What does being a Home Baker mean to you?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– Baking from home allows me an outlet for my creative energies, while allowing my creations to be part of my clients’ celebrations. Unlike a commercial baker, I don’t have overheads of rent and commute. This allows the luxury of not having to cut corners on Ingredients, which is a win for my clients. Being a single person enterprise, Ideas and craftsmanship are not diluted. On the personal front, it is easier to balance with the demands of work and life.
Throughout your career, is there a dish or Ingredient that you are most known for?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– As a cake artist, I am known for hand-sculpted three-dimensional figurines, themed cakes and chocolate-based desserts.
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– My cakes are almost always part of celebrations. They are commissioned by parents, spouses, siblings for their loved ones. I get to understand the recipient(s), their likes and hobbies and tailor my design based on these as well as the occasion. I receive photographs/videos of them getting surprised with huge smiles. It is immensely gratifying to be part of special moments.
I receive repeat orders for the subsequent birthdays or anniversaries. This allows me to develop a personal connection, and satisfaction to see kids grow, bonds between couples grow deeper.
Can you share any secrets with our readers for baking at home?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– Look for video recipes, start with recipes which don’t have complicated procedures and readily available ingredients. Understand your oven and temperature settings. A good weighing scale is a must.
What is the creative process behind Culinart and where do you find our inspiration.
Swethaprajwala Raja:– I have always been passionate about art. I have learnt and practised painting over the years, which kept me in good stead when I started Culinart.
I have a detailed conversation with my clients in person or over the phone. Usually, the cakes are commissioned by the clients for their loved ones, the inputs from the client help in choice and presentation of the theme. I draw sketches and share them with the clients. This helps them visualize and provide contextual suggestions.
As a parent and aunt, I have had exposure to the characters, movies and toys that kids love. This perspective has been very valuable in the design process.
Most people think fondant cakes are less tasty, what is your opinion on them?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– Fondant has a high sugar quotient and can be very sweet. The key to the balance between the presentation and sugar facets is to roll the fondant thin. This requires good quality fondant as well as skill. Another way of obtaining optimum sugar levels is to reduce sugar content in the cakes.
How important is the cake plungers/cutter for a baker? Which is your favourite brand when it comes to plunger/cutter?
Swethaprajwala Raja:– Cake plungers help in filling the empty spaces in the design. It cannot be used as a supplement to sculpting. My favourite brand is PME.
You create very beautiful flower art in cakes. Please share with us, the advice to come up with beautiful flower art.
Swethaprajwala Raja:– Firstly pick a good flower paste recipe, which dries hard. There are good commercial options are available now, which wasn’t the case a few years ago. You can make the flowers more realistic by using veiners and cutters. Rolling the flower paste thin, gives the flowers a realistic look. The dusting of flowers and leaves with petal dust gives them the depth of colour. They provide a matte finish, which makes the flowers realistic as natural flowers don’t shine.
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