"Everything in the universe goes by indirection. There are no straight lines. "
- Ralph Emerson
“Be true to your profession. Don’t be a jack of all trades and master of none.” – Ashlesha Phatak
Be a master of one thing and keep updating yourself in it. The mechanical engineer and french translator turned master baker Ashlesha Phatak truly practises what she preaches. Why, you wonder? Because she does something not many bakers do. Known for offering unique cake flavours and creative designs, Ashlesha specializes in alcoholic cakes. Yes, you heard that right! Superb cake flavours mixed with the right type of alcohol. If you’re someone who loves cakes with a unique twist of alcohol then you’ll definitely adore her stunning, delicious cakes.
Speaking about how “Indulgence”, her baking business was born, she says, “I had started it for a cause. Whatever I earn from my baking business, I donate a part of it for the betterment of stray animals. These donations are in the form of food and money. I really wanted to help these animals and this was the reason behind starting Indulgence.”
One look at her Instagram page and you won’t be able to stop scrolling! Move over rum balls. You’ll find distinctive cakes like Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake, Alcoholic Opera Cake, Champagne and Strawberry Cake and many more such delectable ones. “My focus is mainly on the flavours. Alcohol and cakes go very well together, if you get the right flavour combinations and the right technique. When I started my baking business, there was no market for alcoholic cakes. But slowly I started experimenting with this niche cake category and it just clicked with people. They were extremely eager for it. Today, I can make any cake as per the client’s requirement.”, says Ashlesha.
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She elaborates, “I just spread the word among my friends first and that’s how my clientele grew. People were quite excited to try out these cakes.” This talented baker also makes regular non-alcoholic cakes for her clients. When asked about how she manages between her work and family life, she says, “My family members are my support system. Also, when you have a passion that you’re pursuing, you automatically learn to manage everything. At work, I am a one-man army; I do everything myself. My daughter does calligraphy so sometimes she helps me by writing the messages on the cakes, making birthday tags and other writing stuff. But this is just a small part, the rest I do it myself.
Ashlesha believes she is too much of a perfectionist when it comes to her work, so she doesn’t take any last-minute cake orders. Pre-planning every cake is her way of approaching her work. “The clients have to place their orders at least five to six days in advance. Even though I don’t do theme cakes, I have very different designs for my cakes. All of them are made from scratch, I don’t use any pre-mixes so I need that much time to make each cake. The bestseller among my cakes is the Bailey’s Irish Cream Cake”, she says.
If there’s a whisk, there’s a way. One advice Ashlesha gives to people is, “Be true to your profession. There are no shortcuts to fame. Work hard and concentrate on what you are best at. Don’t be a jack of all trades and master of none.”