Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cupcake Queen...

Weekends are a sheer delight, but we are here to add more happiness to your relaxed state of mind. How? Well, AWSW is started it's yet another interesting and 'Yum' series named, "Women at Their Confectionery Best"! Of course, we don't need to explain it further.
So, what can be the best thing in this series that we can start with? Yes, it is the Cupcakes that is the talk of the town, and Gurgaon-based Nadia Suryanath, Owner, CupnCake Factory probably knows what goes best when it comes to sweet tooth...

Nadia Suryakanth, Owner, CupnCake Factory...
Cupcakes are a big trend in India now, and we can see many women trying their hands on it. Be it a woman from the corporate world, or from the world of music, which is what Nadia's background happens to be, cupcakes is one thing that is driving them crazy. and, that's one of the reasons why we decided to kickstart our series with the most trendy confectionery of the present day.
Now, before we move to the profile of the lady of this feature, let's get a grip on some basic facts related to cupcakes. While west is much more aware of this tasty dessert, India is still trying to figure what exactly cupcakes are. as in Nadia's own words a lot of people come to her store looking for 'Pastries'. " People come to us for pastries and cakes. They ask us if we have the cake that has those layers and layers of whipped cream, in the triangular shape. We have to tell them that we are cupcake store, and then they sort of feel like trying this new round cake," reveals Nadia. So, what exactly a cupcake is? Look at the picture (side), this is just a round piece of cake, sans any icing. It's the baked flour with sugar and the flavour, and the colour. But the moment you add the nice and innovative butter cream icing on it with a cute little fondant, it turns into a yum cupcake... But, what's the reason that people have started liking it so much. " You see all over the world this business is started by young entrepreneurs, especially ladies. If they can afford, they immediately start their cupcake store. They might just keep one or two like mud cake or chocolate cake, but then, it's a huge hit among youngsters. Probably, it's because of the decoration, it's very catchy. Also, it's a perfect on-the-go type snack, not unhealthy (except the butter cream, which is again fine if not your daily diet)," said Nadia.

Well, no doubt, looking at the beautiful cups, filled with such tempting treat, one can make out why the trend has suddenly picked up. But, then with so many women trying their hands on this confectionery, what makes Nadia different? " See, I won't call myself a trained chef, as I have studied engineering,  and pursued music from the US. I am a classical pianist, and later got into commercial music. But baking is something that I have been doing from childhood. After marriage when I shifted to India, I wanted to do something interesting, and i realized that cupcake is new, and becoming a trend. I learnt the basics, but wanted to try my own signature. Like, I make my own fondant, we add some interesting sprinkles. Our fondants are quite creative, and have a balance of sugar. Lots of kids keep asking for it. So, it feels good. I still miss my music, as I was recording and doing all that stuff of my interest. But, when I shifted to Kuwait with my parents, I saw this whole cupcake thing picking up there. I fent an instant connect to that!"
The Touch of Perfection...
 And, she continued narrating her journey, while we were busy trying her different cupcakes that she had kept ready with the elegant touch of butter cream, and flower fondants. "After my marriage, when I shifted to India (Gurgaon), it was all new to me. I was getting bored. I thought to study designing (icing), and went to Sri Lanka for that. And, in 2012, I started my own brand.
Absolute Delight

In-between, we tried Carrot, Chocolate, and Raspberry cupcakes, with different icings (butter cream to whipped cream). You need to trust us now, they were simply delicious. Full of freshness, light, and fluffy. There was no sight of extra sugar at any part of the cupcake. Be it fondant, the cream, or the cake, everything was perfectly balanced. If the taste is amazing, and confectionery is good, does that mean the sail is smooth? Look what Nadia has to say. " Initially people were not ready to pay, they found it expensive, as according to then at the same price they could get a pastry too. So, it was a challenge. Also, you need to practice a lot, you need to experiment with a lot of flavours, you need to learn recipes, as the courses never teach you the right recipes. You have to find your own way to success," told Nadia.
Well, she is right! As with experience she learnt that when it comes to a market, people need more. Also, with her language is also a big issue, as she cannot speak in Hindi, but can understand.
One of the B'Day Cakes at the Store...
And, as a woman she realized that if you show respect, people give you respect. If you show attitude, or are demanding, men around don't take it easily, and that's when women entrepreneurs get into trouble. This is something that she learnt with her experience with authorities while setting up her store. We asked her what kept her going? " Well, my husband has been there with me. Also, he bring from the advertising background, he takes care of all the branding and packaging. My biggest challenge, particularly in the Indian market was to tune in to the Indian tastes. I never wanted to do cakes, but then I realized that a lot of people are always looking for creative B'day cakes, and that's when I decided to start with that too. i feel I'm still growing, and it's not fair to say no to what people are demanding."
This Monkey is Edible too!!

Whatever is the challenge that Nadia might have faced initially, but looking at her store, and the footfall that we observed during our 2 hour long stay there, we can say with confidence that people are getting hooked to her style of cupcakes. It's just a matter of time when people will come to CupnCake Factory not for pastries or Birthday cakes... but, just for the cute little cupcakes!!

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