Harper’s Bazaar: How did your cake-crafting journey begin?
Sandy Maaz: I always loved creating. I like beautiful things and I love how I can create something so pretty out of nothing. You often see very pretty desserts, but they don’t taste good. So I really emphasise that yes, they are pretty, but they are also delicious.
HB: Do you remember the first cake you’ve ever made?
SM: I got into baking when I had my first daughter Leya, exactly thirteen years ago. I wanted to do her first birthday cake, I thought it would be so special. And I didn’t try your typical boxed thing like most people do. I wanted to go extravagant, so I made it pink and purple... it was a little bit tacky now that I think about it. It was round, flat carousel-themed cake. I got a plastic carousel and horses and I stuck them all around the cake. But it was cute because I made it and I was so happy. To me, it was the best cake ever. Since that day I decided that every single year onwards I would make my kid’s birthday cake. And that’s how it started. And then, people started asking to make their cakes as well...
HB: How did you end up opening your own cake brand?
SM: I was freelancing all the time, but when I had my little one I was like, "okay, I want to make something that revolves around my life, my kids, my own thing, finally.
HB: What’s your favourite dessert to make?
SM: I love to make cakes, and the bigger the better, that's my favourite. I also love doing bi-weekly baskets, this is my main thing now. My spring basket will have edible flower pots. Each flower case will be a different cake flavour. I like it to be always creative and always different, I like presentation a lot.
HB: Tell us about your dessert tables for baby welcoming.
SM: In Lebanon, we have Tehnayi. We will have a big welcoming and set up a table with desserts and a theme. I try not to do pink and blue, I try to be different, classy. I also try to incorporate little traditional desserts, like, cinnamon rice pudding. I don’t like to do characters, I prefer simple pretty things and I try to do everything within one colour scheme.
HB: How is baking for kids different from baking for adults?
SM: It’s very different. Kids tend to like more colour, and they usually have a character or a theme that they like. Adult cakes are more simple, more rustic. It can be both ways.
HB: What’s your favourite design you’ve ever created?
SM: I like the Beirut Rocks customised cake that I did for my best friend. It is decorated with typical Lebanese things, Turkish delights, funny things written in Arabic, Coco Chanel wearing a tarboosh. My friend had a Lebanese-themed Arabic night at her house so I made the cake fit in. I went all out and I loved making this cake, it took me 3 days.
HB: How often do you bake for your own children?
SM: My kids love cakes and they are addicted to chocolate, but I am a health freak. We don’t usually have a lot of desserts at home, but I always tell my children that desserts are not bad as long as you have them on occasion. I also do a lot of refined sugar-free stuff.
HB: What are you making for your birthday?
SM: I’m doing a letter cake, this is a tart that looks like a cake, it is a huge trend now. You do the numbers of your birthday and then you decorate them in any way you want. It hasn’t come to Dubai yet, but watch, because it’s going to be the biggest trend ever. My theme will be all violet.
HB: What’s the hardest part of the process?
SM: The deadlines. I have to make sure everything is perfect, or else I will get a panic attack. One time I ran out of organic eggs so I sent the driver to get them... I made a cranberry loaf and I smelled that the eggs were not organic… I couldn’t sell it to people, I had to make it from scratch.
HB: What should we look forward to?
SM: I am working on an online platform where you can customise your baskets. I will have my main desserts that will be on all the time, like my banana pudding, and then you can customise the rest.
You can see more of Sandy's creations on Instagram.