Saturday, 25 August 2012

Meet the bakers - Charmaine Saldanha

A freelance corporate communications specialist for large MNCs, mother of 2 teenagers, craft specialist, a baker (for about 30 years now), meet the charming Charmaine Saldanha


D: Where do you showcase your goodies?
CS: I put everything up on my FB page - charmaine.saldanha.  I do this business from home, with a friend of mine, Louella Sequeira.
D: I saw those little ivory buds you'd made. How did you ship them to Australia?
CS: The rose buds were for a bride in Australia.  Her mother was making the cake and had made ivory roses and orange lillies and they needed ivory rose buds as fillers.  The bride and her mother were on a brief visit to Bangalore as this is where they lived till 12 years ago.  They carried the rose buds back with them.

D: What do you specialize in?  
CS: My specialty is my Rich Plum Cake.  This is made with my grandmother's recipe - so this is a third generation recipe!  The fruit is all cut by hand and the cakes are baked at home - 4 at a time.  This year I plan to make 500 cakes.  Friends who live in the US and UK get their friends to carry back cakes for them, so every year about 10 cakes go overseas.  In addition I get regular orders from people in Mumbai and Delhi and Blue Dart carries the cakes.

We have a wide array of baked goods as well as other stuff.  I make wine too and in fact am currently trying to promote wine and sandwich spread hampers that people can gift - rather than the usual bouquet of flowers or bar of chocolate -  especially when they are invited out for a meal. I have an array of 5 low-cal sandwich spreads in addition to other spreads and plan to launch flavoured butters soon.

D: How is HBG and the showcase helping you as a home baker?  
CS: HBG is giving me a wider audience for my goodies.  It is also turning out to be a wonderful, generous forum on which bakers are sharing tips and knowhow.  I hope it stays that way.

D: Where do you source your ingredients from?  
CS: My USP for most of my goods is good, wholesome, homemade food, reasonably priced and so I dont use too many exotic ingredients.  I source my ingredients and packaging from wholesalers.  I make things in small quantities to preserve the quality.

Charmaine says that her mother is an adventurous baker who relies more on smell and taste than following a recipe, while she tends to follow a recipe a little more, though instinct plays a large role.  

She just finished making a string lampshade, to replace a Warli lamp shade that she'd made a couple of years ago.  Her previous craft project was to make a patchwork bedspread using material left over from the cotton kurtas she'd made for herself over the years. She stitches some of her own clothes as well. (Do you take orders on these craft projects? I might be interested :-) )

Her daughter, Nina, seems to have a talent for needlework and has now developed quite an interest in baking.  Her son, Nikhil, too is very happy to experiment in the kitchen.

So the trio spends quite some happy moments in the kitchen.

Look forward to seeing you at the showcase! Cheers!


  1. wow!! a specialist in rich plum cake? i gotta meet this to give an intro? oh wait!!! she has an online shop? well then, i am on my way there...

    1. You stay in Bangalore, Ganesh? Head over to the baker's showcase on Sept 1 and you can sample my cake. It is rich, moist, full of fruit and delicious. And like fine wine it improves with keeping!


Munch on....