Unable to afford the Spiderman cake of her son’s dreams back in 2014 due to her domestic worker salary, Nothando Nyathi was inspired to take a different course for her life.
Her thought progression went something like this – maybe she couldn’t afford it, but perhaps she could make it herself.
This is the story of Nothando and her journey to becoming the “cake boss”.
The Spiderman cake disappointment broke her heart, as she told Good Things Guy, but it kick-started her journey.
“From there, I promised myself I will definitely learn how to bake.”
It wasn’t a goal, it was a plan.
Back in the day: a passion remembered.
Nothando had liked the idea of baking from when she was a young girl living in Matopo Hills near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
She recalled how she and her step-grandmother would bake bread together, but not in an oven. They didn’t have one, and so they used charcoal and fire.
It was also in the archives of her life that she learnt skills that she would later be put to good use, like sculpting.
It was her cousin who showed her how to mould animals from mud at a ripe age, a skill that would hold her in good stead for all the decorative moulding she would later use on her cakes.
Her mother brought happiness into her life.
Though Nothando only saw her in December, those days were filled with her mother’s thickly sliced bread ate with sweet jam, cookies, and vetkoek – food only reserved for the festive season.
Remembering her passion after the Spiderman dream crush, she decided to inquire about beginners’ baking classes.
Living in Soweto at the time, she was told that lessons were being offered at the Fund Centre in her area. She decided to do a course there, and the journey to achieve her dream began.
At a baking school in Orange Grove, she would learn cake-decorating skills, quickly becoming something of an apprentice.
Her mentor, Nonhlanhla Mthimkhulu was the “Cake Boss” in Nothando’s eyes. Nonhlanhla didn’t only guide her in the art of cake decorating, but would later become the woman who organised her first start-up equipment like baking pans.
Soon, Nothando was “sprinkling” her way into the baking world. She would save as much as she could to attend advanced courses.
“Most of the other students were suburban housewives, or retirees picking up a new hobby,” as Mail & Guardian reported.
Nothando would go on to invest in wedding cake courses with her savings too. This, she said, opened doors for her.
Into the world of baking, with hustle.
She worked hard every day, sculpting each flower more precisely than the last. She would eventually become a master of these skills, making octopi and ocean creations, the sweetest penguins and pine trees or unicorn imaginings.
All the credit for what would become her incredible skills can’t go to the classes alone. When she couldn’t pay for the class, Youtube and Cake Boss were her teachers.
On the television set in her bedroom, Nothando and her husband would watch Cake Boss for hours.
Fighter, her husband would also be stirred into the business of baking eventually, as Nothando taught him how to bake too.
Master of cakes
Today, Nothando has created some amazing cakes that leave many in awe.
What’s her dream now?
For people to purchase and enjoy her creations. Additionally, she’s started to offer classes to others – teaching people how to create and design, cake style.
“Baking makes me happy and I share in all the joys and celebrations in people’s lives.. all the joys of being together in small groups to eat my delicious cakes.”
And for those wondering, yes, she did go on to make a Spiderman cake of her own.
Picture: Instagram @extraordinary_cakes_by_noe