Srinagar: Baking always fascinated Aqsa Mir who wanted to try her hands on the craft. Since education was a priority, hobbies took a backseat. However, she did not let her passion to die down. She saved her Eidi to buy a small oven and try her hands on baking.
Enter 2021, the 24-year-old from Nigeen became an expert baker who is known for customized cakes in Kashmir.
“Baking has been my passion since childhood. I still recall buying myself an oven when I was a kid by saving my Eidii. I used to use it to bake little delicious items at home,” she said.
Aqsa recalled the day her cousins encouraged her to open her home bakery. “Although I’ve always loved baking, I never considered turning my passion into a business. I made a cake for my cousin’s birthday one day. It was so good that my cousins urged me to establish my bakery,” she said.
Unfazed by criticism and competition, Aqsa took the challenges head-on and dived into the work she loved. “My brother advised me to try something different. However, I decided to give it a shot as I didn’t want to look back and regret not trying. Reviews weren’t great at first, and I sometimes had to refund customers. However, I saw it positively and set out to get better at baking, which eventually paid off,” she said.
The 2021 was a turning point in many ways for Aqsa. “After my graduation, I took a year off before deciding to open a bakery. I used to get orders from my brother’s restaurant. Later I created an Instagram page ` and I received a lot of orders. I named it `The Desire’ because people here get the cakes of their desire,” she said.
Two years on, The Desire is known for a range of cakes including chocolate truffles, strawberry cakes, bento cakes, customized chocolates, pinata cakes, jar cakes, cakesicles, and cheesecakes, For any occasion, people can get customized cakes with any taste and any design they choose. Such is the demand of the desire that Aqsa gets 30 orders per month.
“My chocolate cake is a showstopper. My cakes are well-liked by many as I never compromise on quality. Some well-known home bakers charge high prices for their cakes. For my cakes, I charge a fair price that begins at Rs. 600 a pound and Rs. 350 for Bento cakes,” she said.
Come 2024, Aqsa plans to launch her full-fledged bakery. “This year, when I finish my master’s degree, I’m going to create a bakery where people can come and enjoy a slice of my homemade bakery,” she said.
Aqsa urged the youngsters to pursue their passion fearlessly. “Things may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Even though a lot of people say they desire to do something, they rarely follow through. I’ve been getting better every day by watching baking videos on YouTube. Looking back, I wouldn’t be where I am now if I had interpreted the early critiques negatively,” she added.