“I love simple cakes. Whichever cake I make, I want people to want to immediately cut a big slice and eat it!” says LAKSHMI RATISH, Owner and Baker at VANILLA BEAN CAKES, Tripunithura.
My introduction to Lakshmi’s baked delights was truly serendipitous in nature. Many months ago, my boss walked in with a box full of cute little chocolate cupcakes. As corny as it may sound, it was love at first bite! I had yet to taste a cake as moist as the one I was chomping on! And that buttercream! It was something special indeed! Unfortunately, the box didn’t have a label and I was left floundering for a little while. A few hours later, after a ton of enquiries I finally zoned in on Lakshmi and Vanilla Bean Cakes.
In my quest for good food and terrific food entrepreneurs, I always like to shine the spotlight on those who want the edibles they make to create a difference. Lakshmi is one such person! “More than anything else, my research is on how to make my cakes as moist as possible. I don’t use any artificial ingredients to do the work for me. Naturally enhanced moistness is the key factor I focus on when I bake my cakes.”
And moist it is! Lakshmi’s cakes have this fantastic combination of textures which I love! Her cakes are dense but with a moistness that is beyond compare! That is the kind of cake I love indulging in! Before settling in Cochin, Lakshmi was an HR manager working in a leading oil and gas company. She came into baking purely by chance, again serendipitous! A horrible mishap with her daughter’s first birthday cake led her to vow that only she would bake her daughter’s birthday cakes in the future. One thing led to another and for over 3 years, Lakshmi has been baking for her family and friends. Finally in 2015, Vanilla Bean Cakes took root and there has been no turning back.
“I’m someone who cannot sit idle. I constantly want to keep myself engaged in something or the other” she says as she sat on the couple rapidly shaking her foot “The orders for my cakes and cupcakes come from mostly word of mouth. I’ve been blessed to have many repeat clients.”
The home baking scene is quite competitive in Cochin and Lakshmi agrees as well. “There are so many enterprising home bakers in Cochin! The competition is intense. What I feel that if what you give your customer is tasty, then they will keep coming back to you. I love that customers are slowly straying from the usual chocolate and vanilla and trying to experiment with various flavours and types of cakes. I personally love naked cakes!”
Lakshmi has one basic cake flavour: Vanilla, which is a special recipe which she tweaks to produce a myriad of different flavours and textures. Her forte is heavy, dense moist cake and I for one am not complaining. She recalled some of her top favourite cake orders. “One of my most favourite orders was an orange clutch bag I made for a customer’s fiancée. He was just getting to know her and asked me to make a cake in the form of her favourite clutch purse in her favourite colour, orange. It came out well. This has infact turned out to be one of my signature cakes.”
Lakshmi focuses on simple cakes that look homemade and taste delicious. Vanilla Bean Cakes has baked goodies for every budget. “I love doing tall cakes! They are so pretty! Customers are slowly getting attuned to varieties and that’s a relief because there are so many things I want to try” gushes Lakshmi. But it’s not been a pleasure trip all along. There have been several challenges that have been overcome, especially as mum to a rather energetic pre schooler. Word of mouth is considered to be the most effective medium but Lakshmi agrees that she needs to up her online promotions. As a staunch believer doing things yourself, Lakshmi has come a long way as a home baker. “Learning on your own gives your cakes a signature touch. There is a lot of research that goes into perfecting a recipe and I enjoy it!”
Lakshmi had a hoard of goodies waiting for me to sample. A box of RED VELVET AND CREAM CHEESE BROWNIES, they were super moist and chewy with the knobs of cream cheese adding a lovely tanginess that cuts through the rich red velvet.
Another flavour profile with the red velvet was a box of RED VELVET CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE. It may sound like just another cupcake but oh wow! The moist factor is out of this world!
The final box contained some BLUEBERRY CUPCAKES WITH LEMON BUTTERCREAM. The cake was as always dense yet moist with hidden jewels of blueberries, topped with a seriously delicious lemon buttercream frosting!
Lakshmi had only encouragement for all home bakers and home makers who are would be food entrepreneurs in the making “Do not sit idle. Every person is born with a unique talent, all you have to do is use it! So take that first step, you will thank yourself that you did!”
For orders please call: 9995147119
Visit Vanilla Bean Cakes at: www.instagram.com/vanillabeancakescochin