Locum optometrist, Siddika Asaria, shares her passion for cake decorating with OT
My cake business, 7 Almonds, has been running since 2009. The name came about because growing up, my mum used to give us seven almonds each day to increase our brain power. It also conveys the company’s ethos of using natural, fresh and veggie-friendly ingredients.
Cake craft is my passion and allows me to express my creativity. There are always new trends and decorating styles that I am eager to learn and personalise in my own cakes. Most of my customers have come to me through word of mouth and I display my cakes on Instagram which has resulted in more orders.
My most ambitious cake to date involved a five-tiered wedding cake featuring an array of flowers. For that order, I spent between 100 and 120 hours making fondant flowers. Any spare moment I had throughout the summer, I would be making roses, orchids, peonies, and sweetpeas which cascaded down the side. Each flower type required learning about how to make specific petals, leaves and stems.
Thankfully I haven’t had any disasters, but prior to each delivery I do get nervous. You don’t know what the traffic will be like or how hot it will be. I once had to transport a five-tier wedding cake in a taxi that arrived 45 minutes late which meant we were travelling really fast. I had one hand on my heart and one hand on my fondant flowers. Luckily, the cake got there fine, and I managed to assemble everything as planned.
There is pressure on me when I make a wedding cake as it is an important part of the wedding reception. The bride worries about the dress, the flowers and the cake. Whilst there is pressure, equally there is a sense of pride and satisfaction in creating a showstopper from simple ingredients like flour and sugar.
I would say to people who are just starting to bake to start with something simple like cupcakes. Practise does make perfect. The first cake I ever baked went flat but I persevered by researching and experimenting.
Whenever we have a family occasion I always make the birthday cake. Most of the time it is an elaborate three-tier cake which we distribute to friends, family and neighbours. I make the Christmas and summer party cakes for my daughter’s school and I have made a wedding cake for four of my colleagues so far. That is a real honour. Cake craft is a good hobby to have because it brings smiles to people’s faces.