When we first came across the creations of Manasi Nandini Deshpande, we simply lost our words. They looked beautiful and were quite tempting. Later, we came to know that she is only 23! Well, age is just a number, and Manasi proves that once again. And, if we have the will to succeed then we can achieve a lot even at a young age. Manasi Nandini Deshpande is a creative cake artist by profession. She is also the proud owner of her Pune-based home bakery Tricks ‘n’ Treats which started operations in the year 2014. Within a small span of time, Manasi managed to build a successful customer base of happy clients, and she considers each and every happy client to be her success. The encouraging feedbacks from the clients inspire her to bake better. And, she is getting even better with every passing day.
Today, Manasi Nandini Deshpande, the young home baker and cake artist from Pune, joins us in this interview session of conflatingVisions. In this conversation, she shares her inspiring story with our readers.
Hi Manasi, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To begin with, we would like to know a few lines about you.
I’m 23, and a cake artist by profession. I’ve done my Bachelors in Psychology from Fergusson College, Pune.
Manasi, how did you get introduced to baking?
When I was in the 9th, my Mom bought a new microwave and there was a small cookbook that came with it. The book had really easy looking recipes, but their chocolate-walnut cake recipe was the one that looked the best and I just had to try making it. Since then I was so fascinated with baking, that I never really stopped.
How was your first baking experience?
It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Haha.
I had an ideal picture in my head – make the batter, put it in the microwave and a perfect cake will come out. But it definitely involved a lot of trial and error. A lot of cake batter overflowing from the tin, the remaining cake becoming too hard.
When did you decide to take up baking as your profession? What motivated you to take this big step?
I started getting requests to make different kinds of designer cakes as well as different flavoured ones while I was still doing my BA. Naturally, I thought it would be just a hobby and may be I could do it part-time or if at all time permitted. But eventually, I started to realize that I was more inclined towards cake decorating, and wanted to explore so much more of it. So after I finished my Bachelors, instead of applying for Masters, I decided to take up baking full-time.
Throughout this, my Mom was my biggest motivator. She was very much supportive.
Tell us about your baking venture Tricks ‘n’ Treats.
When I first started my venture Tricks ‘n’ Treats, I used to make chocolates with lots of different fillings and flavours. Then I got my first cake order from a family friend for their daughter’s first birthday. And they wanted a fondant cake. Something I’d never done before! So I had to do a lot of research on fondant cakes and cakes in general, right from getting some raw materials that I had never used, to making fondant and decorating the cake.
So that’s when I started experimenting with fondant and other mediums of decorating cakes. Now I mainly do fondant and ganache cakes, and a lot of variety of flavours in cupcakes. I always try to make every cake different and unique.
In what ways do you try to be creative in baking?
In every single cake, there is some creative aspect involved. Over time, I’ve realized that you don’t always need a big cake to make it look good. What I really like is to add little details to even the smallest cakes or cupcakes that will make them come to life.
What are the signature products of Tricks ‘n’ Treats? Which one is your personal favourite?
Some of Tricks ‘n’ Treats’ signature flavours are lemon mint, white mint, coffee pecan, spiced banana (with homemade spices).
But, my personal favourite is a simple classic vanilla cake with white chocolate ganache.
Manasi, what are some of the craziest cake designs that you have done so far?
I have some amazingly creative customers who love to experiment with cake designs. But by far the craziest cake design has been that of a plastered leg!
Some other really crazy (and cool) designs I’ve gotten to make would be the Chicken Biryani cake (took around 3 hours to just make the sugar rice for the biryani), a Typewriter cake, a Bharatnatyam dress cake and a jewellery cake (which took close to 14 hours to make!).
Manasi, we all know how success stories of an individual play an important part in his/her growth. We would love to know some of your success stories that have inspired you to bake better.
I think every happy client of Tricks ‘n’ Treats is a success. Their wonderful feedbacks motivate me to work harder. I truly believe that it’s not about the number of likes or comments you get on social media, but the amount of effort you put in and seeing people really happy with it is what keeps you satisfied and pushes you to do more.
What is the biggest challenge that you have faced so far? How did you overcome the challenge?
One of the biggest challenges is certain clients who take you for granted. Cancel orders last minute, or do not come to collect their cakes for a day or two.
But now I’m making an effort to be much much more professional with clients, and take a full advance payment.
What plans do you have to further scale up your baking business?
I definitely do plan to scale up, but only when I can assure that every cake that goes out from Tricks ‘n’ Treats will still have the same finesse and quality that it does right now.
Your tips to those who want to become professional cake artists…
I’d say, if you really want to become a professional cake artist, you have to be willing enough to take in a lot of ups and downs and a lot of trial and error. If you’re passionate enough, it will definitely work out. But don’t do it because it’s just fascinating or looks “fun and easy”, ‘cos as opposed to popular belief, cake artists don’t spend all their time eating yummy cakes. Haha!
Anything else you want to share…
To all those who keep asking for classes and tutorials on every possible cake – try it out on your own. The best outcome will be from your imagination.
And, one last question of this session Manasi, if you have had one wish…
I’d love my Mom to join me full-time because she bakes wonderful cakes!