Good evening My wonderful bakers and cake lovers. Thank God It’s Friday! Enough grooving and catching up this evening and in fact through out the weekend…For me, I’ll be catching up with lots of bakers, peeping into their ovens and getting caught in the act…Its fun for me and Its working for Naija bakers.
In today’s segment of the Naija Bakers’ Diary Series, I found another new generation sensation in the Naija baking industry. I love it when baker hit the ground running and this baker did just that. In less than a year in the industry, she has made so much impact and has been seen by most cake lovers as a talent to showcase….
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Barbara Okereke, Sugar artist and CEO of Oven Secret. She has a lot to tell us in this interview section so I suggest you sit down, relax and read her lips here……
May we know your name and Business name and where you are based?
My name is Barbara Okereke. My Business name is Oven Secret. I started off in Port Harcourt, but presently a month old in Lagos.
When (the year) did you start this Cake Biz?
I official kicked off my cake business on the 1ST of October 2015. So basically, I am 9 months old in the cake industry.
What are the things that prompted you to start up your Cake Biz as in How your love for cake decorating started?
Frankly, I had absolutely no idea I will end up as a cake designer. Cake decorating was never in the plan. The First driving factor was my inability to clinch a job after I completed my master’s degree programme. Secondly, I had this flair for arts and craft right from inception. I used to draw, carve and create art related objects for fun. Confused about what to settle for, sewing? Makeup artistry? Art illustration? I randomly came across the famous Yolanda Gampp’s videos on YouTube, picked interest immediately and BOOM! That was it! Later that week, I searched online for a cake decorating school around me. I enrolled and trained at Fair Cake premier school, Greenwich, London, and here we are.
What was the first official job you remembered making as a Cake designer and how did you feel then?
My first official job was for a family friend, who wanted a medical doctor themed cake. I felt a bit uneasy and uncertain on whether things would turn out perfect. Thankfully, the outcome wasn’t as bad as I expected.
Can you tell us your greatest challenges in the Cake Biz or the ups and downs you have faced as a Cake designer?
HMMM…. Transporting cakes from one state to another. Well stacked and ready to hit the road but then again, we never know what to expect, order than to keep our fingers crossed till the client receives it in one piece.
Secondly, sourcing for those rare cake accessories that make the work easier and faster. I mean the cutters, moulds, cake toppers etc.… one is forced to pre-order and wait for so long before having access to them. It’s really frustrating.
What’s your greatest cake decorating triumph?
I honestly think my greatest cake decorating triumph its yet to occur. Until then………
How would you describe your decorating style?
Simplicity does it for me. Not leaving of out a classy, neat and unique finishing.
What favourite Cakes do you enjoy baking and decorating and also the favourite colours you love working with?
I enjoy baking red velvet cakes. My favourite colours; baby pink, white, royal blue and gold.
What are the benefits (gains) you have reaped as a Cake designer or your greatest achievements?
Brand awareness!!! Broadened vision!!! Also, Increased knowledge, as a result of continuous practice. I have been opportune to meet people and establish relationships.
A lot of people shy off cakes for health reasons and avoiding sugar. Are there options for these classes of people?
There are lots of options, even though the end product might not necessarily turn out as it would using the regular ingredient. Sugar can be swapped with honey, oatmeal with flour, milk with Greek yogurt, artificial flavours with natural flavours (fruits) etc.
What would you say is one of the biggest lessons you have learnt in your career as a cake designer?
Patience is Virtue! It makes me get the best results. Also, Planning.
What’s your most treasured piece of cake decorating tool or kit?
What’s your advice to upcoming cake designers in the Nigerian Cake Industry?
– Learning never ends. Keep improving yourself
– Quit comparison. Every one started as an amateur, and we all are on a journey. We all have our distinct strengths and weaknesses.