CHENNAI: If you are an avid traveller, you’d know that apart from soaking in the breathtaking sights and sounds, treating your taste buds to local flavours creates a healthy appetite for an immersive experience. But how good does a local delicacy have to be to trigger a switch in careers? We asked Nungambakkam resident Prachi Agarwal, who couldn’t stop drooling over bundt cakes, during one of her trips to Germany. So delectable was this memory that she decided to spread some bundt love to Chennaiites by setting up The Bundt Bakehouse in December 2019.Bundt cakes are doughtnut-shaped cakes that can either be a dazzler for breakfast or offer a sweet ending to your meal, or even keep you cosy at tea-time, she says. But knowing that the Indian palate loves its savoury as much as sweet flavours, Prachi introduced both versions.
While completing her Chartered Accountancy course in London in 2018, Prachi travelled across Europe, treating her tastebuds to untried desserts. “The first time I had a bundt cake was at a cafe in London, and I immediately became a fan, as the texture was also unique. I also sampled different flavours of strudel, pies and breads. My personal favourite was the goulash— a soup of meat and vegetables, seasoned with spices,” she recalls.Prachi returned to Chennai in late 2018 and worked here as a CA for a year, before starting her venture. “I wanted to stand out in the market. When I researched about the dishes being offered by restaurants and chefs in Chennai, I realised that although a few bakeries and restaurants sell bundt cakes, there were no exclusive outlets. I knew it would be a niche market and there would be takers. I also didn’t want to offer what was already in the market,” she explains. Curious to expand her boundaries, she browsed the Internet for ideas. A few months of trial and error, and she had the perfect recipe.
While initially the bundt cake was the only item on the menu, soon, Prachi began experimenting with different flavours and sizes. “I realised that apart from birthdays and functions, people rarely buy a cake. I wanted to offer a variety of flavours to my customers but the larger bundt cakes restricted experimentation. That’s when I bought smaller bundt cake moulds and began offering boxes of four cakes of different flavours,” she shares.The smaller cakes even allowed Prachi to expand her understanding of blending flavours, which eventually led to some crowd favourites like the neon orange. “The customer reviews for our orange cake were positive. I began receiving more orders for that flavour as soon as I rolled it out in July,” she says.
Bringing in the ceremonial joy of Raksha Bandhan, she added the rose-flavoured bundts in August. “The mini bundt cake boxes became a crowd favourite that season. At one point, I had to prepare 12 boxes of mini bundt cakes and five 1-kg bundt cakes in one day. It was the highest number of orders I had received till then,” she shares enthusiastically.Soon, Nutella, sprinkles, cinnamon, lemon, pistachios, strawberries and coffee flavours were added to the menu. “This business has pushed me to explore and come up with original recipes,” she says, adding that her current fascination is creating savoury bundts. In July, she tested her first focaccia-topped-with-pesto bundt cake that later found a place on her menu. “I didn’t know if people would like a savoury cake. When my family and friends tasted it, they were all praises. It gave me the confidence to try out something new,” she says. To her surprise, this became many of her customers’ favourite companion for evening tea. Inspired, she then created garlic and rosemary bundt cakes.With such variety in texture and flavours, Prachi’s bundt cakes are sure to have our faces tucked in some sugary goodness.
The cakes are priced between Rs 400 and Rs 700 and are delivered via Dunzo and Swiggy. For orders, visit: @thebundtbakehouse on Instagram, or call 9566246234.