Ode To Abu

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Baker Brigade - Veena Sakthi

Let’s kick off the Baker Brigade series again with Manicka Veena a.k.a. Veena Sakthi! Veena is perhaps one of the Newest Kids on the Baking Block! She began her foray into baking just about 8 months ago.

Veena is a B.E. Computer Science graduate and has also completed her MBA in Finance from the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship. A Chennai girl who spent 2 years in Bangalore working with ICICI, Veena began her trysts with cooking post marriage. Not particularly thrilled with her job profile, she quit work and focused on setting up home and hearth.

White Chocolate Cupcakes

After about a year into married life, Veena grew more adventurous in the kitchen and decided to try her hand at baking. Her earlier adventures with cakes were tucking into the ones her mother infrequently made. These were mostly simple butter cakes made using the basic round-shaped oven, popular in its time. Hot Breads and Cakewalk are her favourite dessert outlets. Her very first experiment was a chocolate mud cake and she quite enjoyed the whole experience. 

Saffron Cookies

Veena has received basic baking training from the Artisans Institute of Baking started by Lisa Isaac, one of the earliest commercial bakers in the city for over two decades. In the 5-day course, Veena learnt the techniques of making buns, cookies and the like. She has also attended a 3-day fondant workshop by Naveena Thangadorai.

Banana Walnut Muffin

With her growing interest in the field, she decided to invest in a 38 litre microwave oven, currently the most prized possession in her kitchen. She has been a happy baker since. Veena now keeps busy churning out chocolate cakes with strawberry balsamic topping, pot de creme, vanilla cupcakes with tutti fruitti, Swedish tea rings, assorted stuffed buns and many more!

Coffee Cake with Coffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Veena’s husband is her pillar of support, constantly encourages her, offers advice and even shops for her. She attributes all this and more to his being rather choosy about the right flavours when it comes to food!

Apple Cinnamon Pie

A few fun facts about Veena

Easiest dessert to make – Date & Walnut Cake

Dessert she is yet to master – Cheesecakes

Fave dish - Peas Pulao

Fave dessert – Banana muffins, date & walnut cake, basically anything with banana!

Her family’s fave and oft-requested dessert from her - Banana Chocolate Muffins

Fave kitchen equipment – Her MW Oven of course!

Cooking/Baking Ingredient she cannot imagine life without – Flour!

Fitness Mantra – Cardio & weight training 5 days a week in her mini gym at home.

Fellow Showcase participant's goodies she is most curious to try - Karthika Shravanthi's Banana Butterscotch Trifle.

Dinner Rolls

What HBG means to her

Veena joined the Home Bakers Guild (HBG) forum on Facebook in October 2012 and it is now the first thing she checks on logging into FB every single day! She might even forget to check her own wall, but never misses the posts by bakers from all over the world. Cheryl Rajkumar, a home-baker currently based in the USA, is like a fairy godmother for many a baking aspirant on the forum. Veena says, “Cheryl’s tips on ganache have been particularly helpful to me. The photographs that the super-talented bakers display on the forum are so motivating, inspiring and creative that it makes me want to learn more and bake more!”

Paneer Tart with Cheese Topping
Showcase Specials
  • Hummingbird cupcakes – a South American recipe, these cupcakes are a combination of banana and pineapple, topped with cream cheese frosting.
  • Brownie Semifreddo & Snickers Semifreddo – these are a combination of crumbled brownies and whipped cream served in waffle cones. More like a frozen liquid dessert.
  • Profiteroles – a yummy combination of butter, flour, eggs, and cream or ice cream.
  • Devil’s food cake
  • Chocolate & Strawberry Cake-in-an-Eggshell
  • Savouries
Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Veena’s entire family is super excited about the Showcase and will be present in full force to help on the big day! Baking mostly for family thus far, her stall at the Baker Showcase event will be her first attempt at entrepreneurship. She hopes that her participation will provide the perfect platform of exposure, experience, and an opportunity to understand her customer’s expectations.

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Plum Cake

Strawberry Torte

Needless to say, Veena Sakthi seems a confident young gal on the brink of a bright, colourful and ‘sweet’ future! All of us at HBG wish her and her venture named V's Bakehouse all the very best :-)

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