Farisya Bakes, The Cake Therapist. The name of this Malaysian business sounds self-explanatory right off the bat, but having tried their banoffee pie (and absolutely ravishing it), we began to grow curious about just who Farisya really was, and why she called herself “The Cake Therapist”.
Turns out, there’s more to her title than just being a play on how dessert can heal the soul. We got the opportunity to speak to Farisya herself, and she was happy to retrace the steps she took to become Farisya Bakes.
We went all the way back to 2012, when Farisya was still doing her degree in Psychology.
“I was this girl who did not eat desserts, that was just trying out baking who suddenly found out she enjoyed making a business out of it,” she revealed.
It earned her a little pocket money then, and having only Google and YouTube as her guides to making pastries, cakes, and desserts didn’t deter her.
When the mix of her personal life and degree got a little too hectic though, she decided to put the business to an end, thinking she’d never go back to it.
Right up until just before the start of the pandemic, when she felt the urge to work on something, create something, and earn her own money after growing to feel uninspired.
So, back to baking she turned, and Farisya Bakes was born.
Baking her way to another career
The name “Farisya Bakes” was inspired by Zöe Bakes, an American baker whose style Farisya loved.
At the same time, though she had set her sights on baking, her desire as a Psychology graduate to practice never dwindled.
Thus, “The Cake Therapist” became a play on words while Farisya worked towards her ambition of pursuing her Master’s in Psychology and getting licensed as a certified therapist.
Since she had her entrepreneurial stint while studying, she was able to apply the lessons learnt then to Farisya Bakes, mainly those to do with finance.
Thus, Farisya Bakes, The Cake Therapist was pretty smooth sailing. “I had everything in mind, from design to what I wanted to bake, what sort of themes of desserts I wanted,” Farisya recalled.
“Everything was just very clear to me in the beginning, but when the demand started to grow, it became overwhelming. Learning how to make big batches was not easy.”
Being self-taught, she had to figure it out on her own, as she was also working with no helper at the time
Eventually though, she began working with her best friend, Siti, whom she studied and graduated with in university.
Siti is now her full-time baking assistant, and helping them out is also Kak Sinta, Farisya’s domestic helper.
Tackling her own business burnout
Farisya today is able to take on some other responsibilities in the business, and she’s behind their product photos on Instagram as well as their overall brand designs, making them from scratch with creative phone apps.
She made it clear that she enjoys what she does, but also admitted that this doesn’t diminish her feelings of burnout throughout the business.
“Sometimes, I find it so hard to get up to work but I know that I have to, because this business is what puts food on the table and sustains mine and also my children’s lifestyle,” Farisya said.
At one point, her fatigue and burnout began affecting her focus as a mother to her children.
Realising this, she knew she needed to do something, and that was to prioritise herself.
“In order to give, you need to be filled. So I chose to start listening to my body, to take breaks in between. I stopped working extra hard. I limit my orders, I learnt to say ‘No’ to orders when I already have too many and I know adding [to] the list will make it overwhelming.”
“For someone who was a people pleaser, I’d hate to disappoint but it was definitely something that I had to learn,” Farisya candidly shared.
Most importantly, she said that she went for therapy in order to express her feelings, and work on herself and self-healing.
With that, she was able to become a much more present mother, and stopped dreading work.
Sweet treats for every occasion
On Farisya Bakes’ menu, you’ll find banoffee pies, chocolate tarts, cookie bars, cheesecakes, choux au craquelin, and more.
After baking decorative cakes, birthday cakes, and other celebratory desserts during her first entrepreneurial experience, Farisya specifically chose to create desserts that people could enjoy without any occasion this time around.
One of Farisya Bakes’ most popular desserts today is the choux au craquelin.
“People loved it so much, and the irony was that the choux au craquelin was one of the toughest desserts I had to make in terms of consistency,” she said.
“Yes, a lot of tears were involved in the making of that dessert but me being resilient, I knew I had to master it. Even after two years, I am still learning.”
Her efforts aren’t for naught either, as the positive responses she’s gotten and the growth that Farisya Bakes has gotten through word of mouth are proof that hard work yields results.
Gratefully, she shared that she’s even had customers travel from afar just to purchase her products, or who paid delivery fees higher than the cost of her products in order to enjoy them.
Merging her two interests in the future
With Farisya having seemingly found her footing with the baking business, we had to wonder if she was going to end it once she is able to achieve her dream of becoming a therapist.
To that, she firmly said, “Definitely not. It took a lot out of me to run this business, and looking [at] how well it’s going, I do not intend to let it go.”
For now, her short-term plan is to get agents to help their sea salt chocolate chip cookie bar bites reach more people in the market, ideally across all 14 states.
Then, their 10-year plan would be to open a boutique bakery in the perimeters of KL, and a few more in towns Farisya adores such as Melaka’s and Penang’s, and maybe have small pop-up bakeries everywhere possible.
“It’s a dream to merge both psychology and desserts together and that is definitely a goal if I were to ever open up my own retail space,” Farisya said.
Safe to say, she is ambitious, driven, and positive about bringing people happiness and dopamine, whether that’s through her future therapy sessions or her baked desserts.