"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. "
- Anne Bradstreet
‘Cake Canvas – happiness in a box’ is a cake design studio in Kerala, conceived by the immensely talented Anna Austin who is forever pushing the boundaries of cake art to greater heights through ideas that inspire her. The designer strives with each of her creations to reach out and spread happiness to those who view her creations. The artist is heavily influenced by Indian art and this reflects in her stunning cakes. She has been making beautiful designs brimming with life, out of rich chocolate cakes and heavenly sweet fondant for the past seven years.
Anna Austin has mastered the art of People Modeling and has brought the technique to the forefront of Cake designing in India. She is recognized as one among the top in Modelling Excellence as a finalist at the Cake Masters Magazine Awards 2015 and has been the winner of the Modelling Excellence Award at Cakeology 2018. She has also launched the ‘ANNA AUSTIN Modelling Paste’ in collaboration with Sugarin in 2019.
Anna shares her baking journey, “Cake Canvas was born off a deep passion for art and fantastic cakes. My friends wanted a cake which was a combination of art and taste. They had to prod me a little to start me off though. It’s been eight years since I made the first-ever designer cake for my friend’s daughter.”
‘Cake Canvas- happiness in a box’ is not a bakery, it is more like a designer studio for cakes. It offers something much more than a cake for the occasion; these are almost like edible sculpted art pieces, each designed with its own theme.
Every artist needs to find that one outlet which helps them channelize their creative energy. And Anna has definitely found hers. “I tried several mediums before ending up in the right path. I am happy that I have found my niche in ‘Cake Canvas – happiness in a box’ by bringing two great forms of creativity together – Art and Cakes. This helps me to be the artist I was destined to be. More than anything, it is the instant feedback which lures me time and again into this field. Truly, the box does bring happiness to the ones who receive it.” she says.
Apart from the delicious chocolate cakes, Anna loves baking brownies and apple pies. For her, the biggest challenge is the transformation of a creation from a mere idea to a complete structure. This is what keeps her going and makes the profession interesting. But each cake is a fresh challenge to be tackled head-on, she believes.
Elaborating on the challenges, she shares, “The inherent humidity of our coastal region is a major challenge. Usual mediums in edible modelling like chocolate and sugar paste are constantly at the mercy of the elements and wilt at the slightest deviation from the prescribed temperature or humidity. It is the constant search to this malady that made me reach out for something that is easy to mould, manage and shape. ‘ANNA AUSTIN Modelling Paste’ is the result of that quest. This paste can be mended at any stage but at the same time maintains its integrity to keep a petite figurine lively and keep the bounciness of a flowing skirt intact.”
Anna says that her customers inspire her to keep working and her family helps her manage her work-life balance. “A lot of mails reach my inbox saying that my craft has inspired the sender. This is a huge bonus as I never expected this outcome. I would like to continue doing that to the best of my abilities. I’m a home baker. I am blessed with three angels who give me all the space I require for my creativity. My husband Austin Bobby Vadayatt is the pillar who lends a helping hand whenever I’m in need. From mixing the cake batter to kneading the icing to even brainstorming for creative edges he’s always there by my side. As a team we gel just like a Cake Canvas cake – he forms the strong foundation like the chocolate cake and I form the outer layer just like the fondant layer adorning the cake.”
For all the budding bakers out there, Anna has some important advice. “Look inside your basket of talent, rummage around and choose the technique that suits you the best. The cake decorating field is a nascent yet diverse universe with immense possibilities that lay open for its pursuers. This segment in art has a long way to go. So find what you like doing best and try to come up with some innovations. It’s also better to have a strong foundation in the baking field before you venture professionally into it. Later on as you work you would evolve and find your USP. Strive to be the best in that.”
Anna’s goal for the next five years is to scale to unknown heights in cake designing, innovate more and share the knowledge. She conducts classes in different cities in India and is planning to move on to other countries as well. But more than anything, she wants to keep spreading happiness through the Cake Canvas boxes.