Baking for a cause

A chocolate, nuts and strawberry cake.

Uma Kumar is not your usual home baker. Cooking was initially just a hobby for her and she explored the business part of this quite late, that too only at the insistence of her children. But she now uses the sale proceeds to help poor children and impoverished families.

She explains, “In Bengaluru, many small children beg on the streets. I used to feel really sad looking at them. I decided to use the money I make from baking in paying the school fees of as many children as I could.”

As of now, she takes care of the school fees, books, uniforms and medical expenses of 15 children. She has also adopted two families and takes care of their monthly expenses.

Uma’s baking story dates back to 1979 when she shifted to Germany after her marriage.  

“One day, my husband asked me if I knew to how to make pineapple pastry. I made it for him and he loved it; after this incident, I took baking more seriously. Though I never took classes or attended a baking school, my German neighbours and recipe books helped me learn the nuances of this art,” she says.

Uma moved back to Bengaluru in 2016, after living in Germany for 38 years. “Once when my son and daughter-in-law’s friends came home, they happened to taste a cake I had baked. They were very appreciative of my cooking which is when my children told me that I should look at selling my cakes. Though I was hesitant, they insisted, and thus ‘Teabakes’ was born in 2017.”  

Uma started off with cakes and desserts and eventually expanded the menu by introducing ice creams and biscuits.  

She makes different kinds of cakes, from fondant to chocolate hazelnut mousse and dry chocolate cake with hazelnut, which can also be customised. Most ingredients for her finest cakes come from Germany.  

When asked what the most challenging part about baking is, she says, “I don’t like to work in a rush and that is why the precision of ingredients and the time I give to baking matters a lot to me. I have a weakness of being a perfectionist, which becomes challenging at times.”  

This Christmas, she is planning to make biscuits and change the notion that this season is only about plum cakes.

“When I was in Germany, I observed that people were very interested in Christmas biscuits, which is missing in the Indian market. Here people usually buy plum cakes. So, this year, the plan is to make different kinds of biscuits like butter biscuits with almonds, oranges and chocolates,” she says. 

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