Anushka Saraf

Anushka Saraf: Baked With Love

“In these tough times, when people are living away from their loved ones due to the lockdown protocol and so on, it makes me incredibly happy to know that I can be a part of their celebration and gift them joy and wonder,” says Anushka.

What’s better than getting yourself a cake crafted with love and nourished with care? Baking cakes ever since her childhood is the 19-year-old Anuskha Saraf, who is baking to her and our heart’s content. She founded “Ciasto”, to bring you desserts and delicacies for every season and reason.

 With a wide selection of incredible mouthwatering homemade options to choose from, Anushka has become a “happy place” for many of her customers. Read more about Anushka’s baking experiences, the price range and the joy of baking in this exclusive conversation with Storiyaan.       

Anushka Saraf

Anushka Saraf: Baked With Love

Interview

Questions and answers

Tell us about your earliest memories of baking and what appealed to you the most about it?

Baking every day for my family, friends, relatives and neighbours has to be the earliest memories that I cherish even today. It was an exciting feeling to try something different and new for others.

It all started the day I saw my aunt bake and it appealed to me greatly when I saw all that hard work taste and look as beautiful as it can get. I think it’s therapeutic to watch all the ingredients come together to bake in the oven.

Growing up, you loved baking cakes and experimenting with new ideas. When did it first strike you that you might want to turn this passion of yours into a profession?

 I was in class 8 when I first began attending classes for baking and eventually I had mastered the techniques and recipes. This was the time I has a passing idea that I wished to turn into something more valuable which can be appreciated and experienced by the public at large.

Can you enumerate the events that led you to decide to start your venture “Ciasto” amidst the pandemic?

I had a plan to start my business but the pandemic played a spoilsport. However, people in my housing complex who could not go out asked me to bake for their occasions. This gave me a push to start and with people’s appreciation, I decided to start my venture.

What were some of the initial challenges that you faced when you first started Ciasto?

When I started my venture the initial challenge was to figure out the prices of my creations. I also had to learn about procuring the raw materials, presenting and introducing my business to the public from scratch which was also a challenge. 

The lockdown led to an emergence of quite an impressive number of home-bakers. What is your strategy to remain at the top of the competition?

My strategy is to charge not more or less but what it’s worth. I ensure to present innovations and trends to people. And most importantly, I am kind and understanding to each customer as very often it is about your behaviour that matters.

How do you set the prices for your cakes? Have you ever encountered issues such as customers comparing your prices to stores and asking for lower prices?

Prices are set according to the raw materials and the amount of time and hard work I have to invest in that creation.

Yes, I have. In today’s world, we always come across people who will always compare you to other businesses and ask for a lower cost. But it becomes my responsibility to charge what the cake can cost no matter what.  

What do you consider to be your signature delicacy and why do you love baking it?

I think our signature delicacy would be our decadent chocolate cakes. I love to bake those because I can put forward any kind of creativity or design into that cake and present my capability in front of the world.  

What are some of the ground rules and policies that all your clients must adhere to when placing an order? What are your cancellation and payment policies?

There is no such policy as per but we accept orders a day or two before the occasion and at least 3-4 days prior for customized cake with all your requirements mentioned. I avoid same day orders unless it’s an emergency.

Cancellations are available if the preparations of the cake aren’t already underway. And we take payments either on the same day of the delivery or a day prior.

What are some of the delicacies that are available on Ciasto and what kind of customizations do you offer if the customer demands it?

We have a vast range of delicacies ranging from cakes to cookies. We have cakes, brownies, cupcakes, tea cakes, jars, cookies, and granola. Additionally, we also provide hampers for every occasion and have our signature hampers for particular occasions.

What has been the most challenging baking project that you have undertaken so far and what did you take back from the experience?

The most challenging was my first 5 tier cake which I made for my grandparents 50th anniversary. It was my first wedding cake.

I took back a lot of memories and learnt a lot from all the hard work I had invested in. Moreover, I also recognized some mistakes which helped me get better at my baking.

Quick 5

1. Your favourite dessert – Our whole wheat Double chocolate cookies 

2. Your greatest support systemMy parents

3. One baking myth you would like to breakSalt is never used in deserts

4. What do you find most annoying about this profession – failures to an extend

5. One quality that makes a great baker – creativity

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