What motivated you to start Tricks n Treats? Please share one special and the unforgettable moment you have so far with Tricks n Treats?
Manasi Deshpande:- Starting Tricks ‘n’ Treats happened very naturally. I used to bake as a hobby until my second year of BA. During that period, I started to bake more, give goodies to my friends, send them to my mom’s office, etc. All that I was doing as a hobby or as fun was received so well by my near and dear ones that I started getting little orders. I put most of my time and energy into these orders, truly started to feel so much like I found my calling, the thing I could do for hours and hours and yet still want to do more, not lose motivation to bake even when some bakes failed. It was just a happy process. Then one day, a close friend of mine mentioned that they’re celebrating her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. And her idea was to make 50 mini cakes! NOT CUPCAKES, but actual mini cakes. Each one to depict a special event from one of the 50 years. And this, then seemingly mammoth task, had to be completed in one & a half-day. We finalised the list of cakes on a Friday afternoon and this was due on Sunday morning. The way I felt while working on this is something I’ve just never experienced. It was scary, it was monsoon time so lots of power cuts, had to bake and frost plus decorate, plus almost ran out of time but then just got it done before the pick-up. And that feeling was so special, to be able to handle something of this magnitude, from home, with minimal equipment and a small oven. This made me feel like I truly want to do this again & take Tricks ‘n’ Treats to newer heights.
At Tricks n Treats, we can get varieties of cake design like from ethenic to Character to Healthy cakes… What is your favourite of all the categories and why?
Manasi Deshpande:- Yes, at Tricks ‘n’ Treats we do a variety of cakes because we love being versatile. But at the same time, some works are super close to your heart and for us, it has to be the Character cakes. I think this is because when you add a character to the cake & that character is crafted to perfection that can literally bring the whole cake to life. It’s something that just goes beyond a cake or even a customised cake and makes a special place in your heart. And the best part is, clients can store these characters later.
You have come up with a beautiful website of Tricks n Treats please tell us how do website and social media help bakers grow?
Manasi Deshpande:- I think social media plays an extremely important role for bakers, especially those who are starting out as home bakers. This is because – unlike a bakery store, we don’t have a place where customers can come and see our creations or products. And essentially, people will tend to buy only once they see something attractive. A baker can easily put up all their creations on social media, which is open to the public to see and people can view all their creations and order. Having a website especially helped us a lot because it increased our reach. We live in a very mixed environment where there are certain age groups who are not active on Facebook, Instagram and yet use the Internet extensively. So for them, the website has been a great option to see designs and order.
You’ve also made ras malai and Moti choor cakes… Any other Mithai flavours are you working on? What is your take on Indian mithai fusion cake?
Manasi Deshpande:- Indian fusion mithai cakes are something that people find super attractive, especially at festive times. That’s when they want something new, but incorporating the festive flavours and textures. We first did a Rasmalai cake on order. But then thought that it would be pretty cool to have some other combos as well. So that same year, during the Ganapati festival we made Modak cupcakes – Saffron cupcake base, filled with a jaggery and coconut concoction, topped with some Keshar Pista cream and a chocolate modak again filled with the jaggery and coconut filling. This was received so well, that the same year in Diwali we tried a Motichoor cake & cupcakes. People loved those as well. And we’ve even had our Motichoor cupcakes travel all the way to Dubai. I feel, after all, our flavours and flavour pairings should be to the liking of the people. If it makes your clients happy, it’s definitely worth doing.
How important is cake levellers for you as a baker and which is your favourite brand that provides you with perfect cake levellers?
Manasi Deshpande:- I would say cake levellers are a must-have at least at the beginning of anyone’s cake career. It makes the cake look tidy overall. A neat looking cake can definitely take the whole design a notch up and look very impressive. However, eventually, you could learn to do it with serrated knives too. Personally for me now, serrated knives make the process faster. I ‘ve used cake levellers from Wilton & Lakeland and liked both of them, very easy to adjust and cut through the cake effortlessly.
What are the weirdest or strange demands you have received from the client and how did you deal with him?
Manasi Deshpande:- One of the weirdest requests I’ve received for a cake was to make a cake in the shape of fractured leg! This cake was ordered by a lady whose husband had fractured his leg and was celebrating this birthday in the hospital. And she wanted to make the day a little more fun by getting him this cake. At first, it seemed strange because I couldn’t imagine how he’d feel to cut up something that resembled his fractured leg. But as I worked on it, the end product actually felt pretty cool and again I thought, if it makes the client happy, then why not!
You have expertise in cake painting on whipped cream so please tell us how is it different from decorating any other form of cakes?
Manasi Deshpande:- Again, painting on cakes with ganache happened by coincidence. I had a cake booked in which I had to paint a view of Florence city, the cake had to tall and had to have dimensions. I didn’t want to flat paint on the cake on fondant because I knew that would definitely look too plain. Sugar print would look boring, so that would out of question. So I thought ganache would be great because it holds shape really well, is stable and I can do lots of minor detailing on it as well once it dries.
Where did you get an idea of coming up with out of the box cake? Which was the most interesting one you have created till now?
Manasi Deshpande:- So basically I categorise Out of the Box cakes as any cakes that have special elements that a regular / normal cake wouldn’t. It could be anything like a slanting cake, a hangable cake, a liftable cake etc. the thought behind these is to not only replicate the item but also to add an element that would make it seem as though it is the real item and make it fun and special. All of them have been really fun to create, but the Leaning Tower of Pisa cake was especially fun because it had to lean considerably, but also had to be super stable so that it would hold well. We made the cake in parts and then assembled it with an appropriate structure to ensure no cake accidents happen at the venue.
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