Lockdown boredom forced Kisakye to learn how to bake cakes

It is a Thursday evening and Justine Kisakye is busy writing down notes in a book as he pauses the YouTube video.

She has replayed the video 10 times to get a better glimpse of what is being said.

“I am trying to get the recipe for Isomalt Lollipops that I will add onto a customer’s cake for an upcoming birthday celebration. I have to finish this before I go to sleep today,” Kisakye tells me as we arrive at her home.

The 32-year-old who lives in Nansana, a busy town on the outskirts of the capital Kampala says baking can be hectic but she is getting used.

Whereas I had arrived at around 2pm, it was not until 4pm that she got time to speak to me and while she accepted the interview, it took only 20 minutes since she had to return to work.

“This is my workstation. I turned my home into a bakery, and everything is done from here. I don’t have money yet to have a fully-fledged bakery,” she told me.

Asked how she ended up baking cakes, Kisakye narrates that the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown saw the number of customers at her salon business gradually go down.

“A number of days could pass without getting any customer but because I was idle, I would turn to social media in order to pass time. In one of the posts, someone was teaching how to bake cakes,” Kisakye says.

She says that since she has always had love for cooking, she closely followed the advice that later saw her turn to YouTube for more baking knowledge.

Love for cake grows

The mother of two says that the more she watched the tutorials, the more she developed passion for making cakes and eventually she realized she could do it on her own.

“In order not to forget what I had watched on YouTube; I bought a book where I write notes just like students in school do. I always refer to them while looking for a recipe to make any cake,” she adds.

To confirm this, during the time I spent with her, she looked into her book more than five times as she tried to learn how to go around a certain recipe.

She would also refer to the YouTube tutorial in case she didn’t understand what she had earlier noted down in the book.

Kisakye says that when she realized that she could earn a living out of baking cakes, she ditched the salon business that she says was not as profitable as she thought it would be.

“I used to incur a lot of costs in form of electricity, rent and transport to work but with the new line of

business, I work from home. I enjoy my new business.”

“Whereas the orders for cakes are not as many as I want, at least I am far off better than before,” she said.

Growing stronger

Kisakye reminisces her first product gave her courage to continue with baking and she has never looked back.

“My first cake was a birthday present to my husband and after sending it to him as a surprise, he together with his colleagues loved it. I felt happy inside. I realized myself and cakes were a match made in heaven. I never looked back,” she narrates.

Kisakye refers to one customer who always asked her to make cakes for her functions that she says made her gain more experience.

“Whenever she had a function, she would ask me to make a cake but every cake that she wanted was more complicated than the other. In order to pull it off, I always had to spend more time looking at You Tube to learn how to perfect my business.”

“This meant I had to do a lot of research so that I could not make any mistake in the orders. That way, I made You Tube my friend to ensure I learn what I am missing.”


The 32 says that at first, she could not get the recipes well since she used ordinary equipment like cups unlike the specialized ones that are recommended for use and consequently, she made a few loses.

She however never gave up.

She says that the new business gives her little time to rest since she bakes up to at least 11pm and must be up by 5am.

“There are times when clients make orders late but want their cakes on time. This means you have to work past midnight but also wake up very early to ensure you beat the time so as not to annoy the client,” she says.

The 32-year-old also notes that she still lacks several equipment to ease her work since she now does most of the chores manually.

To this, during the interview, she spent over 30 minutes trying to mix some ingredients while making strawberry ice cream.

“If I had proper machines, this would have been done a long time ago. Also, the ingredients and all items that I use in baking my cakes are so expensive, yet I don’t have enough capital,” she says.

Kisakye applauds her husband for standing with her during this time.

“When I have no money to purchase some of the ingredients, he would contribute and didn’t ask me for a refund. He also assists me in work that he can’t sleep before I do. I thank God for him,” she said.

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