While there are hundreds of recipes available on the internet, the recipe that Shania used to create her café in St Cruz, Goa, is one that cannot be matched.
Although self-raising flour and powdered sugar are easily available in the market, most of the special ingredients that have helped her café, Sanofé 'fluff' are far from the wonders of baking soda and baking powder, ingredients that usually help a cake rise.
The recipe is rather simple — five spoons of a dream, four drops of peer pressure, three cups of hardwork and dedication, two steady hands, and one caramelised, close-knit and encouraging family, all folded together into a bowl.
The wholesome batter is then transferred into a silicon mould and baked at 180 degrees of love, after which it is left to cool and then frosted with sprinkles of supportive friends. Thus, creating the perfectly balanced café that we now know of as, ‘Sanofé’.
“My first baking memory is making cookies for my school canteen sale along with my friends. It’s funny, I was not at all passionate about baking back then. Making chocolate chip cookies was just something that we did to collect funds for our new school building,” reminisced the 23-year-old baker.
The face of Sanofé, Shania Fernandes, started her home baking business when she was in Higher Secondary School and opened her café in 2021.
Never having envisioned baking as a career, but rather as something that she loved doing in her free time, owning a café today, seems like destiny at play.
The eustress caused by her friends, and the thought of making her dad's dream of getting into the restaurant business come true, motivated Shania to start baking for a living.
“I remember taking my baked goods to school and always receiving praises from everybody. They used to love anything that I baked and I think that is where it all started. 'Please bake a cake for me, I’ll pay you' was all the Commerce students would say,” recalls Shania.
It goes without saying that running a café is not a piece of cake (pun intended). The shift from being a home-baker to a café owner is not as simple as it sounds.
With rising commercial prices, she faced challenges with everything being much more expensive. Right from electrical bills to gas cylinders, not forgetting finding skilled people to help out at the café.
The menu at Sanofé has burgers, sandwiches, breakfast, beverages, starters and obviously, cakes and desserts of all shapes and sizes. As for the aesthetic of the café, comfortable yet classy and environmentally- friendly was the way to go.
Having upcycled a lot of items, recycling whenever and wherever possible, is a must at Sanofé.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
What are words, if not random alphabets, coming together only to make perfect sense? The name Sanofé, chosen by her father, Paulo Fernandes, is a customised crossword puzzle; one that only the Fernandes family can solve.
“My name is Shania and my sister is Swizel, that’s where we get the ‘S’ from. My mum, Anita, that’s the 'an', my dad is Paulo, so the 'o' and we’re the Fernandes’, that’s where ‘fe’ comes in. We added the accent simply because ‘fé ‘means faith in Portuguese, that’s about it!” beams Shania as she explains the story behind the naming ceremony of her business.
Shania’s cup of admiration for her father has never stopped overflowing.
“Sanofé turned into a coffee-house cafe because of my dad. He is the heart and soul of Sanofé just as much as I am. Originally, I wanted only a dessert shop, but considering that the shop would not work with only sweets, we decided to broaden our vision and dream bigger!” she shares.
Sporting the essence of a true family-run business, Shania’s mother, Anita handles the accounts affairs of Sanofé, while her father makes sure that all matters of the hot kitchen and daily shopping are taken care of.
“I am blessed to have a supportive family and the best of friends. I would never have been able to achieve all that I have without all of their views and opinions that help us do better in every way we can!" she adds.
Crafting cakes and creating memories. Even though Sanofé has started full-fledged, the icing bag has never left Shania's magical hands. She is still the one who gets flour on her clothes and buttercream frosting in her hair since all the stunning cakes are still personally baked and decorated by her.
Sanofé is a year old now and Shania can proudly say that although they have not indulged in any fancy marketing procedures, the news of the hot new cakes in town has grabbed attention the old school way – by word of mouth!
“People already knew about Sanofé when I used to run it from my home, this just made it easier when we opened the café,” she explains.
Today, Sanofé stands on a sloping street, and although driving uphill may seem scary, an éclair waiting for you at the end of the road may be just the type of motivation that you need to practice and improve on your horrible driving skills!
So, change that gear and drive up that slope. Best case scenario, you get a box of éclairs! And, worst-case scenario, you still get to relish that box of éclairs while the mechanic fixes your broken car!
WHERE: Sanofé, Alto Santa Cruz
BESTSELLERS: Omelettes, Custard Eclairs, Brownies, Cheesecakes, Macarons, Beef Burgers, Chicken Hot Wings and Masala Omelette
TIMINGS: 10 AM to 9 PM (Mondays closed)
CONTACT: +91 8698933137/ +91 8888084304
PRICE RANGE: ₹100 - ₹420