I seized the opportunity, entered the kitchen and did whatever I wanted.”
When Sweta moved to Kolkata from Mumbai about 15 years ago, owning a home bakery was not on her mind. After having some of her delicious treats at parties and get-togethers, it was her friends who encouraged her to start this venture. Today, she gets as many as 7-8 orders on any average week, with numbers significantly shooting up during festive seasons.
For Sweta however, quality is more important than quantity. “I don’t accept more than 2 orders per day, because I want to make them perfect and give each order my best, even if it is a simple mango cake.” While she offers a wide variety of cakes and customisations to go with them, simple fruit cakes and chocolate ganache cakes are easily her best sellers.
Sweta was also actively engaged in taking cooking workshops, but with the pandemic setting in, she improvised, and decided to start a YouTube channel for her recipes. With over 14.5k subscribers, her channel is now a one-stop solution for your recipe requirements. Be it pinwheel samosas or cranberry raisin scones, her channel has it all! She loves sharing her recipes with the world and encourages people to try new dishes at home because she believes nothing quite matches up to the magic of ‘mummy ke haath ka khana’.
While Sweta is currently only accepting orders, within her complex residency, she plans to upscale once the covid situation is slightly under control.
So, if you’re tired of your own limited repertoire, put away that saucepan and order in something safe and scrumptious!