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Cakes & Bakes: A Chat with Zimbabwe's Independent Bakers



If there's anything we can all agree on, it's the unrivalled joy that baked goods can bring. Luckily for us, Zimbabwe has a great selection of independent bakers with cakes and cupcakes that are as beautifully designed as they are delicious. Maxine and Shakeel, the creative minds behind MaxiTreats and The Cupcake Shak, are two such bakers. Read on to find out more about who they are, what they do and, of course, how you can get your hands on one of their cakes!


Maxitreats by Maxine Chisweto

Who: Maxine Chisweto

What: If there is absolutely one thing most of my customers will agree I’m known for is the chocolate cake. I have people who have ordered on the plus side of 10 times and have refused to try absolutely anything else. I think creativity and being unique is also another thing, I’m always willing to play with cake as far as the skill set allows!

Where: Harare, Zimbabwe


When did you know you wanted to become a baker?

Its an unusual story but in my last year of university I was moving out of Res meaning I was leaving behind my Resident related job. This meant was only going to be a graduate assistant and Commercial Law tutor, but that left a gap in my pocket. I then decided the easiest thing for me would be to make cupcakes, sell them at R10 each and the rest is history…


What’s your culinary background?

Do Brownies and Girl Guides count? lol



What makes Maxitreats special?

Sounds like a cliché but I am in love with my brand. Maxitreats seeks to be out of the box and make your cake dreams come true. I’m always striving for better taste, better design, better packaging – the works. Creative cake is my business!

What’s the most exciting or challenging thing you’ve baked to date?

I think drawing the Lady Bug on the Lady Bug cake! Under normal circumstances, I probably would have just opted to print out the cartoon on an edible image but it was during Lockdown and no one was printing. I couldn’t let my customer down so we took it back to the drawing board. Literally. Last time I had probably drawn was in form 2! After about two hours of painting on fondant and cut-outs etc, we got a decent product.


Where do you hope to take Maxitreats in the future?

Somewhere fun, somewhere exciting and somewhere independent of Maxine.


What’s one random fact about you?

I actually do not bake full time. Believe it or not, being a lawyer is my first love! So when we aren’t on lockdown baking only happens after 5 pm and icing before 7 am.



Cupcake Shak by Shakeel Adam


Who: Shakeel Adam

What: Customised cakes, macarons and cupcakes!

Where: Harare, Zimbabwe


When did you know you wanted to become a baker?

I wanted to be a baker when I was in nursery school when we used to bake cookies every Friday. That used to be my highlight every week. I always enjoyed it the most and later learnt that’s where my interest and passion lies.


What's your culinary background

My culinary background is pretty much all over the place! I started baking at home when I was in high school and I would always be trying out new recipes in the kitchen whenever I had the chance. I later baked cupcakes for people at school and then started taking orders from home after A-levels! I had already decided by then that I would study baking and applied to the Malaysian Institute of Baking where I obtained my Diploma in Baking Science and Technology. Since then, I have worked in Harare at Cake Box and Afters Cafe. I decided to start my own home business and thankfully it has been a success and has been operating for 1.5 years now!



What makes Cupcake Shak special?

I think what makes any home business special is each person's unique twist and take on baked goods. I always aim to provide fresh, from scratch baked goods using only the finest ingredients I can get my hands on! Each baked good is made with love and a whole lot of passion. No one can steal that quality from you and at the_cupcake_shak, I always aim to provide the best quality to the best of my ability.

What's the most challenging thing you've ever had to bake?

The most challenging item to bake is definitely macarons! Thankfully after a year, I have finally managed to get them right! Any baker or pastry chef will tell you that these are always a challenge!

What's one random fact about you?

One random fact about me is that I am actually funny but just seem really quiet and serious.


Now that you are done learning about some of our fantastic bakers, the obvious thing to do is place your orders! Visit @MaxiTreats and @the_cupcake_shak to for more information.


Don't forget to come back and let us know what you ordered!

© 2018 by nnyasha.

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