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The dentist turned HomeBaker-Dr.Archana Diwan

17/04/2020

From where did you come up with the idea of Cupohlicious and why did you choose this name? How close are you with your venture?

Dr.Archana: The idea to start this venture was given to me by close friends and family as they had developed a special liking for my bakes and felt it was something worth. Soon I too had imbibed this spirit in me and decided to go through with it!! My initial bakes were only cupcakes! Varied flavours with pretty frostings and fillings, I was loving the visceral treats I was whipping up for my near and dear. Hence the name “Cupohlicious” that signified my delicious little cupcakes !! My venture and me are one !!
Honestly, over the years what it has given me is much more than I had dreamt of back in 2012. From being an unrecognised dentist in a small part of Bangalore to reaching an international platform; my home-based venture and I have come a long successful way !!

Right from being a dentist to a home baker and a cake artist, how transforming was the journey? What made you enter this world of a bakery?

Dr.Archana: My dental practice dates back to 1999 when I started working in a clinic with dreams to do great things in dentistry. Two years of work in a private clinic led to the opening of my clinic with my husband in 2003. Gradually responsibility of my 6month old son and family responsibilities reduced my clinical hours. Moreover, my husband even completed his post-graduation and I was more occupied with the familial tasks. Only simple monotonous cases like cleaning of teeth and fillings for an hour or two in a day was taking a toll on me mentally. There was this huge need within me to do something creative and meaningful from home. Baking small cupcakes in the house relieved my stress and made me realize this is exactly what I can do !! As I started to venture more and more into the realm of baking I discovered a whole new platform of what could be done with flour and eggs. It was wonderful in thought and even better in practice !! Today I do customise and themed structure cakes and showstopper cakes for various events and occasions !! The journey from then to now involved many sleepless nights, family adjustments, emotional disturbances and a whole lot of juggling between the home, clinic and my baking !! Through Cupohlicious I have also been recognised in my dental profession. I learn new things on a daily basis and keep myself well updated in both fields.
Initially, it was tough to manage clinic and baking orders but then time is the perfect healer and over a period of time I taught myself how to handle both and come up in both !!!

What varieties of loaf cakes have you baked till now? Which flavour keeps you entangled in your bakery? Which flavour are the most loved one and best appreciation or feedback you have received for it?

Dr.Archana: I have baked over a dozen flavours of loaf cakes. The most common ones being Banana-Walnut, Chocolate-Ragi, Orange-rosemary, Lemon, Strawberry, Vanilla, Marble and some whole wheat cakes.
I don’t have a specific flavour that I would give as a preference or that I would be happy to do. My motto has always been to accept what the client wants as my new favourite until that order is done.
That drives me to give my best or to make every flavour as tasty as possible. My most accoladed flavour has to be the “Death by Chocolate” and “Chocolate Truffle”.

Congratulations on being awarded “Cake Artist of the Year” by the Mompreneurcircle India at the Lady Boss Awards 2018. Share your happiness. Behind everyone s success, there is always someone s
support, in your case who was the someone who supported you throughout?

Dr.Archana: Thank you for your good wishes !!! At that point of time, I was totally concentrated on broadening the customer base of my business. The women business groups encouraging small businesses like mine and connecting with like-minded women helped. Mompreneurcircle was one such group! The concept of awards was not understood by me then. It was a very big surprise and an emotional moment for me to be recognised in that group of talented women !! It was the first time I travelled outside Bangalore for myself….for my venture….for me !!! I will be ever grateful to Mompreneurcircle. The joy, pride and motivation that I felt cannot be expressed in words !! My support system is my family ….. more specifically my father and my brother….who saw no line for me to stop at and kept me going forward. A special person in this mention would be my son who would never directly tell me that I did a good job because he thought I could do better even if the world said it was best. We have grown together and pushed each other even when each of us would think we failed !!! And I am always so proud to have him by my side !!!!!

Apart from cakes what else have you tried in dessert shots? Which one would you recommend to all from your speciality? How different is it to make dessert shots from as compared to cakes and cupcakes?

Dr.Archana: Dessert shots are just desserts in little shot glasses that satisfy your sweet tooth in just the right quantity without overindulging in the calories !!! I have tried many different desserts in shot glasses….like mousse in different flavours, cakes and frostings, fruit trifles, Indian desserts and some jellies depending on what the clients’ requirements are. A creative combination of these desserts always gives us a winner !! The most fast-moving and my personal favourite are the “Tiramisu shots” !! They have cake, cream, mousse, coffee and sometimes even alcohol if the clients request so !!
These shots have to look neat, clean and attractive making the clients drool over them just by looking at them !! Hence the presentation has to be an equal combination of visual and visceral treats to do the trick !!!!!!

You are an award holder of both – Guinness and Limca book of world records. What made you make your name in this? How do you feel about holding titles as such?

Dr.Archana: The Limca and the Guinness records were the joint efforts of a group of like-minded, highly passionate and self-driven home bakers. We just wanted to show the world that flour butter and eggs can get you to the top of the world !! When the Limca record was achieved, the concept of making life-size cakes in India was yet to be explored. Hence we took it up as a challenge to make the Largest Caricature Cake of a life-size 6feet tall Santa standing on one leg !!! It was an experience of a lifetime. Having the Limca record under our belt, few of us from this group started working towards the Guinness Record. The Almighty has been very kind and blessed us with the capability to bake the Largest Dirt cake in the world weighing 1078kg, thus inking our names in the Guinness record book !! Kudos to both the teams. I feel extremely distinguished, honoured and proud to hold such high honours under my name !!!!

How important are the cake plunger cutters for a baker? Which is your favourite brand when it comes to cake plunger cutters?

Dr.Archana: Baking a cake is no longer enough to eat it nowadays !! The cake has to be customised according to a particular theme for a particular occasion or event. Here is where the plunger cutters come into play. They are available in a plethora of designs ranging from animals, flowers, fruits, vegetables, hello kitty, avengers, baby-related and the list goes on !!!! It has always so happened with me that I buy the cutters of that theme after I have completed the order on that particular theme !!! I would have gone through the pains of drawing and hand cutting the toppers !!! But yes…..to simplify your life and create amazing designs with ease the plunger cutters are highly important for a baker.
There is no particular brand that I use. The design is very important to me.

Buttercream icing or whipping cream is an essential part of cakes and cupcakes. So which brand of buttercream you prefer to use? In your opinion should a baker opt to purchase a buttercream or whipping cream or they should prepare on their own and why?

Dr.Archana: Yes, both buttercream and whipping cream depending on the type and flavour of the cake are essential to elevating the taste of the cake. I do purchase “Tropolite” or “Richs” brands of whipping cream for frosting the fresh cream cakes. The cream is not used as it is…..but is whipped and flavoured accordingly before use. The buttercream I make my own depending on the flavour of the cake and also the type of buttercream (American, swiss meringue etc) that would suit the cake. The clients always look for that extra tweak in flavour that they would not get anywhere else making their cake special or should I say “customised” to their needs.

How important are cake figures and edible cake decorations for you while decorating cakes?

Dr.Archana: The edible figurines and decorations are the essence of cake customisation. The figurines or flower or other decorations when handmade add that extra touch of personalisation and establish a personal connection with the client. It is these very decorations that skyrocket a cake from “normal” to “showstopper” !!!!!!!! They give the client the feeling of being extra special especially if the cake is topped with their favourites like colour, dolls, toys, cartoon characters or even made to look like their favourite dress !!!!!

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