Monday, March 19, 2012

Piece of Cake!

Number 2 has arrived! 
And he even has a name now: Jad.

Every child brings along new love and new joys. At our household, they also bring cake along. Indeed, Mia got to celebrate her birthday every month until she turned one, and now it is Jad's turn to give mommy yet another excuse for guiltless indulgences!

The rationale being, a newborn's age is recorded by months, and even by weeks during the first month. Makes sense, right? And that is why we had the utmost pleasure of celebrating Jad's One Week Birthday a few days ago. 

This event got me thinking about Mia's first year celebrations and of course, cake.

And cake always takes me back to Mia's 6-Month Birthday which was the first real-fake festivity. After all, many parents do pay attention to this milestone and deem it to be cake-worthy.

But in our case, since all previous months were also as deserving, I decided to make this one extra special by ordering a customized cake inspired by Mia's favorite toys for her Half-Year.

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

Following that yummy success, Hubby's first Father's Day was also granted the same special treatment. The key syllable here being "Treat".

Photo Credit: R. Abouzeid

The impressive chef behind those masterpieces is Erum Khalid, a Dubai-based mumtrepreneur from Pakistan who took her love for baking to the next level. And beyond.

That mother of three who is also a full-time KG1 teacher at Wesgreen International School credits her mom for being the inspiration behind her passion for cooking: "My mother used to be a really good cook, but she didn't really bake. I used to watch her cook sometimes, and this is how I got interested. I actually did a small baking course with my aunt 15 years ago, right before I got married. After I got married I moved to the UAE, but didn't really bake for a long time."

What led you to bake for others? 

It started when I tried to bake some cakes for my husband's birthday and also for his cousins. The cakes were appreciated. Then I started searching for recipes, and I discovered the Internet. After I started working at WIS, I liked to take new cakes I had tried to school for feedback. The cakes and bakes were very much appreciated. It was actually my teaching assistant Mehreen who suggested that I should start this as a business.

Photo Credit: 7th Heaven

Where did you learn to bake? 

I learned to bake from the course I did before I got married. The rest I learnt through the internet, YouTube and TV.

How did you discover fondant and where did you learn that art? 

I found out about fondant from TV I think. I saw how beautiful cakes can become using this medium, how lovely flowers and figures can be made. This was something I had not yet tried. So I tried different recipes from the Internet and made my own fondant. Then I eventually moved to store bought fondant because it's easier and less time consuming to use.

Photo Credit: 7th Heaven

How did this adventure begin?

I started baking on an order basis some time in 2010 when I baked a cake for the husband of one of my friends.

How difficult was it to launch your own business?

Well it wasn't very difficult because I didn't really want to start it off on such a large scale anyway because I am still working full time. I was getting orders from school and was satisfied with it.

How do you currently operate? 

I currently operate from home. I have a page on Facebook called 7th Heaven where people can look at the photos and if they are interested in ordering they can either email me or call me, the information is all given on the page. I am also currently listed in the Expat Echo list of home bakers. I don't do deliveries yet; and payment is either in advance or on pick up, depends on the customer.

Photo Credit: 7th Heaven

Are you planning to establish a full-fledge bakery in the future? 

Yes Insha Allah I am planning one, and would love to have the opportunity to set up my own business as a full time venture.

Do you organize special events to promote your services? 

I sometimes have competitions on the other page that I manage: Bakers United. We have competitions and the prizes are usually cakes and cupcakes from 7th Heaven (laughs). I had a special offer on cakes during Eid also. 

Tell us some more about the workshops you organize. 

I started giving classes and workshops because some of my friends requested that I teach them how to make cakes and decorate them. I have classes at home and have conducted a workshop for Mirdif Kids Club at Al Areesh club recently. Whenever I plan classes I post on both 7th Heaven and Bakers United so that people can be informed. 

Photo Credit: 7th Heaven
Step by step illustrated tutorial to create baby shoes in fondant

So you are very active on Facebook!

I have three pages on Facebook! One is of course 7th Heaven which is for commercial purposes where people can order cakes and cupcakes. The other page is Bakers United, which is a place where we share recipes, tips and tricks. I have photo tutorials and step by step albums to help people learn. The other page is just for fun: The Art Of Photography, where people can add their photos, learn how to take photos and just share.

What does the future hold for Erum Khalid? 

Well hopefully I would like to set up my own bakery/cafe sometime in the future if circumstances allow. I would love to make cakes on a regular and full time basis. Lets see!

Photo Credit: 7th Heaven

In one word, if you were: 

A dessert, which would you be? 
Chocolate mousse

A cake filling? 
Dark chocolate ganache

A color? 

A song or music composition?
'Time to say goodbye' Andrea Bocelli

A film?
Masoom (Indian movie)

A famous character (real or fictional)?
Queen Rania

Mamma Mia+Jad

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  1. I am really impressed. Erum has massive talent and is organizing it all so well. thanks for sharing