The Katy area’s own Hemlata Basu is appearing in this year’s season of the Food Network series “Halloween Wars” which runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 11. Basu has been baking cakes …
The Katy area’s own Hemlata Basu is appearing in this year’s season of the Food Network series “Halloween Wars” which runs from Sept. 13 to Oct. 11. Basu has been baking cakes for nearly a decade and specializes in artistic cakes that can verge on the photo-realistic. Basu said she jumped into cake baking head first when she found a need.
“In November 2012 on my son’s birthday, he wanted me to bake a cake for him,” Basu said. “So I went to the library to see if I could get a book on birthday cakes. I found ‘Birthday Cakes for Kids’ by Annie Rigg and decided to make a fire truck cake for my baby. I was very excited, and it turned out amazing.”
Basu said she is excited for Katy area neighbors to see her performance in “Halloween Wars” where she feels she performed really well. The competition on the show starts out with an intro called “Road to Halloween Wars” which will air Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. and will be followed by the first episode. Each episode consists of two challenges, Basu said. The first involves smaller creations that she and her team assemble while the second involves larger displays.
Basu’s team, “Team Mummies Rejects” includes herself, pumpkin carver Daniel Miller and Steve Weiss, a sugar-spinning pro, according to the “Food Network” website.
Basu's Katy neighbors can stream the show through Kitchen, Food Network's streaming service or via Hulu.
Basu said she found the large displays to be the most challenging because she focuses her work on putting a lot of detail into each cake, but having a time limit forced her to look at which details were most important to include and set other trimmings aside.
“You have to be really quick and think fast and be imaginative and creative at the same time to create something good,” Basu said. “The will give you (assignment and time limit) of course, so you have to think of like, what you can take off and then create something great.”
The first round is 45 minutes long and the larger challenge is five hours long, Basu said.
Her first appearance on “Food Network” was for the show “Wedding Cake Championship” and earned her recognition in the finale, Basu said. It was – quite literally – a long way from where she began.
Basu said she began baking more cakes and kept getting asked who had made the cake or where she’d bought them. People were shocked to find that she’d made them herself and as she kept making them, she was able to turn her artistic talent toward the cakes making everything from the horror scenes baked on the show to peacocks and Disney’s “Dumbo.” All with no formal training, she said.
In time, Basu started her cake business called The Sweet Sensation while her she and her husband lived in Aberdeen, Scotland where her husband was assigned for work. While there, she attended her first competition in Birmingham, UK in 2014 which she said pulled her that much more into the profession.
“I was planning to compete the following year in (Birmingham) with so much talent, but again life took a U-turn and my husband was transferred to Houston, Texas,” Basu said.
Once the family got to the Houston area and settled near Katy, Basu said she reopened her business and kept competing and participating in the professional dessert industry. She has since won or placed high in several regional baking competitions and served as judge for the That Takes the Cake competition in Austin, Tex. and has become a brand ambassador for Sugarin.
Basu said she loves her work on the show and off and hopes that her success in pursuing her passion can help others pursue their own aspirations.
“Don’t ever give up. When I started in (2011) I knew nothing. I think, in truth, I knew nothing about baking – how to decorate cakes – nothing at all, so I read a book about cake making and what will make you want to pay me for (baking).”
Basu’s business continues to grow and her competition participation continues to increase locally and on television. Those interested in purchasing a cake from Hemu Basu’s business, The Sweet Sensation, can email her at email@example.com, message her through her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hemubasu/ or call her at 346-772-8367.