Anyone with a sweet tooth will vouch for the fact that Yum by Amna delivers right on the money.
It all started with the search for the perfect strawberry cake. We tried cake after cake, but between crumbly unexciting sponges, over-sweetened cream fillings and possibly thousands of wasted calories, none hit the spot. We had written off ever finding an unforgettable strawberry cake, until I stumbled upon one at a friend’s birthday. Finally, there was a cake that celebrated strawberries with the perfect sponge and sweet cream. It was yum. And it turned out to be from Yum!
My second Yum experience was just a few days later, at my own birthday, when my friends had a cake customized for me. Again, with a soft vanilla and strawberry-filled sponge, the cake had sugar figurines of myself, Juno my cat and one of my McQueen clutches on it. While decorative cakes usually don’t deliver much beyond their good looks (and this one did look really good), it was much more than skin deep.
And so, serving my sweet tooth a little further, I found Yum by Amna on Instagram and discovered that the chocolate cake pops and eclairs were quite a treat too. Cupcakes for the conventional? And an extensive menu was available for those who liked variety. It could be ordered online and carefully delivered to your doorstep. And something was extraordinarily special about the goodies.
So, Yum chef Amna Tauqeer was putting in play a lifelong passion for cooking, handed down from her mother, when she decided to start her own business. She started in Dubai in 2010 and three years later, moved to Karachi. It was years later, during a holiday in Melbourne that Amna decided to open a storefront in Karachi. But little did she know what an uphill task it would be. The coronavirus pandemic happened and just a few days after signing the lease for her outlet, the first lockdown was implemented.
“Never been one to sit idle, I started developing the recipes for the outlet, and shared a few great ones with my social media followers,” she shares. “I wasn’t expecting the kind of reaction that I received! With the world under lockdown, more and more people had started cooking and baking and it brought them together. A chocolate cake recipe that I had posted on my Instagram had become such a hit that I would get 1000+ inboxes every single day! People couldn’t believe I was giving away such a prized recipe and I guess that was my way of giving something back to my followers.”
Amna’s troubles didn’t end with the lockdown.
“A couple of months into the Covid outbreak, I decided to bite the bullet, commence the construction of the shop and managed to open on the 22nd of August. I couldn’t have imagined the kind of response we received! Sold out by 4pm for the first 4 days of our operation! And guess want happened on the 5th day? We were flooded. And I mean flooded, with chest deep water while I was in my fondant studio, trying to save the equipment, tools and all the brand new, top of the line machinery that I had just bought!
I couldn’t believe what was happening. I felt so discouraged and demotivated since all I had worked so tirelessly for was under 5 feet of water!”
Resetting herself to survivor mode, Amna brushed the misfortune off and rebuild everything lost to the rains, from scratch.
“I can’t be prouder of my staff who worked tirelessly to rebuild everything and YUM was reborn 14 days after it was flooded! Alhumdulliah”
Amna’s is a success story as sweet as the cakes she bakes. There’s a lesson of passion and resilience in there.