Ten years ago, Rina Mohsin began running a small bakery from home, making rich chocolate cakes to order. Rina’s Kitchenette, she says, was the first to start making cakes with chocolate candy like Malteasers, Cadbury’s, Mars and Toblerone.
“I used to be the only one making them and now they are everywhere,” says Rina, whose business has done well enough for her to shift to a store in Sector X in Defence. This summer though, say Rina and other bakers, more and more customers are opting for cakes made with fresh seasonal fruits.
“Cakes with mangoes, cherries and peaches with ice cream or vanilla-flavoured fresh cream sell more in the summer,” says Rina. Fruit trifle, particularly mango, is also in high demand.
“People are much more aware now, thanks to all the cooking channels and the Internet,” she says. “Chocolate used to be considered the ultimate luxury. But today people are more worldly and they want to try new things.”
Rabia Faisal has been running the Redolence Bake Studio for two years now. She makes special-occasion cakes to order. For interaction with customers, she depends, like many others, on social networking site Facebook.
“It was the feedback on our Facebook page which recently made me think of making more cakes using fruit. These days, our clients want ice cream and fruit cakes,” she says.
“Peach melba and fresh pineapple, mango, strawberry and cherry cakes have sold really well since we introduced them in May.”
Faisal, who has a degree in food and nutrition from the College of Home Economics, says that cocoa, the principle ingredient of chocolate, causes dehydration while fruit cake has cooling and replenishing properties which makes it a better option for the summer.
The Coffee Tea and Company (CTC) bakery in Gulberg sells a Tango cake with fresh mangoes, canned cherries and full-fat cream with chocolate sponge, a mango short cake with full-fat cream, light sponge and fresh mangoes, and a mango caramel log, says Asif Raza, an employee.
“Ten to twelve mango cakes sell everyday,” he says. “It depends on the season. We sell a variety of strawberry products at the start of summer, but as autumn approaches, we replace it with peaches and bananas.”
Lubna Shakoh orders cakes from Rina’s Kitchenette for her children’s birthdays. Her favourite dessert is the mango trifle. “I do not mind spending Rs1,800 on a trifle or a cake provided the quality is good,” she adds.
She says fruit cakes were popular in the 70s and 80s too. “It’s good to see them making a comeback. And the quality has improved too. It seemed that fruit cake had been a dying concept since bakeries started focusing on chocolate cakes only,” says Shakoh.
Rubina Khan, a fitness enthusiast and a mother of three, says desserts are a great way of getting children to eat fruit, though they can also have high sugar content. She regularly buys banana bread and apple pies from Masoom’s in DHA’s DD block. “Mango trifle, sorbets, soufflés and even cakes are healthier than chocolate,” she adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.