Santula Shrivastava was in the media industry for 8 years before she ventured into baking. She has been supported by her parents and husband for her baking journey.
- Hi Santula, welcome to the interview session of Annie’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.
Hi! Thank you for the warm welcome. It’s such an honor for me to be featured in Annie’s Blog. I am Santula Shrivastava, Mother of 2 lovely kids and founder as well as cake artist of ‘I Dream of Cake’ where I bake homemade customized cakes. Prior to my career as a professional baker I had 8 years of experience in media.
2. How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?
My husband is a foodie with an unmistakable bias towards cakes and dessert. It was he who encouraged me to try my hand at baking. Little did I know back then that my fascination towards cakes would someday turn out to become my identity. I was 15 years old when I baked my first cake but that was a complete disaster.
3. How was your first baking experience?
At the age of 15 during summer vacation I attempted to bake for the first time to surprise my family members. However it turned out to be a complete disaster. The output was a solid inedible stuff although it was disappointing but I didn’t lose hope.
4. How did you learn baking?
I have never had a full fledged baking course but yes it all started when I took introductory class from renowned home baker. I just watch lots of tutorials online, browse to get inspiration and practice more.
I am a perfectionist so I get down to the minutest detail of cake decorating until I am satisfied. But when I see the joy on my clients face specially kids it is worth all the pain and effort.
5. When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?
I never had any plans of becoming a professional baker. I just continued baking and tried out ton of recipes and developed my very own recipes. I started off in mid 2016 to bake for friends and when I was confident about my work, I launched my Facebook page ‘I dream of cake’ from then on there is no looking back and with each passing day I seem to be getting deeper and deeper into it.
I am a person who needs constant creativity to keep me going. I love that no two days are the same and the feeling of waking up to do what I enjoy the most is just inspiring.
6. Please tell us about your baking company ‘I Dream of Cake’
It has been a dream come true for me. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
I Dream of Cake is a home based bakery in Kolkata which I run single-handedly. At ‘I dream of cake’ I bake everything from scratch and I do not use any kind of preservatives etc. Ex: For orange flavor I use natural orange peel and for strawberry flavor I use strawberry fruit etc. It is all about making the best and quality cakes with the best ingredients.
7. What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you performed till date?
I believe I am yet to get my most challenging order!! Some of interesting cakes I made are:
8: What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favorite?
My signature flavors are:
Death by chocolate
Fudgy Brownie Cake
Eggless pineapple cake
I love theme cakes and that too specially for kids.It feels like I am reliving my own childhood. Every cake I do is my favorite because I connect with it in a very personal level.
9. Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.
According to me biggest challenge is the decoration and customization of the cake. It has to be visually good and that takes more effort.Another challenge is the weather in Kolkata that makes work messier with fondant.From my experience transporting a finished decorated cake is another big challenge in baking business.
While doing home baking, the funny thing is handling my kids who come between as testers.Thankfully I have super supportive husband.
10: Narrate some of your success stories.
In my couple of months journey as a home baker, I was fortunate and blessed to have clients who repeatedly come over and I consider this as my greatest success. There were 3 cakes which were bit tricky.
One was recreating a room into a cake. Client briefed me that the 19 year old birthday boy is fond of sports car, Jacqueline , gadgets , music and cake should reflect that. It was way too challenging for me to do but I was completely satisfied and extremely happy with the end result. I also got great review after they tasted the cake it was worth my effort.
Another one was the last minute order of mermaid cake. The tricky and the most difficult part was the shell but I loved the way it turned out. I also got great review for the same.
The last one was the farm animal theme cake…..it took me total 8 hours to make these cute characters.
11.What plans do you have to scale your business operations?
First of all it’s more of a way of my life than business. It has been only couple of months since I have started and the growth has been encouraging since inception, orders has grown a lot and I hope to see this grow further. I am planning to organize workshops on cake decoration. Someday would love to have my very own cake boutique.
12. Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession.
It is never too late to follow your passion. Keep trying new recipes and techniques.There is no short cut for cake decoration and keep asking people for honest feedback. Never give up! This is the motto what I follow in my life.
13. If you have had one wish.
I wish I could continue to strive my passion and travel around the world to learn different cake decoration techniques from experts. And yes, to be recognized as cake artist.
Santula Shrivastava: Founder of I dream of cake by Santula.
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/idreamofcakebysantula