Ode To Abu

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Baker Brigade - Aysha Shanaz Abdullah

Aysha Shanaz Abdullah is Ms Perfectionist Personified. From something seemingly mundane as keeping the house neat and tidy to her awesome, jaw-drop-inducing baked creations, it is that meticulous attention to detail that defines her work. Her keen eye, artistic bent of mind (so apparent in not just her bakes, but also their personalized, creative and classy packaging), innate sense of beauty and finesse sets her and her goodies apart from a majority of the home-bakers today.

Interestingly, baking is not her first passion. She would rather eat cheese every day of her life if she could get away with it! Having revealed that, she adds that working out gives her a higher high than chocolate. Appearing to be a bundle of contradictions, Aysha can confuse even Confucius at this rate! The lady loves words and has a high regard for people who use them intelligently. Writing is something this multi-faceted lady has always wanted to try. I for one cannot wait for her to start blogging—the moment she gets a breather from running behind her three utterly cute, handsome and playful sons. Although she wasn't the studious sort in school or college, she developed a fascination for book learning post the age of 20. According to her, she was painfully shy as a child and would clam up on meeting new people, and this is a difficult task even today. Aysha, why not admit you are just a kid at heart!

Fresh Cream Cake with Fondant Accents

What I personally admire and respect about Aysha is her clear stand on principles and practices. She tries to apply these in all walks of her life, both personal and professional, and does not waver or alter them, come what may. Her strong sense of ethics stems from core beliefs. She explains, “My faith keeps me anchored and is very important to me. I try to examine my intention with every single thing I do and that somehow keeps me sane.” She is also a great believer in change despite initially struggling with it. All of us grapple with this, but her humble acceptance and admission of the same speaks volumes of her belief in the grand plan of the Universe.

Baking is not new to Aysha in the sense that her childhood was filled with her mother’s much-loved cakes within the family. According to her, however, all she did back then was gorge on them and perfect the art of resembling a teapot!

Lemon Cupcakes

Her first inspiration was the Martha Stewart website. Completely captivated by what she saw, Aysha elaborates, “I loved the way the food looked in the pictures - dreamy, delicious and altogether perfect!” This was three years ago, and thus began her obsession with baking. She adds, “I've always had a very sweet tooth and the baking fed that (and my hip).”

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Thereafter, Aysha discovered the blog world and was totally hooked. Amazed by the number of insanely talented people sharing their recipes, backed by brilliant photography and beautifully elucidated posts, Aysha believes the Internet was truly her first teacher. However, most of the recipes she read about could not be put into actual practice, since half the ingredients listed are not available in India. Most of the bloggers are based in the USA. As a novice back then, she states that her experiments in attempting to follow some of those recipes were more error than trial. And if you refuse to believe her, she will invite you to witness the proof on her food-spattered ceiling, claiming that she is the officially certified family klutz!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Never one to give up, Aysha searched for easy recipes where the botch factor would be at an all-time low, if not a zero possibility. ‘Plenty shmart, eh?’ As the Spaniard character used to say in the UK sitcom ‘Mind Your Language’. She soon came to the wise conclusion that it is the simplest recipes that are the most perfect. A profound realization indeed! Ask her which recipes caught her eye and she jokes, “If I see the words “one bowl”, “under 15 minutes” and “skill level: easy” on a recipe, then I’m in!” Always one to crack the funniest wisecracks on herself, she continues in the same vein saying, “Although I always take the 15 minutes limit to half an hour and one bowl to three.”

Strawberry Oats Tarts

Once she set up shop, there was no looking back. Her customers won't let her! As a mom three times over and as a baker, she hummed her way into professional baking with the 70s classic tune 'Ma Baker' on her lips. Ironically, it is her pet peeve that people who are clueless about the song, don't get the clever spin on the name. Instead they think its cool and hip and based on today's chat lingo! Shall we just say Ma Baker is the mother of all bakers and leave it at that? ;-)

She terms her approach “updated classic - comfort food, presented well.” Left to her, she would stick to classic swirls and buttercream border decorations on cakes - something that never goes out of style, something our moms could have made, and yet, stamped with that timeless appeal. 

Cheesecakes in a jar

That in a nutshell, describes Aysha herself. A baker with a difference – there is something that distinguishes her from others, and it is that extra something that she brings to the baker’s table. Come to the Showcase today, and you will see what I mean!


  1. Hi

    first time here and wow! what an amazing creativity.. loved the pram shaped cake! such pple like the lady mentioned, Aysha Shehnaz are truly rare!

  2. Hi A S, welcome and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment :) Yes, sheer talent here!