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Hangula’s home baking steals hearts

LATELY, there has been a high demand for home-baked cakes. The demand for healthier options is driving the market, as more and more consumers want fresh, organic ingredients, and a variety of flavors and options.

LATELY, there has been a high demand for home-baked cakes. The demand for healthier options is driving the market, as more and more consumers want fresh, organic ingredients, and a variety of flavors and options.

Imaan Hangula, a self-taught baker and owner of Buttered and Baked Namibia, operates from her home in Oshakati. She is one baker whose cakes have stolen the hearts of both the old and young countrywide.

Hangula started baking in 2018 and opened the business in 2020.

She runs her business in the heart of Oshakati and recently started shipping baked goods to Windhoek as well.

To help grow the industry and share her passion with others, Hangula this year started giving one-on-one training to individuals who want to pursue a career in the field.

Hangula is the oldest of two sisters. “I’m very loud and outspoken and prefer home-cooked meals over takeouts. I don’t have a sweet tooth, I never tasted probably 70% of the stuff I bake. I’m a perfectionist but I hate cleaning up my mess after baking. I always enjoy staying at home. I love interior designing and doing make-up,” she describes herself.

What makes Hangula’s work stand out is the unique hand-crafted touch that she adds. She is also known for her variety of desserts derived from different cultures around the globe to cater for everyone, such as Tiramisu (coffee-flavoured dessert from Italy), Baklava (pyllo strudel from Turkey), pasteis de nata (custard tarts from Portugal) , peppermint tart (caramel and mint tart from South Africa) and many more.

As a little girl, Hangula says she was always been fascinated by cooking. After several burnt pots and unpleasant dishes, she later discovered baking.

“Growing up, I watched a lot of cooking shows on TV and did a lot of experiments in the kitchen. I would make anything out of three ingredients. My meals were a disaster every time. Whenever I was cooking in the kitchen, my grandmother would always shout at me for wasting food,” she recalls.

It was, however, only in 2009 when Hangula started showing interest in baking. She started watching Buddy Valastro’s reality show ‘Cake Boss’ and was fascinated by how he could bake just about anything.

CARVING A NICHE

Hangula describes baking as positive therapy for her.

“I’m in my zen when I bake and as a result I get to add a dash of sweetness to everybody that shares in the indulgence of my confectionery. Baking allows me to share food and joy with other people,” she says.

Hangula has found her niche in different types of baked products, turning every possible recipe into different stuff. She specializes in gourmet cakes, novelty cakes, mini desserts and pastries derived from different cultures.

She urges other bakers to never be concerned about competition. “Yes, there are a lot of bakers in Namibia, whether they’re professional or hobby bakers. So, competition is and will always be like in any other industry. I personally don’t indulge in competing with other bakers as I feel it’s time-consuming. It can make one lose focus on running a successful business. Uniqueness goes a long way and creates brand royalty,” she said.

Hangula says working in this industry requires a lot of patience. She urges people to always know that Rome was not built in a day and never to give up.

She expressed excitement about the tremendously growth of Namibia’s baking industry over the past years.

“It’s so overwhelming knowing that people are actually supporting local home-bakers. Homemade cakes are healthier than store-bought cakes because they do not contain additional chemicals, stabilizers and preservatives. Home-bakers purchase ingredients at retail values ​​and make products from scratch, all as per the customer’s dietary and requirements. Being a baker has its pros and cons, and the most challenging thing I have encountered is the amount of hours I spend baking, having two hours of sleep and barely having time for myself and family,” she said.

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