The Sweet Side of Life

The Ballito MagazineDecember 13, 2023


A sugar cube is used for sweetening a hot drink, adding flavour, and essentially making it taste better. With its pastel-pink aesthetic and welcoming atmosphere, The Sugar Cube does just that for Umhlali.

You are greeted by delicious aromas and beautiful desserts displayed in refrigerated glass cases. Behind it all is Chef Sameera Seedat, who welcomes you with a cheerful smile as she zooms around her kitchen, mixing her next delicious creation.

“Come in, come in!” she beckons, filling an ├ęclair pastry with a lemon and blueberry jam. Baking always looks so intricate to me and watching Sameera gently pipe each individual pastry with such care makes me appreciate the craft even more. You can’t help but wonder how such talent and passion came to be.

“I have been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember,” she shares. “I used to be right there with my mother as she baked, and that is how I discovered my love for baking.” High school and exams couldn’t separate her from baking! In between study sessions, she’d sneak into the kitchen to create and test different recipes. Culinary arts go even further into Sameera’s family tree as her great-grandparents also owned a bakery. “My family keeps saying that I have brought back the bakery into the family,” she laughs.

Sameera had no idea what she wanted to do once she was done with school. “When I asked my mother what I should do, she told me to study something and then work,” she explains as she mixes a bowl of melted chocolate. “I actually ended up studying accounting and became an accountant of all things!” After a few years, she found the environment to be too stressful, so she took a leap by leaving the industry and enrolling in a culinary school shortly after.

Some time after, she realised that she liked the idea of having her own bakery, which resulted in the creation of The Sugar Cube. “I saw starting and running a patisserie as a learning experience for me to make mistakes and learn from them,” she says.

Here, she is free to create the pastries that she loves so dearly and wants to share them with those around her. “I’ve never been one to follow the crowd,” she shares. “So, I wanted to make and provide those pastries you can’t get anywhere else.” Sameera’s passion lies in high-end pastries, made with real and fresh ingredients, with genuine enthusiasm for what she does. This craft certainly requires a lot of patience and, luckily, she has heaps of it! “Chocolate, especially, is very temperamental. The temperature changes very quickly, and sometimes you’ll see me repeatedly heating and cooling it until I get it to the right temperature,” she laughs as she, ironically, stirs a bowl of melted chocolate, getting ready to dip some chocolate brownies into the mixture that reminds me of Willy Wonka’s chocolate river.

This patisserie is greatly inspired by those you find in Europe, and Sameera aims to transport her customers to those faraway lands with each visit. She wanted to incorporate the culture created by these international bakeries which she so admires into her little shop. “I knew I wanted a pastel colour for the brand and the decor, not specifically pink,” she mentions. The rose logo goes well with the flowers on display in the store surrounding her bakes. It makes the store look like something out of a tourist attraction pamphlet!

In the future, Sameera sees a sit-down area where she can serve patrons plated desserts (on very on-brand, cute plates) in a relaxing space where they can take their time and enjoy her creations, as well as an expanded menu she can rotate so people can experience something new with each visit. Catering for functions is another goal Sameera is working towards.

Sweet things are coming our way and we cannot wait to see this patisserie grow!

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