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A home filled with the aroma of freshly baked goodies is bound to be a happy one. Devouring baked goodies is a source of joy and no celebration is complete without a cake. Besides, baking for many is a go to stress buster. For 9-year-old Kushagra Sharma, his mother's baking won him many friends. Nikki's cookie creamed cake is a particular favourite with Kushagra's friends that has even helped resolve tussles. The Mumbai-based mother-son duo join Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay on Amma Superstar to bake the famous cookie creamed cake recipe. Meanwhile, for Guwahati-based Rakhi Ganeriwal, baking became her ticket to financial independence. The 39-year-old mother of two daughters shares notes from her home baking turned business journey.

Trial and error
Baking wasn't the first choice for Rakhi. When she separated from her husband in 2012, earning a livelihood was an immediate necessity. "I tried everything and anything I could think of at that time," she says. Before she stumbled upon baking, Rakhi tried her hand at science experiment classes, summer camps and tuitions for school students among other things. She set up a small clothes shop in the garage where she was living with her daughters. "I even tried making soap," she says. While she has been cooking from a young age, Rakhi had not tried baking yet. Her experiments turned to chocolate which finally led her to bake a cake one day. "My elder daughter, Devanshi, loved how it tasted and the decorations, and suggested that I should turn to a business of chocolates and cakes," recollects Rakhi. Thus, Trishas Chokola was born.


Internet-friendly
Being net-savvy came in handy during Rakhi's journey. The first cake she baked was made from a recipe she found on the internet. The self-taught baker learnt baking techniques by watching videos on YouTube. "After Devanshi's encouragement, I started taking a lot of recipes from the internet. I used to tweak them around and soon I had my own recipes. I made several types of chocolates, desserts and cakes," says Rakhi. A social media presence helped Rakhi spread the word further. She regularly updates her Facebook and Instagram pages with the latest pictures of her baked creations. Not only have local newspapers in Guwahati featured Rakhi several times, she was also in the top 20 of Masterchef India 4. Today, she is a cake partner with Ferns & Petals, taking cake orders received at all their Guwahati outlets.

Constructive criticism
Rakhi's baking journey officially kicked off in 2014. Four years on, she single-handedly bakes around 6 to 7 cakes a day. Over the years, she has remained open to feedback from her clients. "Everyday is not a baker's day," she says. "I did receive criticism from clients but I invite it. I ask them to tell me if they didn't like something or where I went wrong." Making it a point to work on the feedback received has been key to Rakhi's journey.

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Learning on the go
While she had begun to master baking at home, turning it into a business was a whole new ballgame which came with its own set of learnings. Talking of her initial stumbling blocks, Rakhi says, "When I started home delivery there were a few hiccups." She tied up with a courier company but soon began receiving complaints about the cake's condition when it finally reached the client. "I was looking at it as the courier company's responsibility to deliver the package in a good condition but of course for the client, it was my responsibility." Now, Rakhi has hired help for home deliveries and gets them delivered by cab.

Constantly evolving
Rome was not built in a day nor was Rakhi's home baking business. "It didn't happen in a day and I have been improving with time," she says. For instance, the softness of the cake improved over the years. "Earlier the cake didn't turn out as soft as it does now. Technique and ingredient proportions are very important in baking so I constantly worked to improve myself in those areas by trying to understand what I was getting wrong," she says. Her cake designs have also evolved over time. "I make my own designs. If you see my earlier posts on social media and compare them to the more recent ones, you will see the improvement."

Home bakers Nikki Sharma and Rakhi Ganeriwal joined Chef Pallavi Nigam Sahay on Amma Superstar to share their cake recipes. Watch Amma Superstar on Living Foodz every Tuesday and Wednesday at 2.30 pm. Catch the repeat telecast every Tuesday and Wednesday at 5 pm and 8 pm.

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