Techie speak Life & Style

It’s busy days for home bakers of Technopark

Anjitha BJ and Anzil Hassan

Anjitha BJ and Anzil Hassan   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The bakers have their hands full this Christmas

With Christmas around the corner, there’s hardly any time to relax for Anjitha BJ and Anzil Hassan, colleagues at Thoughtline Technologies Pvt Ltd in Technopark. After their office hours, they run Cloud 9, an online cake shop. So once they reach home, they get busy baking at Anjitha’s home at Pappanamcode, with their siblings lending a helping hand.

Among the burgeoning number of home bakers in the city are many employees in Technopark, many of whom run online ventures via their Facebook accounts. Christmas is the season when they go into overdrive, with orders coming in large numbers.

Anu Alexander

Anu Alexander   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Anu Alexander confesses that she has been racing against time to meet the orders. “I didn’t take orders for any other variety of cake because it is difficult to manage everything single-handedly. I have set a cut-off date for orders. Otherwise, I won’t be able to travel to Kottayam to celebrate Christmas!” chuckles Anu. She has been running Anu Bake Away Trivandrum for the last one-and-a-half years.

Smitha Devaraj

Smitha Devaraj   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Smitha Devaraj of IBS Software, meanwhile, had a great time at an in-house Christmas sale held recently. Her counter had coffee, red velvet, white chocolate and dark chocolate cakes. Parvathy Ravikumar, another techie-cum-baker, has a Christmas special — a combo, comprising carrot-dates cake, plum cake (250g piece each) and two pieces of brownie. Her online counter is her page, Cake’d.

Parvathy Ravikumar

Parvathy Ravikumar   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Plum cakes take the cake, as usual, during the season. Preparations start well in advance as the ingredients have to be kept soaked in spirit for several months.

Season’s favourite

“Last year, we delivered 200 plum cakes to a company in Technopark. We had done plum cakes for the first time and the bulk order had come as a surprise. They want it this year as well and we are working on it,” says Anjitha. Anzil adds that all the fruits were soaked last year itself to get better results.

Anu, meanwhile, started her preparations four months ago and began taking orders from November. Smitha, a veteran baker, has taken a few orders for New Year only. On sale will be her “red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting”.

These bakers have a steady clientèle outside the IT hub as well. “There are several platforms on the social media to post food reviews and it was those posts that helped Bake Away to succeed. Otherwise, I was happy baking for my kids, having picked it up from my mother, who always used to bake at home,” says Anu, who has a “fan following” for her chocolate cake.

Not just Anu, all these home bakers were taking their passion to the next level when they first started baking on a commercial scale. “Baking gives me so much pleasure. I picked the basics from my mother and honed it with the help of YouTube videos. When I started my venture, Sweet n Sassy, my sister-in-law, Nina Raju, also a techie, helped me manage my Facebook page,” says Smitha.

Weekends are set aside for baking. Parvathy calls herself an exception. “I have only night duty. So the mornings are devoted for my baking sessions,” she chuckles.

Also, except for attending a class or two, many of these bakers are self-taught. While Parvathy participated in a workshop to learn icing techniques, Anjitha and Anzil attended a cake-making class in the city to “get a few things right”. Anzil adds that it was Anjitha’s passion for baking that rubbed off on him. “Then I attended a session on fondants in Chennai. While red velvet cakes is our USP, we keep experimenting with new flavours,” he adds.

It’s all about pushing themselves to find new flavours and varieties, Anjitha says. “We successfully baked panettone [Italian sweetbread] last year for Christmas. It worked and we have got an order this time as well,” she says.

While Anu prefers to keep her cakes simple, Smitha made croquembouche, a French dessert with cream buns piled into a cone and held together with caramel. “That was a Masterchef-inspired attempt for a colleague’s birthday!” she says. They themselves are Masterchefs, each of them.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:10:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/meet-techies-who-are-home-bakers-as-well/article25788279.ece

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