By Raywattie Deonarine
Four years ago, Maywattie “Reya” Ramrattan never imagined that she would be running a successful business while inspiring other young women to follow their dreams.
The 32-year-old mother of three hails from Spring Garden Village on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), and currently operates Reya’s Cake Creations. Though her venture is relatively new, Reya is comfortably touted as one of the best cake artists on the Essequibo Coast.
She recently sat down with the Sunday Times and shared her journey from being a stay-at-home mom to one of the best bakers in the region.
Reya’s journey in the world of cake artistry came from her being at home bored and wanting to learn something new. In 2018, she attended a cake decorating class where she gained the technical knowledge on how to create masterpieces. There, she learnt to not only decorate but also bake cakes.
Since she was a child, Reya had an interest in cakes.
“I get my inspiration from many places. I always try to better myself by looking at many YouTube videos, many cake designs on the internet and draw inspiration from the designer perfecting their craft,” she said.
The entrepreneur also said that she always dreamt of having her own business while being a stay-at-home mom.
“Around that same time, friends and family who knew of my talents started approaching me for wedding cakes and birthday cakes and suddenly everything just made sense. The orders I started to receive have motivated me to put more interest in baking and decorating,” the cake artist said.
She told the Sunday Times that since she started her business four years ago it is something that has “never gotten old” regardless of how many times she went through the exact cake design.
When the baker was asked what excites her the most, she said, “What excites me the most of being able to do something I love and what I enjoy is trying new designs and I always strive to make the new cake better than the last. On average, it actually takes me about three and a half to four hours of baking and decorating”.
Reya noted sometimes that while baking cakes, the recipes would fail her and she would have to start all over again.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. If the baker sees a fascinating pattern on a building, a piece of fabric, or even an everyday object, she would imagine how it might look on a cake. Many nights Reya finds herself tirelessly browsing online for cakes done by the superstars in the industry and ideas bloom from there. The mother noted that there are those times when she has to put together a cake in a hurry and looks at the materials she has at hand for inspiration.
Questioned as to what is the most difficult cake design to date, she told the publication that intricate and highly detailed designs are always the most difficult ones because they require a tremendous amount of time and patience and in some instances, there is minimal room for error. The baker further indicated that sometimes the highest degree of difficulty comes from environmental conditions.
“Humid conditions can turn the simplest design into a disaster. The icing doesn’t behave as it should and everything weeps, including me,” she said.
Reya’s Cake Creation has backed her largest cake which is a seven-layer sponge cake for a birthday celebration with icing and decorative designs. She noted that the cake literally weighed over 65 pounds and required two men to lift it off the kitchen counter.
At Reya’s Cake Creations, she would typically bake the everyday vanilla, chocolate, lemon, and red velvet cakes as well as scrumptious cupcakes. But the unique ones are available including the Guyanese favourites – fruit and black cake.
The creative baker told Sunday Times that she has noticed the overloaded chocolate cakes are always a hit. By overloaded, she means the cake is chocolate, the icing is chocolate and there’s melted chocolate with chocolate shavings on top along with chocolate filling in the cake. She emphasised that it’s a chocolate lover’s dream and with a lot of chocolate lovers out there, most of her clients order her tempting chocolate cakes which is one of her favourite designs to create.
Reya said that her ultimate goal is to grow her business into a cake empire.
“As a cake designer specifically, my goal would be to bring icing smiles to beautiful faces as lifelong memories are created. It’s my chance to blend my talents in arts and crafts, with my interest in science and utilise my professional business training. It’s the most comprehensive package for me.”
Cakes done by Reya’s Cake Creations entirely depend on the recipe. Some are easy to get right on the first try while few require as many as ten tries. She stated that it does require a lot of patience but when you think about the smile you’ll bring to someone’s face, it’s more than worth it in the end.
The baker has encountered her fair share of “almost-disasters” but things eventually turned out great in the end. Reya said that as cliché as it might seem, she was truly inspired by the Food Network channel where bakers turn simple ingredients into a creative design, whether it is a house, a cartoon character, and even the shape of anything around us.
She said that feedbacks from her clients motivate her to give her best in terms of extraordinary creations. She added that she juggles cake decoration and being a mom, which is quite easy most times, although she is preparing her son for exam classes.
“At times I have a minor struggle when I’m needed in two places at once but that’s not a regular occurrence. It happens at time when I receive an order and at the said time I have to attend my children’s school meeting… other than that everything is great for me.”
Ramrattan is currently doing cakes based on orders. She said that the business gets challenging when she gets huge orders for weddings while pointing out that it gets chaotic in the kitchen. She does all the baking and decorating herself but also receives support from her two daughters who assist with tidying the kitchen. She added that her family, which includes her husband, two daughters, and one son has been her greatest support system in all her endeavours and although she started at the age of 28, she has no regrets in life.