“Just Keep the Passion & Fire on, You will eventually find Your way”: Meet Mrs. Amshatha RajKumar, a Self-taught Home Baker from Tirunelveli, on this Mother’s Day

In the world of creativity, Baking finds an extensive space. Baking cannot only be a hobby but it can also be a profession. One can make a business or a successful career in baking as well.

Ahead of Mother’s Day, we had an interaction with Mrs. Amshatha Rajkumar, a self-taught home baker from Tirunelveli. She is the woman behind the home business, ‘Amy’s Cake Studio‘. The Patissier is a former IT professional and graduated in United Kingdom. It is her passion towards baking that made her find a career in it post her marriage. Well, nothing can stop the passion fire that burns within us. Such is the case with Mrs. Amshatha Rajkumar, who is a young and passionate working mom. We are gladdened to have had an interview with her. Read on. . .

Amy's Cake Studio

Excerpts from an interaction with Lifeandtrendz.com:
1. Why did you decide to make a career in baking?

I was working as a HR in an IT company in Chennai earlier. By that time, I was doing baking as a part time and even doing many different things like terracotta, paper quilling and other art-related activities. But then when I was trying baking, I really found my passion in it.

After marriage I settled in Tirunelveli, and also that I thought of why not I pursue baking as fulltime work from home. So, that’s how I started doing it.

2. Tell us about your homemade baking method / How much you enjoy doing it?

I do all types of customized cakes. I really like doing customized ones because I do not want to repeat the same cake designs time and again. So, I ask the customers to send the designs as per their wish which make it more interesting to prepare day by day. As I give a physical structure to what they imagined, it drives me to do more and more. So, customers’ feedback is what keeps me engaging and encouraging to do more.

3. ‘Amy’s Cake Studio’ is now one of the promising homemade cake labels in Tirunelveli. What was the idea behind it? / How did you make it happen?

There was no particular idea behind it. When I came to Tirunelveli after marriage, I had no job to do and became monotonous. I wanted to do something for myself and wanted to keep myself occupied. Since I already have interest on baking and doing it parttime before and started experimenting with cakes, that was how it all begin. All my colleagues encouraged me and their feedbacks initially helped me. So, I thought of why not I start it as a fulltime business just to keep myself occupied.

Check Out her Instagram for more: https://www.instagram.com/amys_cake_studio/

4. Did you take up any baking class or course?

The first time I started baking was when I was pursuing my post-graduation in UK. I tried baking for my friend’s birthday which was a minion design. It came out quite well. While cakes are usually expensive in UK, I thought why not I try it. So, during my leisure time, I used to check out videos related to baking. Well, I am a self-taught baker and didn’t take up any baking class.

My mom was also a baker who use to prepare sponge cakes of her period. I have seen her doing baking but I did not know in depth earlier. Later, when I developed my interest towards it, I made use of my mom’s baking equipment to develop my skill.

Currently, there is Instagram which helps people to know where to get the proper baking equipment. But I struggled a bit hard when I started. I use to get exclusive baking supplies from Chennai with the help of a person who teaches baking. So, I’m getting raw materials for baking regularly from Chennai.

5. Your cakes and cupcakes with miniature frosting designs look so yummy and innovative. What is your creative process to make an innovative and customizable baking get done?

When it comes to customizable cakes, it totally depends on the customers. I focus on for what purpose they are ordering, for what occasion, is it for gift or birthday party and I inquiry their needs. Only then, I refer designs and also ask the customers to send their designs initially to know what exactly they are looking for. Later, I share more designs related to it. I also have my own design-album and if there is new one coming up, I will segregate it as well. So, that it will be easier for me to refer next time.

Themed cupcakes

6. How do you manage rush order?

I will not take up a last-minute or rush orders. I suggest people to avoid asking for customized cake in the last-minute. But if they ask for cupcakes, I will definitely make it because it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. It all depends on the design or theme they ask for. Also, I only take one or two orders a day and I will do the best I can.

7. What was your most-challenging baking project you ever done before?

When I started baking here in Tirunelveli, I took up a wedding cake order. That wedding cake had a dummy layer while I did not have much experience in making cake with dummy layer. The top two layers were real cake while the bottom was dummy (it is not edible). I thought I can try it and it was good that I started two to three days earlier. The cake was a hit but the process behind it was extremely exhausting. I really had to check and experiment with several process. After that, I said no to dummy cakes.

8. You are a mother of a toddler who is only one and half year old. So how are you managing your home-baking time and mother time?

This is easier because I’m doing it from my home itself. I usually do most of the preparation while my son is sleeping. But he only sleeps twice during daytime but he wakes up even before I finish the work. It turns out to be little difficult and so I hired a helper to help me with basic preparation work for baking.

Also, I limited my orders per day so that I can be there for him. Earlier I use to take three to four orders per day, but currently I take up only one order a day. I do not want to overtake and take the pressure on me and show it on my kid and also on my cake. However, I will slowly increase the orders once he grows up.

Earlier, he needed an attention while learning to walk and play. I even started a website for selling brownie and cookies after delivering the baby. I started doing simple recipes so that I can be with my baby and look after my health at the initial stage. This will also help the customers to remember me and my cakes.

Cup cakes & Brownies

Also, I use to start the preparation earlier and keep things ready because my toddler may be cranky sometime or may fall sick anytime. So, keeping the preparations done will help me with the order and make it easy to avoid being restless.

9. How did you manage during your maternity period?

I took a total break during my pregnancy. I also had a C-section and I was not able to work like a normal human being for 3 to 4 months. I did not even know I was able to come back to baking at that time. But then, if you really want something to work, you will definitely find a way for it. It was even more surprise for me all my regular customers sent text messages that they are happy that I’m back after my 8 to 9 months break.

I really had a lot of questions running in my mind when I was in a break. It went as such ‘Will the customers order from me?’ ‘They will be comfortable ordering from another baker by now?’ and so on. But it was overwhelming when I received the messages from my customers.

10. Having your workspace at home, does it get difficult to manage your personal time?

Not really. Earlier, when I started with a baby, I found it difficult. I did not know how to manage everything at home. For babies, a mother does everything. As time went, I was able to manage. So, I have a schedule now. I have my mother-in-law, and the helper with me at home. They help me with things at home. It took sometime for me to figure out.

11. Have you ever developed a new recipe? If so, what was it? / How did you prepare it and how was the response to it?

I usually try different recipes but I do not sell everything to the customers. It is all about trail and error basis. I initially did not how to bake buns and breads. During the lockdown period, I used to try preparing a slice of bread or bun or different types of stuffed bun every day. There were mistakes every time and only later, I figured out the mistakes.

I did not want to sell it but I do it for my friends and family alone. The preparation for bun and breads is very time consuming. It was very difficult for me to understand the science behind it. And a lot of experiments went behind it.

Initially, my close ones asked me not to try buns because it did not taste good at first. But I did not stop but figured out and made it later.

12. What do you think is an essential skill that a baker should imbibe?

Patience is the most important thing for baking. I think anyone who wants to do baking needs patience because you need to wait for the cake to bake first of all. There are people who use to keep on opening the oven which may affect the texture of your cake. From baking to decoration, you need patience to do it and so a baker should develop it indeed. You do not need to be a patient person to do it but you just have to be patient in your art.

13. Can we expect a physical store for ‘Amy’s Cake Studio’?

Yes, we are actually planning for it but not as of now. May be in a few years of time, we are planning on a café. It is my dream, of course. But I do not know how long it is going to take. I even have a vision and name for it which will be called as ‘Amy’s Cake House.’ So, I’m imaginarily developing recipes and ambience for it. It will, of course, be in Tirunelveli because that is where I started doing everything and where I received a lot of support.

14. What will you say to mom-to-be(s) and new moms who want to be financially independent?

You definitely need support. You cannot do everything on your own because you are a mom now and you need somebody to take care of you first. Because you have gone through a lot physically, mentally and emotionally. Giving birth to a child and raising them are not very easy, it is very difficult and very few people understand that. People from your home should support and you will also need some external support so that you can truly rely on them and then you can carry on with your work.

If you think you can do everything on your own. It is definitely not possible through my experience. Because your body has certain constraints and you cannot over do it. You have to balance everything because if you fall sick, everything falls apart. It is good to have a helper or ask for help. But then do not give up the fire within you, you will definitely able to do it. You just have to figure out how.

You should know your baby’s routine. When you do it, the baby will naturally get to know your personal time and work time. This will not happen overnight. You will have to train them. You have to make them understand and you have to keep on telling them. It is similar to how the father goes to office. The baby understands his father’s work as he goes out in the morning and comes back in the evening. Similarly, they will start to understand that mom has to work now and she will come and play with me later.

It definitely requires patience. It may be overwhelming and you do not want to do anything. But then you can do it. I even had the mom’s guilt and lots of questions regarding the baby. But for a person like me, who wants to keep myself occupied, I cannot sit doing nothing. So, I want to do something for myself which keeps me happy. Initially, you will have to ask for help and eventually, your child will understand what mom is doing or what dad is doing.

And when you do your work at home, it is even more easier as you have flexible working atmosphere. Just keep the passion and fire on, you will eventually find a way to do it.

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