KATY, FORT BEND COUNTY (Covering Katy) - Food TV and Netflix star Hemu Basu of Cinco Ranch tells Covering Katy she will return to the small screen in November, but details of the show are still confidential.
Hemu is an experienced competitor on cable and streaming TV. She just completed the first season of the Netflix program Is It Cake? She won $10,000 during the eight-episode run.
The show challenges bakers to design cakes that resemble objects like a purse, a hamburger, or a shoe. The cakes were placed next to the items they represent, and a panel of judges stood 15 feet away and guessed which object was the cake.
She also won Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” where bakers attempted to produce the ultimate Halloween themed display. Her team won $50,000.
The journey begins
Hemu baked and sold cakes while living in Aberdeen, Scotland, but she credits her son for refocusing her business after the family moved to Katy’s Cinco Ranch neighborhood in 2015.
“I used to bake normal cakes, then my son asked me for a fire truck cake.”
She used a library book to guide her through baking the fire truck cake, and the result was a massive hit with everyone who saw it, especially her son.
“The joy on my son’s face was memorable,” she said. “He was so proud of his mom for making that cake.”
“He was very stubborn on getting that cake, and I’m glad he was,” she said. “When I made the fire truck cake, I enjoyed it.”
A new focus on baking artistic cakes
Friends began seeing and tasting her work. They clamored to buy cakes from her, and she loved the challenge. Friends will send her a picture of their dog, and she’ll make a cake that looks like the dog.
“Last year I made a lamb cake,” she said.
Hemu believes that artistic cakes should be more than a work of art.
“If they look good, they should also taste good.”
She uses chocolate ganache and modeling chocolate, avoiding the use of fondant.
“Sometimes I used fondant, but I don’t use it unless it demands it,” she said.
She also avoids buttercream frosting, to produce a more enjoyable texture and taste.
“You eat a bite of my cake, and it will melt in your mouth,” she said.
“With each cake, I learned something new. I practiced and practiced and practiced,” she said.
She began entering Texas cake competitions.
“I started from beginner levels. I am a completely self-trained artist. I have not taken any classes.”
Her break came in 2018 in a surprising social media message from a TV production company.
“I got a message asking me to compete in a TV show.”
She was selected to compete in Food Network’s Wedding Cake Championships.
Her website and social media pages have seen a viral boost of activity from her TV appearances.
“I’m getting messages and emails that said ‘Hey, we love you on the show, can you do this cake for me?’”
She credits her success to not giving up. Instead, she encourages others to pursue their dreams.
“I think people give up too soon. They try and then they give up,” Hemu said.
She recommends Birthday Cakes by Annie Rigg for those who want to try artistic baking.
Hemu is looking forward to new challenges and is glad that she never gave up. She believes doing what you love means you’ll never work a day in your life.
“When your passion becomes your business, you enjoy yourself,” she said.
Hemu’s home-based business is growing with seemingly endless requests for artistic cakes.
She requires at least two months’ notice to create a birthday cake.
Texas’ cottage food law makes it simple to open a home-based cake business, but Hemu feels it could be time to open a larger bakery.
She wants to focus on artistic cakes rather than other bakery items.
“I don’t want to compromise quality. I’d have to form a team,” she said.
Hemu has been baking since she was a teen. She’ll be 41 in August. She could never have predicted the journey that was ignited by her son’s cake request.
“It’s like a dream come true,” Hemu said.
Website: Hemu’s Sweet Sensation