Tricky Matter’s of Cakes


Firstly, tell us how did you happen to start Baked Favours? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- I was always extremely inspired by the show Masterchef Australia, and I used to get ideas of dishes after seeing the anomalous concoctions the chefs used to come up with. Those ideas were rarely implemented as I was extremely occupied with my course back then. 

Launching Baked Favours was actually a very sudden decision. It was a vague idea in my head, which was to be implemented probably 10 years down the line. As a freelance architect, I had a phase when I didn’t have any productive work for a few months, which made me really restless. On the other hand, my friends had been trying to convince me since a long time that a culinary based career was my calling. So I chose baking specifically, as I found it extremely satisfying and therapeutic. 

Do think people baked products are the demand of the new age? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- Oh yes, majorly! Infact, I had absolutely not imagined the competition I would have to face with other Home Bakers. When I started off, there were already a great number of established home bakers in my city itself. The reason why people baked products are being preferred nowadays is primarily due to the premium quality of products and the variety they offer in terms of flavours and customization. Also, I believe home bakers are extremely passionate about every product they make, and that reflects to the customers, which makes it very personal and appealing. 

What is your favourite mould and why? How important are food colour for a baker ? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- I mainly use basic circular and square moulds, and then carve or cut them as per the requirement. I love bundt cake pans, especially the ones by Nordicware, as they make even a regular teacake look fancy. Someday, I really want to own the kind of moulds used by Dinara Kasko; I am sure I would have a favourite mould then. 

The baking industry has advanced far beyond basic chocolate & cream cakes. Food Colours are a staple for every baker right now, and we have a plethora of options available in the market as well. Almost any customized design will need a food color, so it’s essential for bakers to keep upgrading their food color range. 

What advice do you have for aspiring bakers out there? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- The most important advice that I can give to aspiring bakers is to never compare your work or growth with that of any other baker. You should always compare your own work over time. Just keep baking and experimenting, don’t be disappointed by failures as they help you learn better. Be patient, trust the process, and I assure you will get better. Another advice is to treat every order with similar passion, small or big, remembering that smaller orders are stepping stones to bigger or multiple ones. 

Who are some people that inspire you? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- My biggest inspiration is architect & pastry chef, Dinara Kasko. The kind of work she does is a benchmark that I hope to reach someday Inshallah. Among others, I really admire Nigella Lawson, Sally Mckinney, Chelsey White, Pooja Dhingra, Shivesh Bhatia, and many more. 

How would you describe your style as a home baker? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- My style as a home baker I believe is quite reflective of my style as a designer. I prefer to keep my cakes minimal & elegant. I don’t do fondant sculpting, as am not interested in making those kind of cakes. Tiered cake or wedding cakes are my favourite kind to work with, as I find them most appealing & sophisticated. 

What is your flavour process for developing a new dish? Does it differ whether you’re developing something sweet vs. savoury? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- Over the time my process has changed. In the beginning, it was more about trying different recipes and then understanding which is best and working with it. Recently, it’s become more intuitive as I have understood the working of several ingredients that go in your baked dishes. So I have some foolproof basic recipes, which I alter to create new ones- depending on the type of dish I need to create. 

I don’t make many savoury desserts, so theres no specific process to it. 

What are flowers to you when it comes to cake decoration? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- Flowers are my favourite design element. Just the addition of flowers adds a character of sophistication & grace to your creations. Using fresh flowers is the most convenient & less time and cost consuming, but you get restricted to the kind of colours & designs. In that case, wafer paper flowers would be my next option to work with. Fondant & sugar paste flowers look great, but they are quite a task to work with. 

Please tell us what you love to bake other than cake and why? 

Zeba Hetavkar:- I enjoy baking pretty much everything, but baking cheesecakes still scare me every time. Among savoury dishes, baked pasta is my most regularly baked item. I love baking new items over repeating, so it’s difficult for me to have a favourite thing to bake.