Extraordinaire 5: Cake Culture

Cakes are accessories that grace almost every event from weddings to baby showers,staff parties,birthdays and so much more.Failure to find the the right baker can be a deal breaker but when you find a good one,you are hooked for life.

Welcome with me Racheal Atieno to our No ordinary scribbles table as we chat about her love for cake and building Cake culture.

1.Who is Racheal Atieno?

Racheal is a 30 year old lady born and bred in Nairobi ,Kenya. She is an extrovert who loves people and thrives when helping people out. She loves travelling, baking and adventure . She studied Sociology and Psychology at the University of Nairobi and was in employment for about 5 years before going into baking full-time. She has worked with Huru international on a project that provided reusable sanitary pads for needy girls in the slum plus did HIV prevention training. Later on she worked with Earthview Geo-consultants Limited as a Social Impact Assessment officer then went into full-time baking in January 2017.

IMG_20170610_144634
Racheal Atieno handing over goodies to a client at Cake Fest

2. How did cake culture come into existence? Did you go to baking school?

While visiting my cousin some years back, her friend, a baker, had also visited and decided to randomly teach us how to bake using a charcoal stove and this is what triggered the baking passion in me. I went back home and kept experimenting and trying out different recipes, it was fun. There were disappointments but I kept at it, I’ll never forget putting a hole in my mother’s sufuria cause I had used wet sand to set up my charcoal oven. My desire has always been to be a stay at home mum and Cake culture was birthed out of an initial desire for a source of income while I stayed home to raise my children (And no I don’t have children yet). I had always baked as a hobby for family and friends and a friend of mine kept insisting on how I should turn it into a business and even helped out with the registration process which I did in July 2014. At this point I did not know much about business (never really pictured myself doing business), I had no idea of where to get baking supplies. I did not go to baking school so I learnt through google and particular bakers or bloggers who were so kind to help out. I had done various probono cakes for friends and family but my very first order came from my colleague who needed a birthday cake for the son who was turning two years (he is actually turning 5 this month) I was very nervous and not too sure of myself, it was the first time I was going to whip cream and decorate a birthday cake. It was a red velvet cake and looking back, it was more maroon than red and I’ve since changed the recipe I use to a much better one. I thank God for this particular client cause she believed in me and kept pushing me, she allowed me to experiment with her orders and was very forgiving and patient when at times it was not so perfec(thank you Lydia).I was in employment when I started the business, so I basically bought ingredients with the money the client paid and bought equipment with some of my money, I did not really need much to start. We already had an oven at home that I still use (I forever cherish those charcoal days, but a girl has got to upgrade😂😂😂)

IMG_20170610_145302.jpg
Racheal Atieno (extreme right) at Cake Fest this year

3. Describe the journey of your start up

It has been an interesting one, It started out prematurely, well at least from how I planned it. The initial stages were more of baking for fun but eventually I decided to do it for business which is also a story on its own especially the whole concept of pricing, separating the business supplies from the home supplies, being a home baker and all. I had a day job and that meant that any baking would be either at night or on weekends. I used my (boss’s) time during the day to read and research about baking, download recipes which I would then try out back at home. Some worked out while others just backfired. This kept going for over a year, trying out different recipes and perfecting as many as I could. Orders were coming in from mostly friends and workmates and this was a good thing for it provided me both a market but also a platform to get feedback about my cakes which greatly helped the learning process. Eventually I found it hard to balance as the orders kept increasing meaning sleepless nights were fast becoming a norm. At this time too, work at my day job had really slowed down, which should have been good but if the cake business was to grow to its fullest potential then it needed to become the number 1 priority. So I made up my mind to resign from my job at the end of the year (2016) and focus 100% on CAKE CULTURE moving forward, step of faith. In terms of initial capital, we didn’t need much for a start. We have an oven at home so that went a long way in cutting the costs. The rest of the things we bought as the money came in and as the need arose. With time and research i figured out where to get supplies at the best possible deals- a supermarket could be nearer but costlier. We started with what we had and the rest has been the business growing itself.

4. Share key lessons you have learnt along the way.

Researching & adapting. I research about everything from pricing,mixing to flavors. Adapting may take the form of reading ahead about planned power blackouts so that you either bake or prepare cream ahead of time with the end goal being that you’re not caught flatfooted by the blackout.

Resilience and determination.“With trial there will be error.” This means that you will spend hours and money preparing for a cake and then it will not come out as you expected. I have learnt not to give up. One of our signature cake flavors is a result of such resilience. It backfired so many times that I almost gave up but from the day I mastered it, I think it single handedly accounts for about 50% of our revenue. You can’t be too caught up in what didn’t work. Sometimes everything is right but halfway through the baking there is a power blackout. This means redo the whole process.

We have learnt to set values for our business. At CAKE CULTURE ,we value customer satisfaction and this means that we must deliver the best product to the client every time. This calls for more than following the recipe to the letter: the whole process has to be standardized and nothing left to imagination. Continued research is a must. We can’t be comfortable with just a few flavors even if we’re the best at them. What happens after a client has sampled all our cakes? There is need to keep adding new products. We also value our products and price them accordingly.

Friendships are critical because it took more than one person to build the business. The name ‘CAKE CULTURE’ was suggested by a friend and I loved it. Our (awesome) branding was done by another friend. My first orders were from friends. Some of our equipment like our awesome stand mixer was from a friend. My biggest source of support has been my family, not forgetting mum’s oven that I use to date. The start and growth of this business has been largely enabled by people. You could do it alone but you may not finish the race and assuredly you will be slower.

5.What are your current products?

We currently have a list of 19 Cake flavors with the orange/passion chiffon being a major favorite, we also have cupcakes, muffins, quick breads, granola bars, oatmeal cookies, brownies and toasted muesli cereal. We for sure keep adding to the list.

6. Achievements for cake culture

In the last two years we have participated in the Cake Festival organized by Edumed Trust as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. It is an annual event that brings together various bakers who get the opportunity to offer their products for sampling with the aim of raising funds to educate bright needy students through high school.

7. What challenges did you face when you started out?

I struggled with pricing because I feared to lose clients but overtime the business was not making money despite having good products and a good number of orders. I finally allowed for the prices to be reviewed and this has positively reflected in our revenues.

8.Social media sites

For any inquiries and orders reach us on;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Cake-Culture-807865545967804/

Instagram: @cakecultureke

9. Future plans for cake culture.

We plan to open a bakery shop and increase our products to include everything pastry and dessert. From that shop we hope to open a few others, particularly looking forward for a branch in Kampala, my friends over there keep asking for one.

10.Parting tip.

Friendships are critical know who to listen to and who not to listen to. I believe God sends you the right people to help you through your process.Currently,at Cake Culture it’s myself as head Baker and Morris,the tech guy who also doubles as the delivery guy.

Racheal Kizza © 2017

Soul Touch International

 “​​​​​​​​The local church is the hope of the world’-Bill Hybells. This simply means , the church is a solution to the problems the world`s experiencing.  Meet Soul Touch International whose priority is to be church to the vulnerable children in slums around Kampala.

1. Who is Soul Touch?

Soul Touch International is a registered Christian organisation that was initiated by a group of university students in 2011; under the leadership of Ronald Amanya to respond to God`s call to preach the gospel and help needy children in slums, believing that every sinner can turn into a saint and every slave can become a master given time and opportunity. We focus on gospel missions, student outreach and child care. Child care is handled under the  soul care project.

received_1350029725066557
Founding team back in 2011 (Ronald Amanya ,seated between the two ladies on the grass)    Photo source: Soul Touch International

2. How do you get the kids under soul care project?

They are recommended by a school, church, police or organizations in the community. The soul care team follows up the child in order to get full recommendation from the local council of that community and then the family`s consent. Parents need to give us permission to take on their children .

We take on kids who are deemed to be needy, vulnerable or less advantaged from the slum communities of Katanga, Bwaise, Kasokoso, Kawala and Mulago. We register children between 5-9 years. The idea is to evolve with them upto university level.

 3. How many kids did you start with in 2011 and how many do you have currently?

We started with only 2 children (Paul and Denis) from Katanga who were not attending school at that time because their parents lacked school fees and other scholastic materials.

received_1350028305066699
Paul & Denis, the pioneer children

We currently have 30 children  under our Soul care project .They are all enrolled into various Nursery and Primary schools for example Batvalley, Buganda road, St.Martin, Kawala Junior,and many others.

4.What more do you offer the children besides school fees and taking care of their school needs?

  • Mentor-ship where we connect them with mentors who can inspire them to fulfill their dreams.
  • Family empowerment involves helping the parents of the children start up their own small businesses so they are able to sustain their families. It also involves visiting with the families and praying with them to ten to their emotional and spiritual needs.

5.Challenges Soul Touch has  faced since it’s inception.

  • Financial constraints since the budget expenses are always high especially when school begins.
  • Fundraising is tedious since the term Ngos and money has over the years received a bad reputation.
  • Rent since we have to maintain an official address.
  • Soul Touch International  is a growing organisation with most of our staff being  volunteers who are not easy to depend on as their commitment and experience is not reliable.

6. What are your sustainability plans?

  • In partnership with Makerere Palliative care unit,we started a piggery project in Wakiso which can partly support the organisation.
  • We have started teaching our children to make crafts which we will in turn sell off .

7.How can people partner with Soul Touch International?

  • Sponsor a child at only 70,000 or 20 USD.
  • Be a mentor to a child
  • Volunteer with us
  • Donate any amount of money monthly or annually.

8.Where is Soul Touch International  located?

Location: Makerere Kikoni near canani land

Website: http://www.soultouchinternational.org

Email:info@soultouchinternational

Facebook:Soul Touch International or soul care project

Twitter: SoulTouch_UG

Tel: +256706535283/+256785853134

Love me anyway

When I can’t smile like I used too,

love me anyway

When you realize I am not that perfect,

Love me anyway.

When you see my worst self piling up,

Love me anyway.

When insecurities kick in so loud,

Love me anyway.

When I can’t stand others being around you,

Love me anyway.

When I can’t put off the cloth of selfishness,

Love me anyway………

Simply love me like Christ loved the church-relentlessly,with no strings attached.

Love me anyway.

Racheal Kizza ©2017

Book review #9

Book: Real life, Real Miracles

Subtitle: True stories that will help you believe.

Authors: James.L.Garlow and Keith Wall

Pages: 314

angggeels

Real life, Real Miracles spins a captivating web of miracles that fan the bible truths to life for both believers and non-believers.
The authors share a collection of miracles of people from all walks of life. A miracle according to the authors is, `a love letter from God to His people.’’ The miracles shared exponentially reveal the reality of God in our day to day lives.

God is revealed as a healer of any disease, provider, protector, way maker and the angelic ministration is fanned to life with people recounting their angelic encounters in the most unlikely places and scenarios. This book brings the #God is not dead to life and cements the very existence of the Heavenlies and how they evade earth for His glory.

God is not limited by natural laws. He clearly controls everything and anything. He is never too late, He is always on the, “nick of time.’’ He is a loving father who desires we experience Heaven on earth.

This book is sure enough to expand your faith and deeply encourage you as you journey with God.

I recommend this book to every person who doubts the existence of God.

For more book reviews, check out https://web.facebook.com/52bookchallengeuganda/

Racheal Kizza © 2017

Book review#8

Book title: Angels on Assignment

Author: Charles and Frances Hunter, as told by Roland Buck

Pages: 125

angels

Charles and Frances Hunter retell the experiences of Roland Buck detailing His angelic encounters and the message revealed from God through them.

The encounters Pastor Roland Buck has with the angelic are quite extraordinary and He reveals that with each visitation there is a reason. “Look beyond supernatural encounters to the reason for the visit.’’ Angels are eternal beings and come straight from the presence of God and can`t be commanded by man to do anything, only God commands them to do things for human beings.

The book further reveals that, “God`s plan is a family plan and all household members must be saved.’’ This is encouraging news to the body of Christ, knowing that God is at work for every family member. He cares.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for all people and this is referred to as atonement. “Atonement in Hebrew is Kaphar, means to cover, cancel.’’ From God`s view point, He sees us as holy, unblameable and unreproveable and from man`s view point, man sees sin, fault and failure. You are covered so start looking at yourself from God`s view.

People are special to God and He desires we be the living word to them by practically meeting their needs. `If you want to know where God lives on the this earth, look where people are and you will find His address because God lives where people are hurting. He wants to help.’’

Praise and worship is important to God and is an equalizer between heaven and earth. We were created to worship and Honor God.

The book sums up a simple message ,GOD CARES and His unfolding plan will come to pass no matter what.

Racheal Kizza © 2017

Book review#7

Book title: Culture of Honor
Subtitle: Sustaining A Supernatural Environment
Author: Danny Silk
Pages: 568

culture of honor

The book provides and calls for a culture of Honor in the church, a culture that solves the shame, fear and punishment culture in our churches today.

The book opens with a thrilling but scary line up of two students caught in “sin’’ like the woman caught in adultery with her accusers expecting Jesus to condemn and punish her. The students had sex over summer break and they expected the pastor to throw them and shame them upon finding out they were about to be parents, but what he did shocked them. He treated them with Honor and deployed kingdom confrontation.

“Honor is not an idea, but a practise, a practise of giving.’’ And “Honor is given on the basis of who people are-not what they have earned or, even what they need.’’ It’s centred on dealing with people the way Christ sees them, in their true identity. This empowers people, creates and protects relationships.

Kingdom confrontation is a process that respects the need for trust and Honor .It yields an entirely different outcome because it allows people to be free from control, punishment and fear.

Control, punishment and fear have been cultivated in church that people always expect them and even plan how to defend themselves when they think they have sinned big time. The author quotes, `many of us think that sin, mistakes, and falling short are more powerful than God`s heart for us.’’

The author uses examples from his blossomed years of experience in running a church revealing the practicality and authenticity of living out the culture of Honor.

This book shakes core foundational beliefs that have been the norm in the church opening up a kingdom honoring way of dealing with each other in love.

This book is a must read.

Racheal Kizza © 2017

Building the Nation through good work ethics

1st May-Labour Day is an awaited holiday year after year with all workaholics (non-workaholics too) looking forward to more hours of sleep than the usual early birding.

This year’s theme was “building the nation through good work ethics’’ and it was held in Pallisa district with wide media coverage (I flipped through our local stations and they all had the face of the president). The theme is however ironic in a country ravaged with a corruption stench so strong it hits all sectors.

It is no coincidence that I was reading Genesis 39 which gives an account of Joseph`s rise to power from a mere prisoner. His impeccable character placed him in right standing with his boss not forgetting the favor of the Lord.

Genesis 39:6 “Thus he left all that he had in Joseph`s hand and he didn`t know what he had except for the bread which he ate..’’

I am not sure whether this can be said about our government officials or even the common man as he works and toils each day. We have forgotten what it means to build the nation with love and commitment. We are building the nation our way.

Back to Joseph, he could have stolen and filled his own bank account and bought a house out there in any part of Africa or across the Jordan(he didn`t).I mean, the boss, didn’t know what went on in his house except for the bread he ate.so he trusted him fully to take care of his affairs.

  • Joseph exercised good and God stewardship where he faithfully took care of his master`s property.How many of us are such faithful stewards that we execute our duties without being reminded? Or our boses don`t worry about handling of money or doing our job?
  • He was a blessing in the Egyptian`s house .Are you a blessing at your workplace or a nightmare??
  • His work ethic spoke volumes and ought to be emulated by all who claim to serve the Lord.

I agree all jobs and various industries have different dynamics and those who work their know best; however, you have the power to “build the nation with good work ethics.”

Check out more about ethics from a cool blogger friend https://noelinekirabo.blogspot.com/2017/05/work-place-ethics-1-understand-code.htm

Racheal Kizza © 2017