Natrada is from Thailand, but now for several years, she calls her home Latvia. She shares how her passion for cooking became a business model and a simple cake as a present started her cakery brand! Read Natrada’s tips and some ideas on how to choose your perfect wedding cake for 2020! You can find Natrada’s works and contacts here – Kapok?
When was your first visit to Latvia?
I was an exchange student in 2003 in Ērgļu vidusskola, I came here with AFS (American Field Service) programme. After the program completion, I decided to study at the university in Riga and now I live here ever since.
I like that Latvia is a small country and I can breathe fresh air. Latvia is rich in culture and tradition, they are well preserved by Latvian people.
When and how did your passion for baking started?
It started when I moved to Rīga to study. Back then in 2006, there was not much Asian food here. Natrada jokes – cooking by myself was the only way to survive. I Have been cooking since I studied at university. Though I do not remember when I started to bake.
I like soft, moist cake, not too sweet, not whipping cream type of cake and that was pretty difficult to find here. So, I started to bake by myself.
Your cakes are so beautiful! Where did you learn to bake?
I am a self-taught baker. I did not go to cooking or baking school. I believe everything could be made beautifully, including food. I just transfer my imagination to my food and cakes with a lot of practice.
What is the story behind your brand “Kapok?”
I baked a cake for one friend as a birthday present last year. Everyone loved it, both the taste and the look. 2 people, who were at that birthday party, ordered cakes from me. One of them was a couple, Davis & Annija, they asked me if I could make cake for their wedding. I did not want to agree because I was afraid, I would not do good enough for their big day.
However, I said yes because if they believe in me, I should believe in myself. Life begins at the end of the comfort zone and certainly, it does.
There is no meaning to “Kapok”. it is a word that I made up using “Kāpēc” ( Latvian-” why?”) when I speak with my husband. It is a kind of internal language in our family. That’s why there is a question mark (?) behind Kapok. When I decided to start the cake business, my husband suggested using this word as a brand.
Did you marry in Latvia as well?
I got married in Ādaži, next to our house. We have a beautiful view of the Gauja river and it is convenient for us. We did not intend to have a wedding, but it turned out to be a beautiful wedding with a family nearby riverside. We made a celebration with a friend a year after at our yard in Ādaži.
What do you think are the most important things in the wedding?
It is a hard question, because everything is important in the wedding, literally every small thing. If I have to choose, I would say planning and detail.
You got to make a plan, plan it wisely and get deep into every small detail of the plan. The small detail makes the event stand out.
The wedding cake is one of the symbols of celebration and a wedding is one of the most important celebrations in most people’s lives. It is a tradition that has a long history.
Based on many sources, the origins of the wedding cake dates back to ancient Rome, when the groom broke bread over the bride’s head.
This used to symbolize the end of the bride’s purity, as well as the beginning of her being submissive to her husband. Later on, during the Middle Ages, tradition said that the newlyweds should kiss over the cake stack and that if they succeeded, they would be blessed with many children.
In modern times, Cake Cutting has a slightly different symbolism. The hand of the groom is placed over the hand of the bride when cutting the cake to symbolize his support for her and her promise to take care of him and their family. The custom according to which the bride and groom feed each other from the cake symbolizes their commitment to take care of one another.
People keep tradition, that’s why the wedding cake is important. In some countries, people value wedding cake as important as a wedding dress. Of course, you can have something alternative, for example, donuts or macarons, but the celebration without cake is just a meeting!
What did couples love for their wedding cake in 2019?
Most of my customers are those, who like something untraditional. My bestseller for a wedding cake last year was my signature chocolate cake with peanut butter & salted caramel. Cakes at Kapok are tall cakes, which again is an untraditional shape.
Do you follow trends when baking wedding cakes?
I design the cake based on the customers’ preferences, personalities, venue, and the wedding theme/style. Therefore, the trend is not something I go after. Especially for the wedding cake, it has to be created from the couple’s preference. The couple can follow the wedding trend and I can create a cake to suit their wedding.
What are you offering at Kapok?
Kapok offers cakes, cupcakes, muffins, macarons, cookies and other types of sweet. The main product is a cake for any occasion. My cake is individually custom made and designed. It all starts with choosing the flavor, which customers can combine and create their own flavor combination and ending with custom design for them.
I value communication with customers as a crucial part of the process, therefore I spend a lot of time asking about them, details of events and other information. This way, I could translate their personality and their wedding into the cake.
I often suggest couples to have cake tasting before they decide to order a cake. I offer cake tasting experience, where I could discuss and give them consultation about their wedding cake. Couples have to be sure that the cake, which they will serve their guests is the best one.
After the cake tasting, I then start to generate an idea and make a sketch. So, couples could visualize how their wedding cake would look like. Often couples trust me to design their wedding cake however I want to, I could not be happier to have such opportunity as I could go limitless!
Your tips for couples planning their 2020 Wedding?
Planning, timing, detailing, searching and knowing who to trust are the main things couples should keep in mind. Based on my own experience, earlier you start to plan is better. One of the main time-consuming processes is searching; searching for a dress, photographer, venue, catering, cake, flowers, decoration, etc. Be sure, you pick the ones that fit your style and that you both have excellent communication. Having the right service providers with good communication would avoid any miss-understanding that could cause an impact on your wedding – you don’t want that to happen.
Think about every small detail you could possibly imagine; the small details make a big difference.