Pastry Chef Shows Patriotism With Jalur Gemilang-Inspired Cakes

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Lifestyle, merdeka, national day, Aug 31, cake, jalur gemilang, Mama Nory Bakery, Norida Ismail.
Lifestyle, merdeka, national day, Aug 31, cake, jalur gemilang, Mama Nory Bakery, Norida Ismail.

Norida, the 66-Year-Old pastry chef from Perlis shows her love for the nation through special Jalur Gemilang-inspired cakes in conjunction with the National Day!

KUALA LUMPUR – There are many ways to show our love for the country, ranging from collective joy when we win an impossible feat to showing our gratitude to frontline workers in a pandemic.

But Malaysia has never been one homogenous community to be loved in only one particular way.

Come 31 August, Malaysia will celebrate 66 years of unity in diversity as it is this diversity of race, culture and religion that makes Malaysia truly unique.

This year’s National Day is themed, ‘Malaysia Mandani: The Commitment of Unity Fulfils Hope.’  

For cake entrepreneur Norida Ismail, 66, her love for the nation is portrayed through her creativity in producing special Jalur Gemilang-inspired cakes in conjunction with the National Day.

Personal Satisfaction

The owner and founder of Mama Nory Bakery, which is located in Kangar, Perlis said the National Day-themed cake, has given her a great deal of personal satisfaction.

“The Merdeka spirit is ignited in my heart and soul every time I produce cakes resembling the Jalur Gemilang, a symbol of Nationhood, Unity and National Pride. The patriotic spirit is further rekindled on the eve of National Day on 31 August.

“Every time I produce cakes of this theme, my love for the country grows stronger and felt proud to be Malaysian. Cake making is an art and the process is time-consuming and an indulging one.

“But each cake is filled with passion with the purpose of bringing joy to the person who consumes it. I felt the joy of carving the national flag of our beloved country on the cake.

“Cake decorating requires both skills and creativity. As an art and activity, it allows you to express yourself in many ways.  

“In addition to executing the final cake design, you also infuse your personality and artistic expression into how the cake is showcased and served. And for creating this Jalur Gemilang-inspired cake, it involves patience, passion and creativity in carving the flag,” Norida told Bernama when contacted recently.

(The National Flag which means Stripes of Glory has a field of 14 alternating white and red stripes. The top left corner of the flag has a blue canton with a crescent and a 14-point star).

She said the ingredients for baking the Malaysian flag cake included creamwell and colourings while toy soldiers and toy army trucks are added to reflect the patriotic theme on the cake.

Sharing her journey, the Perlis-born baker said she started her bakery business after retiring as a civil servant in 2015 with her own capital as well as assistance from the Muda Agricultural Development Authority (MADA). Earlier, she attended a workshop and a course in bread and cake making to fulfil her ambition to venture into business after retirement.

“Initially I opened a bread workshop with my own funds as well as with MADA’s assistance.  The types of bread sold were Arab bread, buns and loaf.  Later, I opened a cake shop, using my retirement gratuity and support from family members.

“The estimated capital of opening the bakery was between RM100,000 to RM150,000. I even trained up two homemakers in producing various types of bread and biscuits at the onset of starting my business,” she shared.

Norida is also assisted by two of her children, Najwa Azhar, 30 and Ainun Mardiah Azhar, 28.

“Since opening the shop in January 2015, I continued to sell various types of cakes including National Day cakes during the month of August,” said Norida who learned cake baking and decorations from several teachers and guidance from Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA).

Be Meticulous

To add to her baking repertoire, other types of cakes are also available at her bakery such as cupcakes, fresh cream blueberry, fresh cream oreo, chocolate indulgence cakes, moist cakes, buttercream cakes, dowry cakes, birthday cakes, buns, arab bread, modern biscuits and various traditional desserts and snacks.

Norida’s bakery is currently located at a rented outlet at Jalan Kampung Bakau, Kangar.

Prior to this, she was running a bread shop in Kampung Sena.

The Merdeka-themed cake, in particular, is sold from RM40 to RM150 each depending on the size, type as well as the decorations involved while for the cupcake, it is sold at RM4 each.

All cakes are produced with the help of three full-time workers and two part-timers while Norida herself handles the design or decorations based on the customer’s request.

According to Norida, most of her clients are from Perlis but there are also outstation orders from customers who ordered the cakes to be given as gifts to their friends in the state.

Norida said cake making requires one to be meticulous in her work to ensure what is crafted on the cake is a showstopper and is in line with the theme, noting that the time taken to produce a cake would depend on the shape and size based on the customer’s request.

“A Merdeka or Jalur Gemilang-themed cake measuring about 18 cm (7 inches) or 13 cm (5 inches) only takes 15 to 20 minutes to produce from an icing mould based on the colours prepared.

The cake is usually baked earlier. However, more time is needed in decorating large-sized cakes.

“So far, the largest Merdeka cake which I have produced was during the Merdeka programme organised by Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) several years ago measuring 76.2 cm x 91.44 cm,” she said adding that, these cakes were only produced in August, but noted that she would still accept Merdeka-themed cake orders during other months upon request.

Encouraging Response

Eight years into the baking business, her efforts are paying off – her line has expanded to a wide range of cakes, with speciality in Merdeka and Jalur Gemilang-themed cakes.

A week before 31 August, her bakery would be overwhelmed with orders for National Day cakes in particular.

“Within a day, we need to deliver about 30 to 40 Merdeka cakes to customers and demand usually peaks daily in the run-up to the National Day celebration,” she said, noting that one needs to be highly focused and meticulous in making Merdeka or Jalur Gemilang cakes, especially when crafting the stars.

Norida, who is committed to excellent quality and service, said that the strong support from her loyal customers had been the driving force in propelling her to success. – Bernama