Home baker Kavita Kanodia's brand Cocoa Tree is serving up the most Instagrammable chocolate gateaux and desserts
Kavita Kanodia has been baking professionally since she was 17 years old, and if you have tasted her truffle chocolate praline cake or her gateau numbers, you’ll know what a master baker’s signature tastes like. Kavita’s brand Cocoa Tree is almost five years old now - but in the last half-decade, Kolkata’s baking spectrum has also changed enormously. From high-powered dessert outlets to artisanal home bakers and independent gourmet bakeries, the city is quite literally drowning in sweetness.
You’d assume this makes Kanodia’s job all the more difficult - especially with so many bakers providing diet-specific, gluten-free and even keto-friendly baked goods. But Kanodia reveals that her elaborately crafted, Instagrammable cakes and desserts are wholesome indulgences. In fact, she also reveals that her clients have been loyal to her trusty one-of-a-kind chocolate delicacies even after being obsessed with a fitness fad.
Tell us something about your line-up. What are you focusing on now?
Mainly desserts. I did make savouries earlier but now I’m only preparing a range of desserts. Chocolate desserts are definitely a speciality. I make cakes, I make souffle, puddings, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes.
Can you tell us about the ingredients you use the most
Pure chocolate, chocolate compound, cocoa powder.
When did you start baking?
I have been baking professionally since I was 17; my brand Cocoa Tree came into being around five years back. I had often moved bases, to Allahabad and Delhi, but amid the changes, my baking always remained a constant for me. I have always been a baker and I’ve experimented with my numbers.
What does your customer base look like, and how has it evolved?
I’ve observed that all kinds of people come to me for desserts, from younger people to older folks; even children have always loved my desserts and when they insist on my products, parents have to yield.
My customer base stems from word-of-mouth, so it’s obviously much more reliable. So you know, despite so much competition and mushrooming bakeries around the city, I can safely say that my clients have only been increasing in number. Because when someone has a cake, they refer it to someone else and so on.
Have you wanted to venture into healthy baking, especially as other bakers are catering to that niche?
You know, I have thought about it. But I have to say, I think my clients, even those who say they are trying to eat healthily - at the end of the day, they just want to indulge in some chocolates.
Have you ever thought of starting your store or an outlet?
Yes! Many times, I even come close to it. But I never had the time to really pursue it. But you know now I don't think about it as much because I've been happy with my customers and the kind of stuff I get to bake and I have to say it is working out really well for me.
What would you say are the perks of being a home baker?
I get to do what I love, and that too, in my comfort zone. I get so much more time with my family. The support system which I get is also great, if you want some extra hands, you can always ask your home staff for help.
What are some of your bestsellers?
The chocolate truffle praline cake, that is one of the hottest selling cakes I have. I also make these bite-sized chocolate tarts which are very popular, I making 10,000 of those for Diwali!
Tell us a little about your ordering process.
People should ideally two to three days in advance. But I often have customers asking me to bake something in a day. My tarts are Rs 30 each. The truffle praline chocolate cake is Rs 800 per kg, fondant cakes are Rs 1,800 per kg