People love cake. Nothing beats the smell of a freshly baked cake; the taste is divine; what’s not to love? It is literally the highlight of all sorts of events, from weddings to parties to simple get-togethers.
It comes as no surprise that people in the cake making business are very creative. Janet Gasatura, started her cake making journey in her own kitchen – selling cakes and cupcakes online. The proprietor of Slice&Cakes had a chat with Donah Mbabazi.
Very many people love cake. Did this influence your decision to bake professionally?
When we moved back to Rwanda in 2012 there weren’t very many options if one wanted a well designed cake or a variety of flavours. So I started baking as a hobby in my kitchen for my kids’ birthdays, then for friends and family, but as time went on, I noticed a lot of them coming back for more and each wanted a personalised design. And they encouraged me to go professional and today, a lot of my clients enjoy what we do at Slice&Cakes and all their support has kept us going.
How long did it take you to make your business idea a reality?
It was a gradual process, family and friends were very supportive initially. We set up a shop online at www.sliceandcakes.com and it was encouraging to see clients use our new shopping website that allowed them to place orders. And as your client base grows, when you get lots of messages from your clients saying “Thank you, you made our day. We really enjoyed the cake”, that puts a smile on my face knowing we are making a difference, helping our clients celebrate life’s moments.
What’s behind the name ‘Slice&Cakes’?
My husband and I usually enjoyed a cup of coffee with a slice of cake most weekends, so when we wanted a name that would stand out and be easily recognised, the name Slice&Cakes resonated with us.
What do you consider to be the perfect cupcake? What flavours and textures would it have?
A perfect cupcake is one which first and foremost is attractive, so design and colour is very important before taste. When it comes to the taste it has to be light and fluffy and the cream has to melt on your tongue which is why I prefer cream cheese. Carrot and red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese topping are to die for.
How many times do you have to “re-do” a recipe before you get it right?
Several times; even now I still have to re-invent some of them. Many times I’ve woken up in the middle of the night and written down an idea for improving on a recipe. It never stops, because I always aim at bringing my clients new designs and tastes.
What is your favourite cupcake recipe?
My favourite recipe has to be the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing on top which makes it moist and light on the palette, it goes down well with hot cafe latte.
What inspires you the most? Love of cupcakes or love of making things people enjoy?
I absolutely love creating things that people enjoy and I appreciate seeing my clients come back for more and more. We’ve had some clients come to us for their bridal shower cake, wedding cake, baby shower cake and baby’s 1st birthday and it’s a joy and honour to be a part of these special celebrations in their life.
Many of my clients come with their ideas and designs (mostly from Pinterest) some are very challenging and complicated, but I enjoy sitting with them to design the perfect cake for their parties and its exciting making their dreams come true and sharing in their celebrations.
Have you always had a passion for baking?
Baking wasn’t always a passion but I’ll say I’ve always had an eye for design and fashion. I did try a bit of baking while my family and I lived in the UK but it only grew on me when we came home and didn’t have many options. And so I worked with my passion for design and combined it with baking. That’s why at Slice&Cakes we love to say we create art and designs that people can eat.
You have children. Do you not worry that they will eat someone’s order?
(Laughs) That has never happened but I have had to re-do a few orders when they have been tampered with.
With the internet and easy availability of so many recipes and decorating ideas, how do you come up with new and unique recipes that someone else hasn’t already done?
I do use the Internet a lot but as I mentioned, I do a lot of permutations to create the flavours our clients prefer and designs to suit their personalities. Every cake has a story to it.
How can you be around all that sweetness and not get tempted to eat it? Do you have a sweet tooth?
I do have a sweet tooth but I try as much as I can to resist. But I can’t avoid tasting new and improved recipes which I do weekly.
Do you ever get tired of the smell of cupcakes?
No, I actually don’t. It’s hard to get tired of the scent of freshly baked cakes and cupcakes straight out of the oven.
You also bake wedding and party cakes. How much time does it take you to prepare a wedding cake?
A wedding cake is special; this is that day every couple, especially the bride, looks forward to and it has to be perfect. We treat every wedding cake special because we want to make the couples day perfect. So yes, the planning and design take time right from when we meet the couple to cake tasting, designing, and baking and all the way to when the couple cuts the cake.
At Slice&Cakes we do prefer ample time but the least amount of time we need is about a week. The most complicated bit about wedding cakes is not the baking, but the artistic decorations and my clients come with all sorts of designs. But I love the challenge and being part of making their day special.
What’s the price range of wedding cakes?
In a nutshell, prices depend on a design one chooses. The more complicated the design, the higher the price.
What advice do you have for one who would want to join the cake business ?
They should first start from where they are. They should see if it is truly what they are interested in then grow it naturally.