Talking Madagascar Cakes and Chidren’s Cookies with Deepali Agarwal
When she’s not baking cookies for her children, Deepali Agarwal is whipping up a storm in her kitchen. Why? She’s the baker behind the famous Paaliz Cake Art in Bangalore. Paaliz Cake Art has been delivering themed cakes for years now and has been on the speed dial list of anyone looking for a cake to celebrate any occasion. After all, it’s not a celebration without cake, is it? We met up with her last week and had a blast discussing cake, cake art and cookies.
Deepali Agarwal has been around baking all her life. But her calling came after her move to the US with her husband. One episode of a cooking show showcasing cake and cake artists and she was hooked. She knew what she wanted to do with her life. Find out more from our tete a tete below.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I belong to Jabalpur(MP) and moved to Bangalore after my marriage in 2003. I did my schooling from Jabalpur and then went on to get a Bachelors in Fine Arts from University of Rajasthan in Jaipur. My husband, who is a long time resident of Bangalore, got transferred to USA where we spent 8 years. We returned to Bangalore in 2012 and been here ever since.
When did you start baking?
I have been around baking since childhood. My mum used to bake different types of cakes on various occasions, I grew up to enjoy baking. I used to bake for family too. However the turning point was when I moved to USA and started following TV shows based on cakes and cake artists. That inspired me to put both my passions (art and baking) together and create my own edible art. I baked my first decorated cake on my daughter’s 3rd birthday. That got great feedback, and friends and family started approaching me to bake for their parties. Soon after, I started accepting orders and have been baking professionally for the last 4-5 years.
Have you taken any professional courses on cake decoration or cake baking?
I have not taken any professional courses on cake decoration, but my BFA education has helped me a lot in my work. I have also done extensive self study on the technical aspects of baking and cake decorating from various professional books. There is a lot of information available these days. Passion, art training and hard work goes a long way in helping me create my cake art.
What is available at Paaliz Cake Art? How long before do we have to order?
Paaliz Cake Art specialises in creating show stopper cakes for all occasions. All my cakes are custom designed and made-to-order only after detailed consultation with my clients. Also, I take great pride that all cakes from Paaliz Cake Art are always made from scratch, fresh, and with the finest ingredients. I dont use any ready made items like store bought fondant and never use frozen cakes.
I get booked fast, so I advise my clients to contact me about 1 month in advance of their celebration to book the date and place their order. Clients can call upto a week before their party to check my availability.
What is the one dish that you absolutely love baking at any time?
I love to bake different kinds of cookies for my children.
Do you plan to open a store sometime soon?
I would like to open a formal cake studio sometime in future ( I won’t call it a store) where people can visit, explore my work and order my cake art. Cake art adds a very unique joy to celebrations and provides people the ability to see their favourite work of art in the form of a cake. Children especially love seeing their favourite characters and adults love to see their themes come to life.
Which cake do you get the most orders for in your bakery?
My work is extremely varied and most people approach me to do cakes that are not very common. I love designing cakes that tell a story and have a connect with the customer’s life or party theme. Children’s birthday cakes with their favourite cartoons are most frequently ordered. Many times, adults also order cakes with their favourite childhood characters too. Each design of mine is unique and I try not to repeat my designs.
What does the future look like for Paaliz Cake Art?
There are some other types of decorative cakes that I am exploring. Sculpted cakes is one area that takes cakes to a totally different level and I am working to offer sculpted cakes in future.
What would you like to say to aspiring bakers like yourself?
Baking requires a lot of hard work, patience and attention to detail. Aspiring bakers should invest a lot of time doing trials, innovating recipes and most of all, be mentally prepared for failures during their trials. Also, decorative cakes need to not only look good, but need to taste even better. Aspiring bakers should work to offer cakes that are made using good quality, wholesome and healthy chemical free ingredients. There are a lot of quick fix chemical concoctions, low quality ingredients available in the market these days and bakers should steer clear of them. (e.g. malaysian or chinese sourced cocoa, vegetable fat based compound masquerading as chocolate, packaged fondant, food colour of dubious quality, cake improving gel etc). Also, since baking is both an art and a science, aspiring bakers should learn about the technical aspects of baking. This will help them understand why a certain recipe didnt work well and how to innovate.