PELUMI BOLAWA, in this piece, goes with a sugarcraft expert, through the process of baking, at the small-scale, which can become lucrative this festive season
Nigerians love tasty, beautifully-baked cakes. Children and adults cannot resist the temptation. Even the religious ones, who loathe alcohol, ingest some percentage from cakes; no thanks to the lure of sugarcraft.
Every event you go…
Cakes of various designs grace festive seasons, weddings, birthdays and other ceremonies. With this, the country’s confectionery industry has grown tremendously over the years and significantly. Also, the coming of different tastes and forms has made the industry more lucrative.
A 2020 report projected that the Nigerian bakery market size is expected to record significant growth between 2020 and 2026. This is due, among others, to the high consumption and demand for high fibre confectioneries, as well as those without trans-fat and gluten.
Since cakes grace virtually every occasion, it is not out of place for one to make money baking from the comfort of their home in the coming festive period?
Starting a small-scale baking business requires capital because there are necessary ingredients and tools needed.
The Chief Baker of Glazing Delights, Adebimpe Agunlejika, told Financial Street, “The business of baking is capital-intensive. There are ovens worth millions of naira, even as there are small ones for a start. An oven is just one of the numerous cake-making tools you need. You would need about N50,000 to N100,000 to start a small-scale cake business. This excludes the fees for proper training.”
Equipment and ingredients
Some of the tools a starter would need include oven, mixer (the manual mixing method – using a wooden spoon and bowl – can be used), scrapper, spatula, piping bags, mixing bowl, trimming knife, baking pan and working table.
Agunlejika said a baker would also need to stock up ingredients such as flour, sugar, margarine, flavours, icing sugar, whipped cream, baking powder and baking soda. Egg, a necessary ingredient in cake, need not be stocked up, as it is perishable.
Experts advise bakers to buy those ingredients, save egg, in bulk; that way, one is able to maximise profit and keep good record of inflow and outflow of cash into the business.
Need to start now
As the curtain draws on the year, many households and organisations will be celebrating the yuletide with cake.
“A party without a cake is incomplete. Also, during the festive period, a lot of individuals, corporate bodies and religious houses come together to celebrate.
“In most parties, a cake adds happiness to everyone. You would easily see both children and adults get excited at the sight of cake. In almost every party, including end-of-year, cutting of the cake is in the programme,” Agunlejika said.
Building customer base
Having started, you need customers to patronize you. On building a customer base as a starter, Agunlejika suggested starting with family and friends.
“Let them know what you do by word of mouth. When they celebrate, channel the money you would use to buy them a gift into buying cake ingredients and making a cake for them. That way, you are giving them a gift and putting yourself out; so it is a win-win venture,” she said.
Promoting your brand
The baker emphasised the importance of the Internet in promoting the cake business.
Her words, “Social media is one powerful tool to start. WhatsApp, Instagram and Google are available to push your brand.
“Referrals also go a long way. A satisfied customer will definitely mention you to someone else, if they had a good customer experience with you.”
Forms of cake
There are so many forms of one can make. The most common for so many years has been vanilla cake. Recently, we have red velvet and chocolate joining the bestseller league in Nigeria.
There are also lemon cake, chiffon cake, blueberry cake, coconut cake and cheesecake.
On frosting (icing), the most common ones are butter cream, fondant and whipped cream.
“The vanilla cake is made through the classic method of creaming butter and sugar together and adding eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. There is no one-way to making cakes; a lot of recipe developers have come up with a little tweaking here and there for different cake flavours.
“The chocolate and red velvet cakes have a similar procedure of separating the dry ingredients from the wet ingredients and then combining both. They are usually oil-based; hence the very moist and velvety texture. They both contain baking soda, cocoa powder, salt and vinegar. While chocolate cake requires dark coffee to enhance its flavour, red velvet requires freshly squeezed lemon juice and buttermilk,” she said.
Preserving the cake
Fruitcakes are peculiar to weddings, Financial Street gathered. According to master bakers, nine out of 10 wedding cakes made in Nigeria are fruity.
Agunlejika added, “Some couples are particular about the longevity of their wedding cakes. I’ve heard of couples that kept a part of their wedding cake for a year and more. Fruit cake arguably has the longest lifespan. This is because the raisins and dried fruits used in the cake would have been pre-soaked in alcohol (preferably brandy) for as long as six months. Alcohol has qualities that preserve the cake for a long period.
“For couples that do not want their fruits soaked in alcohol, probably for religious reasons, orange juice or boiling method is an alternative; although such cakes cannot be preserved for long compared to an alcohol-soaked fruit cake.”
According to her, coconut cakes, carrot cakes, lemon cakes and blueberry cakes have fruits in them, especially in shredded forms. “Shredded carrots, shredded coconuts and lemon zest are added to enhance the flavour. They can either be oil-based or margarine-based. It all depends on how dense you want the cake to be,” she further stated.
Enter money cake
One of the popular cakes now is the money cake. They are ordinary cakes with currency notes designs.
You have acquired the skill; now you need to use it to make extra cash this yuletide. Nothing should stop you. Your time starts now!
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