Hi Archita, welcome to the interview session of Anamitra’s Blog. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.
I am Archita born & brought up in a small town of UttarPradesh. I am an electronics engineer by education, worked as a software engineer for quite some time before turning into a full-time baker.
How did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?
I was always fascinated with the baking stuff. One of the main reasons is no one in our family or even relatives know anything about baking.
It was during my second year holidays of engineering studies, I had tried my first cake when I was 19. There is this friend of mine in college who used to bring few tea-time cakes after every vacation. So I got the recipe from her mom since I love her bakes it was a very basic vanilla cake recipe.
How was your first baking experience?
I tried the vanilla cake recipe shared by my friend’s mom. The cake rose nicely but sinked as soon as it was out of oven. When I tried to bake it again for some more time so that the center gets cooked, the cake got burnt on the sides.
How did you learn baking?
I tried few recipes from internet afterwards only to realize that my baking basics are all wrong. So after my elder son was born & during my maternity break from office, I attended my first ever baking class. I was in Pune during that time & it was a one day class with few basic recipes. I just fell in love with baking that very day. After that it was mostly practice at home for a long time & a few more advanced level classes later in Hyderabad.
When did you decide to become a professional baker and start your baking business? What was the inspiration behind the decision?
‘CookWithArchi’ (CWA) was founded with an intention to share the recipes related to both cooking & baking in a very detailed fashion. However, the blogging went on hold after my younger son was born. It was during this time that baking took a lead around 2016 & since then there was no looking back. The only inspiration behind this decision was my passion & love for this art. I am blessed to convert my passion into my profession.
Please tell us about your baking company Cook with Archi?
After baking for years, I had realized that in India very limited flavors of cakes are readily available. The knowledge of baked products is very little and there is this whole range of cakes both frosting ,non-frosting and healthy bakes which is completely unexplored. We at CWA focus a lot on this part of baking.
What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you have performed till date?
A Unicorn cake wherein each sponge layer has 3 different colors, frosted with three different color butter cream, has golden drip & last but not the least topped with assorted color macarons.
A whopping 2 tier – 5kg – all whipped cream – naked blackforest cake; all made from scratch without any prior knowledge of tier cakes.
What are some of the signature products of your company? Which one is your personal favourite?
I will tell you one in each category because we really have a big menu. Caramel cake under icing cakes, Fudgy brownies under brownies, Orange pound cake under non-icing cakes & Polenta budino with Plum Marmellata under dessert section. Each of these is different from another & my favourite but yes fudgy brownies anytime please .
Being a baker, you must have had to overcome challenges. Please tell us about them.
Having worked as a software professional for a long time to running my own business now, challenges are in every field. And I very strongly believe each challenge make you come out stronger & bolder.
The main challenge that I have faced initially as a home baker for most of my orders is the costing of the cakes & similar baked stuff. To overcome this I have started educating my clients on the reasons. I made sure to cover this topic at the end of my each workshop. Not just that, I have started writing detailed posts on my social media platforms so that the followers can relate & understand. It took me quite sometime though, but now I have a list of clients who order from CWA every time to celebrate any of their special days/ occasions.
Narrate some of your success stories.
I have always believed that ‘Success is a Journey & not a Destination’. With each achieved goal we set another goal, with each failure we acquire some skill & learn some lessons which we use further for our next goal.
What plans do you have to scale your business operations?
Currently my both hands are full with work. Raising two young kids & a full-time baking business is a lot of work and I really don’t want to compromise on any part of each one’s growth.
Having said that my final aim is to open a chain of nice picturesque baking studios across country where everything related to baking would be available. Starting with a workshop area, a baking products retail store, a production house etc. We are always going to work on pre-order basis & our product focus is and will always be to create healthy, innovative & high end baking products.
Your advice to those who wish to take up baking as a profession.
Cakes play an important role for making occasions even more special. So it’s important for people like us to not just make them look beautiful but at the same time they should taste great too. Irony is the focus of this industry is slowly shifting from healthy baking to only decoration.
How can all the customers stay connected with you as well as your baking classes?
I have an Instagram & Facebook page with name ‘CookWithArchi’ where I post most of my cake pictures, class details & even my daily life snippets. Follow & stay tuned!!