When your Instagram feed is flooded by photos of finely-crafted cakes, and a particularly impressive 18-wheeler truck cake, you simply have to find out who creates these edible works of art. Meet Angelique da Silva, Bloemfontein’s baker extraordinaire…
A particularly disastrous cake was the nudge Angelique needed to dive into the world of baking. She recalls, “I fell into baking when I ordered my 21st birthday cake and it was a huge mess. I said to myself, people need pretty cakes that look good and taste great!” Her childhood dream was to work as a chef in the high-pressure kitchen of a fine dining restaurant; instead she worked as a pastry chef in a local eatery for five years. This is where she learnt the finer intricacies of baking, which according to Angelique, is “an exact science”, and not simply throwing together a cup of this and a pinch of that.
Angelique calls her decision to start her own business – cheekily named Lekkerlika – “one of her best”. This is only topped by her decision to marry the love of her life, Danny. “We eloped – it was the best day of my life!” Angelique describes Danny as her “best friend. He’ll often sit with me in the early morning hours while I’m trying to figure out some particularly challenging aspect of a bake, and tell me, ‘You can do it, just keep going’”. According to her, the fact that they come from different cultural backgrounds (Danny is Portuguese and she has an English mother and an Afrikaans father), “keeps things open and fresh. Spending time with Danny is like taking a holiday”.
No shrinking violet
Anybody who has tried to bake a slightly more complicated cake will know nerve-wracking it can be. Angelique agrees that baking can raise your stress levels. “However, I feel if you don’t stress or doubt yourself, you’ve given up. Self-doubt pressures you into thinking outside the box”, which is something Angelique relishes. She loves adding to her ever-expanding arsenal of recipes and experimenting with more intricate or bolder designs. “I’m not scared to use weird ingredients. It certainly takes a lot of planning and experimenting but it usually works out well. I love clients who test my abilities to take something strange, like courgettes, and turn it into a well-rounded sweet treat.”
But, if a bake really empties her tank, Angelique adopts a pragmatic approach. “Sometimes you just have to sleep on it. You can’t create if you’re tired,” she says matter-of-factly. And when she is baking, what is the soundtrack to all the mixing, beating and whipping? “This would sound strange to most people but my day starts at four in the morning and I always have my tablet with me with my favourite true crime podcasts. Murder and mystery keeps me going!”
Although Angelique loves her daily “job” of creating edible delights, with her favourite part of it sitting down in her bright red “cookie chair” icing cookies, her pet peeve is loadshedding. “I’ve had many a cake in the oven when the power fails. Ugh, then it’s dustbin cake and start over. I also dislike short notice cakes. You want to help, but time is your enemy.”
Which of Lekkerlika’s cakes is her signature creation? “Most definitely my fudge pecan nut brownie cake! It took months to perfect and write the recipe. As with all bakers, it can take months or even years to make an idea come to life.” And her personal favourite? “I would say my pumpkin cheesecake cake or the chocolate brownie cake, I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but those two cakes made me go wow with the taste test.”
Exciting plans for the future
Angelique crystallises her plans for the future while conjuring up new jaw-dropping creations. She dreams of expanding into bigger premises, but also sees a cake and cocktail bar in her future – a place where you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a good-to-the-last-mouthful slice of cake and a delicious cocktail. We don’t know about you, but she can definitely count us in! Find Lekkerlika on Instagram or visit the Lekkerlika Facebook page.
Text: MARGARET LINSTRÖM. Photographs: PIERCE VAN HEERDEN