Olga - Our Cake Artist
It is long overdue to introduce Olga, one of our fantastic bakers and a true cake artist.
Olga developed her passion for baking alongside her mum at a young age, and hasn’t left the kitchen since. With training from the International Culinary Centre in New York City and a graduate from the world-renowned patisserie school Le Cordon Bleu, Olga opened her own confectionary business when she was just 24 years old. Moving from Saint Petersburg, she has now taken her extraordinary bakes to London – lucky us, as we now get the chance to try her stunning bespoke cakes as well!
One of her most exciting, yet challenging, creations was a seven (yes, seven!) tiered wedding cake with a heart cut out in the middle. This gravity-defying cake was showcased in front of hundreds of guests and as expected, was a masterpiece.
Olga told us about her biggest baking disaster: “I was making a gender reveal cake, so the future mother didn't know if it was a girl or a boy. She wanted to be sure that the cake would have a proper blue or pink colour. It was a girl, so I made the pink sponge inside - everything turned out perfectly, the cake was beautiful. It was my first gender reveal cake, and I took the project quite seriously. I was really excited, but also quite nervous. When we met, the first thing she asked me was if the colour turned out well. I answered: ‘Yes, everything worked out perfectly, it's perfectly pink.’ Realising I just spoiled the surprise, I wanted to cut my tongue out! She started to laugh and since then has become a frequent customer of mine, despite the fact that I couldn't keep a secret.”
Olga’s schedule varies day to day, and really depends on how busy the cake season is. During the peak seasons, such as wedding and communion season, she sleeps 2-3 hours per night, in order to finish upcoming orders. Like most bakers, Monday is her most relaxing day.
Olga explains that the most stressful part of being a baker is the delivery, as she can never relax until the cake is set up at the venue. Luckily, Olga has her own system to assembling the cake for safe transportation and has a great delivery team that is well trained. To date, Olga has delivered over 1000 cakes!
When asked what her favourite part of baking is, Olga loves to see the happy faces and smiles of her customers and that she can partake in people’s most important, touching and special moments.
Need Inspiration for your next cake? View Olga’s previous creations https://mybaker.co/pages/meet-our-bakers/Olga.
Chintal - Our Baker Inspired By Asian Cuisine
Food has always been a part of Chintal’s life. Originally from Mombasa, Kenya, Chintal sat down with us and delved into her ‘love affair’ with food that began when watching her mother and grandmother preparing traditional Gujarati dishes. Before making her own desserts at the age of 12, she was fascinated at the simplicity of turning staple ingredients into magnificent creations.
Upon moving to the UK, Chintal furthered her interests in the pages of cookbooks and TV programmes, which gave her the push to begin experimenting new recipes and flavours. From hosting dinner parties and baking for her friends and family, word of her genius spread and she eventually set up her own business. She creates bespoke, artisan Indian inspired cakes and has orders coming in from all over the world.
Today, she is living proof that being an incredible baker does not need to be rigorously taught. With no formal qualifications, her passions run limitless in the kitchen and have allowed her the freedom to explore flavours and spices to create various recipes. Claiming the coconut, lime and cardamom cake as her personal favourite, she does not allow this bias to restrict the wonderful treats she prepares for customers. Her ‘Mithai Inspired Cakes’ launched in 2014, breathing Indian culture into recreated cakes. But perhaps the most successful delicacy is her award-winning Nankhatai: a beautiful melt of classic and modern Indian flavours in a shortbread biscuit. The best part of being a baker for Chintal is having the freedom to create variety of bakes and ‘seeing the smiles on individuals faces when they bite into them.’
Chintal’s complexity is not bound to her kitchen space. Working as an Occupational Therapist in Rapid Response, Chintal visits patients at their homes, completing assessments and ensuring their safety. On top of being a full-time worker, Chintal is a full-time mother and juggles the responsibilities of a family, a business, and as a therapist for the NHS. Her days begin early as an OT and end late, working around the clock as an artisanal baker and under the clutch of time. Chintal also adamantly supports a charity called ‘Find Your Feet’ that helps families in India, Nepal, Malawi and Zimbabwe out of poverty. She dedicated her time and desserts to fundraising events and organised ‘An Evening of Flavour’ which fed 80 guests a ‘selection of Indian desserts.'
The time she puts into her products is filled with care and thought. She has experienced her own hardships at the beginning, explaining her conundrums and that, once upon a time, even made all of her cakes consistently sink in the middle. She has since perfected her extravagant cakes to fit a style known as ‘rustic with a touch of elegance.’ From great quality products handmade with love, Chintal is as compassionate in her baking as she is outside of work. As the Queen of multitasking, Chintal balances her work by planning, planning and planning! Her supportive family and great passion for her work drives her in her accomplishments. Constantly innovating and coming up with new recipes, Chintal keeps our customers on their toes with her fusions. We can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
For now, we have to look forward to Chintal’s amazing desserts to celebrate Eid. Go over to https://mybaker.co/pages/meet-our-bakers/Chintal and submit a request. From her mini shot glass desserts, to specially flavoured cupcakes and Chintal’s incredible Nankhatai, there is truly a treat for every person. Celebrate with your friends and family tastefully!
Maxine - Our Baker With a Twist
Today we are talking to Maxine. She is fairly new to professional baking. I asked her what inspired her to start baking and sell her cakes. She began by telling me that she just really likes cake – and who can blame her?! Maxine then explained that she spent her gap year living in France with a good friend. Her friend’s mum made an excellent gâteau au yaourt (a simple recipe in which all ingredients are measured in an emptied-out yoghurt pot), and Maxine used this recipe to make cupcakes – but that was the extent of her baking until recently. By the time she became pregnant with her second child, she was looking for ways to work more flexibly. She considered baking seriously after winning the office Bake-Off contest. ‘I wanted to learn more’, Maxine said, ‘so I taught myself.’
I asked what her favourite thing to bake is – a tricky question for any baker! Maxine said ‘it depends on the day. I’m always a fan of the smell of carrot cake and I really like making chocolate cake. I enjoy the chemistry when the wet and dry ingredients come together to create a rich chocolatey mixture.’ And her favourite thing to eat? ‘If I’m in a restaurant, it has to be sticky toffee pudding. I also love apple crumble with vanilla ice cream or custard, or tiramisu – stuff I don’t traditionally make. I wanted to know what the ethos behind Maxine’s baking business is. For Maxine, it’s simple: ‘if I wouldn’t give it to my kids, I wouldn’t give it to you.’ She admits that she does still use unnatural food colouring, but she’s experimenting with finding natural alternatives so she can stop using it in the near future. Quality is crucial. Maxine is a big advocate of food education, and thinks it's worth paying a little extra to know there are no nasties in your food.
Finally, I wanted to know more about the business side of baking. What are you paying for when you buy an artisan cake from an independent baker? Maxine makes several good points. She starts with the quality of the ingredients: ‘I only use ingredients I'd feel comfortable serving to both to the foodie people I know and love and to my own children’, she says. ’I want to know what's in my food, and I want to be able to look my customers in the eye, knowing that I've served each one with the same quality ingredients I use in my own home.’ Next, she points out that each bake is individual. The baker must take time dreaming up ideas and designing their creation, so that the customer is presented with something truly special. Last but not least, it takes time to create a fabulous and unique bake. She makes all of the components from scratch – the sponges, fondants, syrups, icing and compotes. Maxine says it typically takes her 3 hours to make one of her signature cakes, and 4-5 hours for a custom creation.
It seems that buying an artisan cake is an investment: an investment in ingredients, skills and time. When you order from an independent baker, not only are you supporting a small business, you're guaranteeing exceptional quality and a bespoke product. Check out her profile here https://mybaker.co/pages/meet-our-bakers/Maxine.
Sandra - Our 3D Specialist
Sandra is one of our cake artists who specialises in 3D character cakes and intricately designed biscuits.
Sandra began baking in 2012. She launched her own online school in 2014 and now also teaches others how to bake and decorate sophisticated cakes and cookies. She has travelled globally and held classes in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Thailand. We can see why people want to learn from her – Sandra’s 3D cakes truly are a work of art.
I asked her what her favourite personal creation has been. She said a mythological deer, which she entered into the London Cake International Show. The intricacy is what she is most proud of, and it definitely shines through in this cake, which went on to win a bronze medal in the decorative exhibit competition!
''The cakes I most love to make are definitely cute 3D characters for children’s birthday parties’, says Sandra. ‘I also love making gravity-defying cakes’. Have a look at the panda playing tennis below – it is hard to believe that the entire cake is being held up at just one point!''
Aside from making jaw-dropping cakes, Sandra tells us about her interest in making and decorating cookies. She creates floral and cute character designs using pressure piping techniques with royal icing and hand painting techniques. She has developed the intricacy of her designs over time, creating difficult designs and working with paints to bring them to life.
Sandra’s style is very unique and it is clear she spends time making sure each cake is as elaborate and as perfectly finished as possible. She adds in that she also makes cakes without fondant. She is no stranger to a drip cake or two! A baker with many talents, it is a pleasure to have her as part of the MY BAKER community.
Looking for bespoke biscuits or a show stopping 3D design? Submit a form at https://mybaker.co/pages/meet-our-bakers/Sandra.