By Sumaya Seedat Moolla
Scrolling through drool-worthy pictures of cakes on Instagram, some may feel inspired and hopeful that ‘one day, I too will dabble in this art of creating gorgeous cakes’. However, for some their passion has already become a reality.
Nadia Essack, a self-taught baker and the creative genius behind Nadia’s Delicacies confesses that her biggest inspiration is Instagram. Her business began five years ago from her kitchen when her daughter, now aged 6 years, requested a Barbie birthday cake. Nadia who had no clue about baking a cupcake, took on the daunting task of fulfilling her daughter’s wish. Eight hours and several You Tube videos later, she had created a dream cake for her last born. “It took me 8 hours to decorate, but in the end it came out perfect. My family couldn’t believe I made it! Today I can decorate a cake in less than an hour. Practice makes perfect”
Other than Instagram which boasts all the latest cake trends, Nadia draws inspiration from other bakers a well as You Tube video tutorials. “I have learned a lot from other bakers,” she explains “From not knowing how to bake a cupcake to perfecting a cake. I think I have come a very long way”
A mom of two, she juggles her time between being with her family and career, drawing a fine line between the two roles. She never mixes business with family time, plans her day in advance and dedicates her time to baking and decorating whilst her kids, an 11-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, are at school.
When asked about her favourite toppings and fillings, she admits that simple fillings and pretty cakes are more her signature style. Good old buttercream is still her go-to as it never fails. She also puts a lot of effort in making her creations aesthetically pleasing. After all, they say it is the eyes that eat first! Having a passion for what she does means that Nadia will go above and beyond for her customers, her ultimate joy being the expression on their face when they receive their order. Difficult customers are always a challenge, she admits, but following the policy that ‘a customer is always right’ enables her to work harder to meet their needs.
In the process of following a recipe, Nadia has had her fair share of baking disasters- which she has either managed to salvage or joyfully passed on to her family as a dunker. From forgetting to add baking powder to the batter to pouring the batter into a baking pan without greasing it first, she has done it all!
Her parting words to our readers who are considering pursuing a career in the home industry are:
“Do what you love. Be kind, be positive and everything just falls into place. Baking for a living can be very stressful because you have a client to please, but making sure you prepare yourself well in advance will help you a long way. Personally, I love baking, it’s my passion. It’s therapeutic too. There are times when I get tired, but when you love something nothing stops you from it”
Nadia’s Chocolate Cake and Buttercream recipe:
Half cup oil
1 cup hot water
Bring to a boil and cool
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tarter
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbls vanilla essence
2 tsp bicarb
Beat with whisk
Add step 1 and 3 in 2 and whisk
Bake for 30min
2 cups icing suger
Vanilla essence. Beat butter until fluffy add in icing sugar and vanilla essence and beat well.