Making a Difference, One Cake at a Time
It’s evening and as school gets over, it’s time to start baking. Shivani Kohli, 16, a student of Delhi Public School, R K Puram in New Delhi starts making the batter for a batch of cupcakes her classmates requested her to get to school the next day.
She prepares the batter, sets it to bake and begins her homework. While the cake is set out to cool, she heads off to the golf club. A little later, she heads home to make the icing for the cupcakes. Once the cupcakes are ready, she packs them for school.
Baking is a passion for Shivani who learnt it all by herself — by reading up on blogs and watching YouTube videos on the Internet. But the best lessons came from her favourite show Fabulous Cakes which airs on TLC.
The Class 11 student has been baking for a year-and-a-half and set up her own little bakery in April this year. The bakery was set up with funding from her parents. “I have always enjoyed baking, and since I’m in Class 11 this year and have time on my hands, I wanted to do something new. I would always bake cakes but now with orders from unfamiliar people, I can always incorporate their suggestions and ideas and what they want. Now I can push myself to meet deadlines,” says Shivani.
Apart from her love for baking, she likes to give a part of her profits to charity, a thought inspired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. When a very young Shivani heard how Gates would give money to the underprivileged, she wanted to do the same. “I donate money to the NGO Khushi and give cakes to the Happy School every week so that children who have their birthday that week can cut a cake together,” she says.
While she has a flair for baking cakes, making chocolates and tarts, Shivani’s favourite part of baking is when she gets to make fondant designs. She likes to try out different shapes and designs on her cakes and cupcakes which are a huge hit at her school. “My friends always ask me to get cupcakes for school. This happens almost daily. Or it is someone’s birthday and I am asked to bake a cake for them.” It is the support and encouragement of her friends that gets her to try out new recipes. They even like to help out with the work as well as come up with suggestions. She dabbles in many designs and always likes to try out something new. The best part is that her friends and her brother’s friends are always ready to sample them. “I try out recipes on my brother’s friends, who are big fans of my red velvet cupcakes, brownies and cream cheese cupcakes,” she says.
Cakes with unusual designs and shapes are challenges she likes to take up, with her first cake being a six-kg, two-tier white chocolate cake for a girl’s first birthday. Other creations include a Chanel bag, a boxing glove cake, a rainbow cake with a layer gems, plain chocolates, and those with mint, orange and almonds.
While her mother, aunts and maid help her out once in a while, she really likes to do the entire process on her own. “I’m very possessive about this. I wash the equipment and I like to shop for the ingredients. I mostly like to make everything on my own,” she says.
Shivani’s cupcakes, which are larger than normal cupcakes, sell for `55-60 a piece, while a cake costs about `1,200-1,300. Customers’ favourites are her red velvet and cream cheese cupcakes, brownies and tarts.
With the support of her family and friends, she keeps up the success rate in her business. There is a page on Facebook for her bakery and a website which was created by a friend as a gift. In fact, it was her brother who came up with the name of her bakery Cakejuana, which is inspired by marijuana known for its addiction.
Baking is definitely an integral part of her future plans as she says she’d like to continue with this when she gets into college. Teaching is another option for the vibrant baker. “I would like to teach baking and making fondant designs to the underprivileged so that they can get better jobs,” she says.