Meet Anna Mathew, the leading pioneer of edible sugar caricatures in Kochi
Anna Mathew Vadayatt, from Kanjirapally, Kottayam is a post graduate in Fine Arts from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She is an artist, a sculptor, a loving wife, a doting mom and above all, a leading pioneer of edible sugar caricatures in Kochi! Her impeccable creations have travelled from Kochi to as far as the United Kingdom. Winner of multiple international awards like the Pretty Witty Cakes award 2014, Cake International Birmingham Award 2015 and also a finalist to the Cake Oscars 2015, Anna has many laurels to her credit. Her client list is studded with celebrities who are fans of her signature style in sugar craft. Read on as Anna takes time out to share her success story with RITZ.
How did ‘Cake Canvas’ happen?
Cake Canvas – happiness in a box, was born off a deep passion for art and fantastic cakes. My friends wanted a cake which combines art and taste. They had to prod me a little to start me off though. It’s been four years since I made the first ever Cake Canvas designer cake, Veda’s Farm for my friend’s daughter.
What do you love most about your craft?
Every artist needs to find the one outlet which helps them channelize their creative energy. I tried several mediums before ending up in the right path. This helps me to be the artist I was destined to be. More than anything, it is the instant feedback which lures me time and again into this field. Truly, the box does bring happiness to the ones who receive it.
What are the challenges you face?
The inherent humidity of our costal region is a major challenge. But this can be overcome to a great extent through technology. The biggest challenge is the transformation of a creation from a mere idea to a complete structure. This is what keeps me going and makes the profession interesting. Each cake is a fresh challenge that I tackle head on.
Do you work out of home? How do you juggle work and home management?
Yes, I’m a home baker. The juggling part comes easy as I am blessed with three angels who give me all the space I require for my creativity.
Neha, my 12 year old is a serious chef who understands the intricacies of food. She directs her younger sibling Chacko to other activities when he gets perturbed with my not giving him enough attention. Both my children help immensely when they conduct their studies without commotion or interference while I work. Most of all, the occasional hugs and banter help me through the tedium of work. My husband is the pillar who lends a helping hand whenever I’m in need. From mixing the cake batter to kneading the icing to even brainstorming for creative edges, he’s always there by my side.
Any dream projects?
Would love to make a caricature cake for Mammooty reprising one of his epic roles.
You started the caricature trend in Kochi, how did you come up with the idea? What was your first project (caricature)?
It was the wedding anniversary of our friends and they wanted a cake. A caricature of the lovely couple was sent for reference – I took a deep breath, told Austin that I’m going to do this and started off. That was a smash hit and our friends were thrilled by how the caricatures turned out. Once again, it was positive feedback from our customers which led to innovation.
An experience of doing a cake project that was most memorable to you.
There was an order for a wedding reception, they wanted a Kathakali cake. Now most would expect a 2D cake with the face of a Kathakali artist – We decided to do a two feet tall sugar statue instead. The unsuspecting couple came to pick up the cake and their surprise and happiness was out of bounds. This actually sparked off our business motto “Happiness in a box.”
Your cakes have travelled to…?
Apart from all the corners of Kerala my cakes have travelled to Goa, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Coimbatore. Last year we even took my cake all the way from Cochin to Birmingham UK for Cake International 2015 and flew back with the Silver Award.
Winner of International awards and a long list of VIP clients – what inspires you to keep going?
The fact that my work results in a lot of smiles – twice over at the minimum. First when our customers look at the end results and second time when they bite into that rich chocolate goodness. I get a lot of mails saying my craft has inspired the sender. This is a huge bonus as I never expected this outcome. I would like to continue doing that to the best of my abilities. Third and the most obvious reason – My two kids are hooked on to the cakes. They look forward to each cake and follow the process closely. These cakes are like very interesting guests who visit us with their amazing stories.
You recently did a workshop on sugar craft. Would you tell us more about it, how was the response?
Since this was a People Modelling class, we had to filter out the attendees. Each aspirant had to be a cake designer; we carefully selected 12 out of all the applications after scrutinising their body of work. Twelve people at the top of the creative peak who could follow immediately what was happening and excelled at the craft. Verily marvellous, the way each one incorporated the imparted knowledge into their repertoire of cakes.
Your future plans?
Scaling hereto unknown heights in cake designing, innovate more and share the knowledge. We are planning to conduct more classes in India and later move on to other countries as well. More than anything, to keep spreading happiness through Cake Canvas boxes.
Are caricatures / sugar craft edible?
Yes, they are made of sugar modelling paste. Apart from the internal support frame everything is edible. But generally my clients choose to keep them for a while after the cake is cut and enjoyed. I’ve even had clients who have vacuum preserved their caricature figurine.
Do you use any substitutes for refined flour in your cakes?
No. I do only one cake a week and the taste is also a key factor I consider on par with the design and Execution.Maintaining quality and standard of food colourings…I use the best quality food colours available in the International market which is Certified Kosher and FDA approved food colours.
Shelf life of your cake?
They last about a week without refrigeration.
Price only on request as it varies with the requirements and design.
Quick 5 with Anna
Hobbies: Movies, Dancing, Painting
Celebrity Clients: Kavya Madhavan, Beena Kannan, Rima Kallingal, Aju Verghese, Ann Augustine
Favourite Dish: Anything chocolate, I’m a chocoholic – I especially love sizzling chocolate brownies – hot brownies with warm gooey chocolate innards – the thick and warm chocolate just breaks out when you cut it with a spoon; one of the best things ever. One already enthralled by the smell of the toasty brownie will be instantly hit by the rush of pure chocolate smell and once you sink into the double chocolate taste, the mixed texture of the crumbling brownie and the melted chocolate creates a mini heaven right inside the mouth…. I can go on and on…
Favourite Attire: Indian fusion or a saree