The above mentioned food types are indeed the specialties of Arwa Safdar, a home baker who owns Sweet Orchard. While some struggle with getting the right taste in their food even after multiple trials, Arwa is God gifted in this department since a very young age. And what better of an idea can it be to make one’s talent one’s profession.
I paid a visit to Arwa on a relaxed Saturday evening, and over a cup of coffee and sandwiches with this friendly natured lady (so much so it did not feel like a first visit), got to know about her interesting journey in this profession.
How long have you been in this business for?
Its been three years now Alhamdulillah.
Since what age have you been baking, and is it because you had a sweet tooth yourself that you got into it or because you had discovered you had great baking skills?
I’ve always been a great cook and infact cooking was what I was more fond of since I was a teenager, it was more of a hobby. But after moving to Jeddah, I started itching to do something creative and different, something that attracts majority of people. I have a sister in the UK who took cake decoration classes; she encouraged me to take this up as a career and also sent me a lot of required material from the UK. And thats how I set foot onto this ‘sweet’ business.
Is there anyone you look upto in this regard?
My mom. She is the best cook and baker in the family. She is definitely my inspiration.
How common do you think the trend of custom made cakes has become in Jeddah? Are people done with the conventional kind of cakes?
Customised cakes are the new trend. People have gotten more into themed parties so they prefer cakes based on those particular themes to make them more fascinating and because kids are overjoyed by them. Most of these cakes are kids’ choice.
What were the challenges you faced in the very start of your business?
Firstly it was difficult because I did not know a lot of people in Jeddah, but thanks to Facebook, I earned a clientele pretty soon. Secondly there is a lack of availability of certain baking equipments which I therefore have to get shipped from the UK everytime.
What has been the most time consuming cake you have made so far?
Wedding cakes take a lot of time as they have to cater to 50+ people at a time, and have got to be 2-3 tier cakes.
Since you must be known as the family baker, do you prefer baking cakes yourself even when its a family function, or you like to take a break every now and then?
Oh, a big no to baking while I’m on holidays, haha.
What are the different sizes of cakes available which serve how many people?
Home bakers internationally bake cakes according to servings. There is an international chart which we have to follow.
Prior to how many days of an ocassion should an order be placed?
It depends on the size of the cake; if it’s a small cake with an easy design, then two days. And if its a big cake then they should order about 4-5 days in advance.
Do you provide home delivery too?
No home delivery. I used to do it earlier but a little bit of negligence from the driver’s side ruins the entire cake. So now I hand over the cake to the client by myself so that it is their duty to take care of it during transportation.
How many cakes have you baked so far. Whats the target for the future?
Well I have baked 110+ cakes so far, let’s see how many more to come.