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Inspiring Conversations with Farah Babu of Bake Leaf

Today we’d like to introduce you to Farah Babu.

Hi Farah, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I had always been passionate about baking ever since I was a kid. I am originally from Chennai, India and food has always been a beautiful way to connect with everyone. My mother always stepped out of her comfort zone and tried various cuisines that she came across on any cooking shows. She used to bake this delicious apple pie and I have such beautiful memories growing up to the warm and comforting smell of a freshly baked apple pie. I believe that was my first connection to baking. I watched a lot of baking shows however, never thought I will be able to create anything myself. In 2013, I decided to give it a try and I never looked back. I started baking at home on a regular basis and shared my treats with my neighbors and family. I was not perfect but I never gave up. It all started with a small batch of cookies and a couple of cupcakes. I moved to America in 2015 and kept my passion alive by sharing my baked goodies with my near and dear. I was very intimidated by baking and frosting a cake, I used to watch multiple YouTube videos on different techniques. I kept baking cookies and cupcakes however, cakes still intimidated me. In 2018, I remember baking a chocolate cake for a friend and I decorated it with different colored rosettes on top for their anniversary. Their words of encouragement made me want to do this more and so I kept going. After a couple of years I grew more confident with my work and wanted to pursue my passion by making it into a small business. With the support of my family, I was able to start Bake Leaf, my home-baking business a custom cake/dessert shop, on July 17th, 2021 in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I believe having any business is a challenge and the road to success is not going to be a smooth one. Things for Bake Leaf have not been a smooth road and I will be lying if I said otherwise. Just like any other small business, getting noticed and getting customers is the biggest challenge for me. I have been trying to sell my products on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. The other challenging thing for me is that customers enquire regarding an order and then cancel the order due to differences of opinion in the pricing of the products. These are some of the struggles any home baker might be facing on a daily basis.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Bake Leaf is a home-baking business which is a custom cake/dessert shop. I have a variety of flavor combinations and I love to work with any new combinations my customers request me to use. Being a custom shop, I accept most kind of customization to the cakes, cupcakes, cookies or any other dessert being made. Being of Indian origin, I am trying to have Indian fusion flavors. I have successfully fused two famous Indian desserts, Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun with the classic vanilla cake flavor to create a unique flavor. Both of these flavors have been getting a good response and this made me want to try new flavor fusions. I am currently working on some more Indian flavors. I want to be able to successfully bring the Indian flavors and subtly fuse them with classic flavors to create magic on one’s palette. I am proud of my business for being consistent with its flavors and quality. I always bake fresh(on the day of the order) and treat each order, big or small with utmost importance. Some of the desserts made at Bake Leaf are chocolate chip cookies, flavor fusion cookies like rose cardamom cookies, pistachio cookies, cupcakes of various flavors, dessert shooters (individual dessert shots), cake pops, cake sickles, hot cocoa bombs, brownies and custom cakes. The cake/cupcake flavors I work with include the classic vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, mocha, coffee, caramel, some other flavors like strawberry, mango, butterscotch, pineapple, peanut butter, tiramisu, rasmalai, gulab jamun and lotus biscoff, Black Forest. I also have tres leches and cheesecakes in the following flavors vanilla, chocolate, rose milk, pistachio, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, lotus biscoff. This Valentine’s Day Bake leaf made lunchbox cakes/Bento cakes suitable for serving an individual. The Bento cakes that went out on Valentine’s Day were perfect for two individuals who didn’t want a big cake but also wanted a cake to celebrate their special someone.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
The diversity in St. Louis is brilliant. There are so many people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. I really enjoy meeting new people and learning about their cultures. I used to live in Philadelphia before I moved to St Louis and I really like the Mid Western culture that St Louis offers. I really love a lot of things about St Louis, its beautiful museums that are free to the public, unlike any other city that I know of. The only thing that I would say that I dislike about the city is the very fact that I stay far away from downtown and the beautiful St Louis Arch. I love the Gateway arch park and find an opportunity to go there whenever I can.

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