If the dull, creepy weather outside is bumming you out, what’s a better way to perk up than with a bright, colourful sweet treat? And this is exactly where Mashrura Hossain of The Cereal Bar Bakery comes in.
“I have been a baker ever since I can remember,” says Mashrura. “We didn’t have an oven at home, so when I would go to my friend’s or cousin's place, I would bake,” she added.
The occasional bake day at someone else’s house soon fell short of satisfying that urge to bake, especially when she realized while studying at the London School of Commerce (LSC) that business studies wasn’t her true calling. Then she heard about Sugar Rush, a kitchen studio that provides training to dessert enthusiasts. At that point, her repertoire only included cake making basics, and as enthused as she was to expand it, she didn’t have the funds to afford training. Mashrura reached out to the owner, Fareeha Chowdury, regardless and asked if there was a job opening. Fareeha offered her an internship, and that's how Mashrura leveled up her skills.
Mashrura calls herself a hobbyist whenever she’s baking. While planning to fly to Paris to further her culinary training, she decided to document her journey in desserts by posting photos. When the orders started to pour in, she realized she had a business opportunity, and The Cereal Bar Bakery was born. Her USP? The flavours are the answer. Mashrura is constantly experimenting with flavour pairings in order to come up with the most innovative confections. She has her fair share of hits and misses “It’s very hard to please my mom with cakes. But she loves mine, especially my coconut cream cheese,” she said, adding that the general response to her creations has been overwhelmingly positive.
Other than your own creations, whose cakes do you like?
Tastebud’s Red velvet and Westin’s cheese cake, any day.
What are your best sellers?
Currently it is strawberry milkshake which is actually a strawberry cheese cupcake. I don't know how I came up with this. I first made this at my party and everyone loved it and kept ordering this exact cupcake. Other than this people order chocolate cake a lot. These have to be two of my best sellers.
What’s on your blooper reel?
Every time I get into the kitchen, something has to go wrong. But I’m usually satisfied by the time I reach the end of the process.
Do people actually order cakes with new flavours or do they play it safe with the conventional chocolate and vanilla cakes?
They do want to play it safe. However, surprisingly there are some clients who are always eager to try out new flavours. I had one client who ordered on two occasions and chose something different every time. She even picked the Orange chiffon, which no one ever orders. Clients who make such orders motivate me to expand my range.
What’s your opinion about fondant cakes?
I’m not really a fan. Fondants look better than they taste. I prefer to focus on flavour, but if a client really wants fondants, I’ll of course make it according to their preference.
Of the varying ranges of cakes and cupcakes, one that stood out for this writer is her raspberry cupcake and chocolate salted caramel. She achieves that delicate balance of sweetness and flavour that make eating her cakes such a delightful sensory experience.