Published: 22nd January 2020
Meet the home baker who introduced the Brazilian Brigadeiro to Chennai
Kay Roberts, the founder of the Chennai-based online baking line Kay's Bakes, talks about how she ended up in the baking business
Brazilian Brigadeiro Cake
Being an ardent fan of desserts, Kay Roberts upon leisurely researching cakes and desserts from around the world, discovered the Brazilian Brigadeiro Cake. Fascinated by the skills required to make this cake, she looked for a place in Chennai that baked the Brigadeiro, only to find out that none did. Curiosity and interest paved the way for her to become the first baker to introduce the Brazilian Brigadeiro Cake in Chennai. “Most bakers sell truffles which look similar to the Brigadeiro but not the Brigadeiros themselves. But it feels good to have been the first baker in Chennai who has introduced Brazilian Brigadeiros to the people here. I wish to bake more desserts from around the world,” she says.
Kay’s Bakes is an online baking line started by home baker Kay Roberts, an Instrumentation and Control engineering and MBA graduate who has no form of educational background in cooking. Being the 12-year-old bibliophilic child that she was, her Enid Blyton reading came to a halt when she was handed a recipe book instead and that was when her desire for baking emerged. “What caught my attention with this book was that it was written in the form of an autobiography. It was a lady who shared her everyday life stories and how she came up with a different cake recipe each time for her family. Truly what attracted me to that book was her story. As I got attracted to her life, the cakes became significant,” she said.
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Kay claims that her love for desserts, cakes, chocolates were satiated by her grandfather spoiling her with treats he brought from different countries, that he traveled to for conferences. “I used to get sudden dessert cravings. I sought to satisfy them from bakeries or shops available in Chennai. But to my dismay, I never liked them. I was looking for rich, decadent cakes and desserts and not the light and fluffy ones with fresh cream. When I realized I couldn't get it here, I started googling recipes and that's how I got hooked to baking!”
Feeling out of place and unhappy in the IT industry, Kay quit her job and began her venture in baking. “When I was at home for a few months, I baked a cake for a friend. She was very impressed and suggested that I put up a menu so that she can order from me when she needed it. I truly wasn't interested at first. I thought it was a crazy idea! But she insisted that she pay for her cakes. So I put up a menu. The rest is history. Owning a baking line was not in mind but baking has always been a passion,” she adds.
12 layer Medovik / Russian Honey Cake
She explains how being a home baker, delivering her orders posed as the biggest challenge initially. “It was hard to find someone to deliver across the city when an order came in. As I had just started I couldn't afford to pay a monthly salary. So they would get a small amount of money from individual orders,” she explains. Kay now has a person she pays to help with the delivery of orders after she got a hold on the distribution of her finances. When asked what motivated her to make baking her full-time profession, she said, “Slowly I started getting enough orders to keep me busy the whole month. That's when I realized that I wanted this to be my full-time profession.”
One of the primary ways to attract customers is to showcase what the seller can offer. And this basic idea can be very hard to achieve, in terms of satisfying their needs and wants. “New designs and trends come up from around the world from creative bakers. When customers look at these images, they request the same design or cake. I get inspired mainly through social media and I try to keep up with what designs are popular. Currently, the drip cake design is highly requested,” she adds. A drip cake design is the addition of a thin layer of a specifically flavoured cream or syrup spreading over the cake to create a drip frosting effect.
Cookies n Cream (Oreo Cake)
Kay’s area of study during her MBA was Human Resource Management and Marketing. “Without my knowledge, it has laid a foundation for my business,” she says when asked if her studying Business Management was in any way beneficial to her baking line.
Just like any other young graduate, Kay states that she was very ignorant of the entrepreneurship world as a student. “During my MBA studies, we had many guest speakers who came to talk about entrepreneurship. I slept during most of those sessions! I was so ignorant of the word itself. When people would ask how many wish to be entrepreneurs, I didn't even know what that word meant. But once in school, a guest speaker told us that it's a noble thing to be able to provide people jobs,” she explains. This inspired Kay so much that she aspires to provide people with jobs herself with regard to her business. “Passion drives entrepreneurship, be it in any field. Also, necessity is the mother of invention!”
Although setting up of outlets might take some years and also requires manpower, Kay strongly aspires to have a physical store. “I would like to take some time to grow as a home baker and then think about this seriously. But it's definitely a dream,” she says.
Tier Puppy Cake, inspired by Ivenoven
“I have become a better human being. I have learnt patience, tolerance, humility. Dealing with people from different walks of life is very new to me. Kay’s Bakes has given me this platform to reach out to them. It has also made me stronger than before,” says Kay Roberts with regard to the impact her business has had on her as an individual, let alone an entrepreneur.