Nazia Ali is a professional baker and is the founder of Baking Express, a home bakery in Bangalore. To learn baking, she mostly relies on the baking resources available on the web space to a large extent. And, Nazia still does that to refine her baking skills. She, however, has a wish to learn baking from the best tutors in this field at the top culinary schools in the world.
Nazia Ali started Baking Express on January 15, 2014. Her career as a professional baker has not even crossed 3 years, but still, she has managed to establish Baking Express as a successful brand catering to homemade customized cakes and cupcakes in Bangalore.
Before starting her journey as a professional baker, Nazia Ali worked as a Medical Coder for 2 years. To tell us about her entrepreneurial journey, Nazia, the talented home baker from Bangalore joins us in this interview session with conflatingVisions today. Her story is inspiring and we hope this post would inspire many of you to follow your passions!
Hi Nazia, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To start with, we would request you to introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi! I am Nazia Ali, and I am a Cake Artist, a Baker and the Founder of “Baking Express” – A special destination for homemade customized cakes and cupcakes in Bangalore. It’s my dream and passion. Basically, I am a home baker. I am a Mother of two little munchkins. The elder one is 6 years and the younger one is 3 years old.
How did you get introduced to baking?
This BAKING BUG accidentally stung me when I saw one of my friends bake a cake for her son on his birthday. I too wanted to do one for my kids. Before that, I did not know much about baking. I started searching new cake baking recipes to try them out in my kitchen. Soon I bought an OTG and invested in few baking pans and basic tools. But, I never imagined that this small new found passion for baking would lead to the starting up of the “Baking Express”.
Nazia, how was your first baking experience?
I baked for the very first time for my kids. It was a Chocolate Cake which turned out to be good enough for a beginner. Later, I started trying new baking recipes. I started baking for my friends and families and my works were appreciated by all.
I learnt most of the things on baking from internet searching and by trying out different recipes have helped me to improve my baking skills.
When did you decide to become a professional baker? What motivated you to take this step?
I always believe God has his own plans set for you. Having my Masters Degree in Microbiology, I was working as a Medical Coder for 2 years. After 2 kids, full time job became a distant dream for me. Motherhood was taking most of my time. But still I wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to have my own identity.
As I said, I never had plans to get into this field, I somehow got hooked to baking and started baking for my family and friends and gradually this thing turned into my full-time job. Through word of mouth it spread and I started getting small orders. Then as time passed, more orders came my way. I finally found out that THIS IS THE ONE thing I wanted to make it as a career.
My parent’s blessings and my hubby’s support have been the most powerful thing that was pushing me to move forward with my DREAMS. Later officially, I launched my business on January 15, 2014 through my Facebook Page. Since then, I have never looked back!
When I started as a professional baker, Fondant was a new medium in the Indian market. I did not want to be left behind. So, I took very basic Fondant classes from two good tutors in this field to enhance my skills. Later, it was all different challenges that my customers kept on giving me in terms of designs which I kept doing and delivering them with the best of my ability. Practice makes you perfect as the saying says…
Tell us about Baking Express.
Baking Express is my 3rd baby which I want to nourish with utmost care and love.
“Baking Express” is a special destination for homemade customized cakes and cupcakes in Bangalore. The best part of this business is that I directly or indirectly become part of so many people’s special moments through my cakes. It gives me immense satisfaction to make someone happy. I want people to remember me as someone who has brought a big smile on their face on their special days. Someone who is honest and committed to her work. I use high quality baking ingredients to make a big difference in the taste and texture of my final products.
How do you go about innovating on the baking recipes?
I keep experimenting. I keep learning from trials and errors and start coming out with my recipes that works well for me. Luckily every time I bake, I get good response from my customers.
What are some of your signature products? Which one is your personal favourite?
Baking Express’ signature chocolate truffle is a hit among the customers. My strawberry flavoured cake is also well received among my customers. My personal favorite is the chocolate truffle, it is also my family’s personal favourite.
What are some of the difficult and challenging cake designs that you have done so far?
I have been trying out different cake designs ever since I started as a professional baker. The first challenging cake which is my personal favorite too was a real size DSLR Camera cake I did for a customer. And my designer barbie cakes are most sought-after! I give a lot of detailings to my cakes designs and at the end, my customers get more than their expectations.
Please share some cake baking ideas and baking tips that you find quite beneficial.
Most important thing I learnt about baking is that it’s a Science. We should understand the reasons how each baking ingredients in particular baking recipes work and what difference they make to the final product. Tweaking recipes randomly will lead to failures. So follow the recipe carefully and make changes if required. From choosing the right oven to the right tools are quite important.
Moreover, cake art is really a big field; it’s always evolving, everyday new techniques and new ideas are coming up. So, a lot of learning, mastering many skills has gone into my growth and still I have to learn a lot.
Nazia, narrate some of your success stories that have inspired you to bake better.
Still a long way to go but I was fortunate enough to bake for big names like Flipkart, fashion brand IDENTITI’s commercial street store anniversary, NVT Quality Lifestyle Group, a reunion meet and Founder’s day at Prestigious Garden City College, Bangalore.
What are your present challenges? In what ways are you trying to overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me was to find a way to balance my family’s responsibility and my dreams. Luckily, I had my full family support to pursue my passion. To procure good baking and decorating tools, quality baking ingredients were few other challenges which I faced in this field. I overcame them with time. India is still in evolving stage with very few good quality imported products available here as compared to other markets like US and UK. But market is slowly opening up which is a good news for professional bakers like us.
Other challenge initially was to bring my venture into a bigger market and to get customers. But with blessings of God that worry was also short lived. Now I have full months booked in advance. God has been kind to me.
What plans do you have to further scale up your baking business?
As of now, my Baking Express is a one woman army. It’s just me who manages everything from my humble home.
But in future, I do have plans to start baking classes, baking workshops, and invest in bigger setup to achieve larger volumes of business. I have been fortunate enough to get quite a lot of orders and have been able to deliver them successfully. With 2 small kids still I’m taking small steps now.
Anything else you want to share…
Follow your passion, stay focused and never give up! Commitment, Honesty and Hard work is a key to my success and growth. Have faith in God and all will fall into place.
And, one last question of this session Nazia, if you have had one wish…
I’m quite happy with the way my business has grown over these years. But yes, I too have a wish like many others. There are so many things in this field to learn.
And, I want to learn them at the top culinary schools from the best tutors of the world. Hopefully it gets fulfilled in the days to come.