This Incredibly Talented Karachi Baker Hand Paints Her Stunning Cakes And I'm Already Drooling

By Aisha Saeed | 16 Jun, 2019

Mahwish Aziz Sirhindi is a talented baker who hand paints her cakes and it’s everything.

We have all heeded the call of our sweet tooth once or twice; it’s warm, it’s comforting and admittedly seductive. Those of you who are always looking for your next sugar fix, look no further, for Sugaries Bakery, owned by Mahwish Aziz Sirhindi, is here to satisfy your cravings with these beautiful HAND PAINTED cakes and other delicious treats. Cool na?

Mahwish’s desserts have been gaining more and more recognition over the last few months, with celebrities like Bilal Ashraf giving her shoutouts on Instagram for her Keto Cookies and Protein Bars.

As with every entrepreneur’s journey, Mahwish has worked tirelessly to cultivate her talents and establish her brand amongst the baking world in Pakistan. Talking to MangoBaaz, she took us back to how it all started.

“I always wanted to bake but my parents wanted me to have a degree to fall back on. I was always angry and pretty rebellious in my attitude towards this but I graduated from art college in Karachi in 2012. It all started to fall into place when I was working as a graphic designer at an agency and began to take orders at home at the same time. My father said if this did well, he would send me to culinary school.”

“I started culinary school in 2014, completing an entire hot kitchen degree and learning from some of the top chefs in the world. I also participated in Taste of Dubai, Taste of Abu Dhabi and Taste of Ramadan in Dubai. I then came back to Karachi from Dubai in 2015 and started a home-based business for six months. Initially I was scared to open a proper outlet because I didn’t want it to be too commercial. Sugaries Bakery opened its doors in June 2016.”

“It’s been a tremendous journey – I’m very humbled.”

Mahwish’s famous hand-painted cakes definitely offer something unique for cake lovers.

When talking about how this idea came to fruition, she admitted that she was, well, “quite bored. I did an Arts major but initially, I didn’t know you could paint on cakes – you don’t see it on Pinterest or anything like that. I ended up making one for my mother’s birthday a year and a half ago and after that, I just started doing more. I think it offers a more personalized touch and people like that.”

The level of detail and patience that goes into creating these hand painted cakes can be pretty time-consuming for Mahwish. It takes anywhere between 7-8 hours to finish one. Check her out in action below!

Creatives often find solace in their talents and Mahwish expressed how she has “always found baking [to be] very therapeutic.

She went on to reflect on how she “wasn’t very studious all [her] life but [she] liked doing anything that involved handwork.”

“I loved baking in particular because it is very scientific whereas cooking is more eyeballing. With baking, you need to know every exact measurement and because I studied it, I’m better at managing that. It’s all about the ingredients, you know? Once you know how to work with flour, baking soda, and all the core ingredients, you start to be able to design cakes from other cakes. I learned that from an Indian chef at culinary school. I used to stay back with him for like 12 hours sometimes and also complain about some ingredients that we don’t have access to in Pakistan. He would say that you don’t need to make everything perfect and that you can always make use of what is available in your country.”

This would be the beginning of a learning curve for Mahwish as she acknowledged some of the barriers she would face whilst experimenting with her recipes in Pakistan.

“We have the challenge of not getting a lot of raw material here. Also, with the dollar value going so high, it’s difficult to import ingredients. My team and I have been trying to overcome this by using a lot more local, natural ingredients. Certain recipes, like my brownie, took a year and a half to develop. At the end of 2015, I finally perfected my brownie recipe and have been able to adapt the ingredients to create Nutella flavors, Lotus flavors – something for all tastes.”

Safe to say, I was definitely salivating at this point. I mean, come on…NUTELLA BROWNIES! NOMNOMNOM.

Mahwish’s willingness to experiment can also be seen in some of the more audacious orders she has received from clients and customers alike.

We asked her about some of the more…interesting (for want of a better word) requests she has received and she revealed the following:

“Orders for “boys’ bachelor parties can be quite obnoxious. Things like giant sized penis’ and girls in bikinis. When I was working from home, it didn’t matter but once I stepped out into the public, it changed my perspective and I’ve had to turn down some orders. I don’t want to do five things right and one thing wrong, you know? There is still judgment and stigma attached to these sorts of things so we have to be careful. I hope that gets lifted with time, though.”

Making sensible business decisions is clearly important when stepping out into the limelight, particularly in Pakistan. That hasn’t stopped Mahwish from taking on challenges in a different way, though.

“I’ve done some interesting [50 plus!] wedding cakes. I look forward to more challenges and always try to create something of my own that isn’t just a design on google or Pinterest. Like for example, I know in Ramazan, everyone gives people dates but I wanted to do something different. Last year we launched our date truffles and everyone was like “What are these?!”

Looks like Mahwish could be creating a new Ramazan tradition of date truffles. Get a load of these, guys!

“I’m always trying to innovate within my capacity and do things that people around me aren’t doing. It’s important to distinguish yourself from others,” Mahwish stated.

“Our mini cakes hit the market with a storm; they’re also something very unique. I hope that five years down the line, they will become just like chocolate – you won’t get sick of them.”

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The Pink Rose ♡ The Mini Cakes journey started with my sister @rabiaziz wanting to do her baby's birth Announcements. She didn't want a cake but she wanted a cake and it was very frustrating for me to make a small sized cake with balanced flavours and great taste. After many trials and errors we finally locked in #minicakes and from then on this journey has been incredible. Im proud to present the mini cakes in acrylic boxes as one of Sugaries Signature Products. A product Im so happy to have been associated with. We keep changing it up for our customers on different occasions. Be it Birth Announcements, wedding invites, eid, valentimes or mother's day, our Mini Cakes will always be the high light of the party. #sugaries_by_mahwishaziz #bakery #karachicakes #cakeshop #cakesofinstagram #cakesinternational #eidcake #lovemyjob #alhumdullilah #minicakes

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The mini cakes are clearly a collection to be proud of but Mahwish also has a sweet spot for drip cakes and buttercream cakes.

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Wedding Cakes are always a favourite. I love how.the client chose to a textured buttercream cake, paired with a drip cake, accents of goldens and flowers. Simple and attractive. Book your Summer Wedding cakes now. . . How to place an order :  Orders can be placed at the bakery , online or on whatsapp 50% advance is required for all order confirmations Cakes are preferred to pick up Bakery numbers : 02135295075- 03228281420 Bakery address : Shop#3, 5th Zamzama Commercial Lane. Park side. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ . #sugaries_by_mahwishaziz #bakery #karachi #Karachihighlights #weddingcakes #weddings #customisedcakes #cakeshop #cakesinternational #cakestyling #texturedcake #abstractcakes #floralcake #dripcake #itsmywedding #bridetobe #nikkah

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The success of Sugaries has also caught the attention of Pakistani designers such as Sana Safinaz and House of Fara. Mahwish spoke of her collaborations with these fashion gurus and other awesome opportunities that have come her way.

 

“We worked with Sana Safinaz on their Muslin launch, doing their PR and with House of Fara for their new exhibition. We also got selected to work at Pakistan Fashion Week which includes over 21 designers coming together across two-three days. I did all the dummy desserts for them, a dessert installation and clothing involved with dessert. It was an entire set coming together.”

With the rise of diet trends like Keto and Veganism in our modern world, Mahwish also feels a responsibility to reflect these trends in her produce.

“It’s very important and my clients keep me up with it. I’m in a bubble when I’m at work. With specific orders, I take everything back to the basics. If a client asks me for a vegan cake, I want to do it properly and the right way. I feel blessed that I can adhere to dietary requirements like nut and dairy allergies because I’ve studied it. It’s something new to my staff but they also know how to do it now. My friends are super healthy and they make me make stuff for them all the time. My husband is also a health fanatic and eats our Protein Bars and Keto Brownies every day. We have an entire health line and it’s really fun to do them.”

With all this success and talent, Mahwish appreciates the journey the most. She stressed the importance of seeing value in the hard work that goes into achieving her goals.

“It is all a journey and people forget that the journey is the most important part. Today, people recognize me but not because of the three to five years of hard work that I’ve put in. Often people forget that and are looking for instant success. I’m sure that works for some but that hasn’t worked for me and I haven’t seen my parents achieve success like that. For me, what works is consistency. Lows make you stronger. The problems never end. You’ve got to accept that things will happen and they do happen.”

Her wise words continued as we asked her how it feels to be an entrepreneurial woman in Pakistan.

“Here, people don’t want to see other people succeed. If there were a brand 20 years ago, the mentality is that there shouldn’t be anyone else. Everyone is on top of each other but the talent is bubbling and a lot of women who are stay-at-home moms think they can start something. This doesn’t always work out for them, though because as a nation, we are inconsistent. I just try to embed my own values and believe it is possible to have a home and work-life balance. I got married six months ago so yes, there’s been a lot happening but it’s also a good feeling.”

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It's always an honour to do large scaled commissioned cakes, there is a different kind of energy that goes into the making of them. We pour our heart and soul and hope for the best out come. 2018 was a year of new experiences, some amazing staff left our doors with better beginnings to look forward to and some new peeps came in to mark new presence. We did lots of wedding cakes, bridal shower, baby shower, engagement cakes, birthday cakes however this one this one is our largest cake for 2018. It really is all about the people who surround you, the kind of energy they bring to your environment and the desire to just keep going. Im blessed to have a team who works diligently every day and I hope Sugaries can create some memorable experiences for them in future. . #sugaries_by_mahwishaziz #baker #Karachihighlights #entrepreneur #life #bakery #moments #thoughtoftheday

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With this in mind, Mahwish had some honest anecdotes and practical advice to offer young women who aspire to enter into the industry:

“I try to counsel a lot of girls who want to intern with me. I tell young girls about my first order of 200 cupcakes. The first batch completely collapsed and my mother (who is also my backbone, my partner, my manager, my everything) then made another batch with me. You see, you can fail ten times but there will be that one time where it will work out. People here tend to give up too easily. I now try to give advice that will save time.”

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LAST SESSION FOR 2018. INTRODUCTION TO BAKING Starts 6th – 28th October 2018 at Sugaries Bakery. Classes will be held on Saturday /Sunday ,10am-12 Noon This course includes a detailed theory class on ingredients, equipment and methodology. We cover short crust, choux Pastry, cakes, breads, cookies, sweet and saltish tarts and MORE! Ages: 13+ You don't have to have any previous baking experience, let the baker take care of you! You need to carry nothing except a bottle of water and a note book! You bake and you take it home for family and loved ones to enjoy:) For registering please call 02135295075-03228281420. For course outline email: [email protected] Course fee: Rs 24000/- Single Class: Rs4000/- .

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“My first entire year I was on my own,” says Mahwish. “I used to sit in the drawing room from morning till night, painting cakes. Now we have a team of fifteen to eighteen people who work around the clock.”

“Nobody wants to share their hard struggle with you but I need to share that – that’s the part people need to know. It doesn’t matter where you get to in the end. I’d like to tell girls that they shouldn’t stay in one place for too long. If you’ve been in the same place for a year then you need to re-evaluate. There is time and space for everything and so patience is key. Last year, for example, I had a corporate contract lined up with a bank but they ended up dropping out. This year, I got two big corporate contracts. I got them eventually; it just took a year longer and it came up last minute. I’m glad I became their last choice.”

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Let's Celebrate Eid Spreading the sweetness with our delicious Cakes this Eid. Give your family and friend sweet memories. . Cake Deals 2.5 Lbs Malt Ganache Rs 1270/- 2.5 Lbs Chocolate Ganache Rs 1010/- 2.5 Lbs Red Velvet Rs 1330/- 2.5Lbs Vanilla & Salted Caramel Rs 1270/- 2.5 Lbs Malt Ganache with Flowers Rs 1490/- . . . How to place an order :  Orders can be placed at the bakery , online or on whatsapp 50% advance is required for all order confirmations For delivery, delivery charges apply depending on the area of delivery Bakery numbers : 02135295075- 03228281420 Bakery address : Shop#3, 5th Zamzama Commercial Lane. Park side. ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ #sugaries_by_mahwishaziz #bakery #Karachihighlights #karachi #eid #eidcakes #ramzanmubarak #eidiscoming #instafamily #instahappy #cakeshop #cakesinternational #cakestyling #cakephotography #cakelove #cakecutting #letscelebrate #cakestagram #cakeartist #cakedecorating

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Mahwish isn’t all talk and no action either. She regularly teaches baking classes at Sugaries and has a baking camp starting this month. Get involved!

Suffice to say that Mahwish Aziz will continue to make her mark in the baking industry with her innovative techniques and a level of grace and humility that is admirable. Be sure to check out Sugaries Bakery when Karachi bound and let us know what your favorite goodies are in the comments below.

 

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