HOMEGROWN | Blaire’s Unique Picks: Baking in the time of corona

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Who can remember their first baking experience?

For this writer, it was when she was four, when she bent over to check the just-out-of-the-oven cake not knowing the correlation between heat, metal pan, and time. Tin touched skin, and left a permanent scar the size of a 10-cent coin on her chest.

Shannon’s banana cake is a best-seller. It is moist, not too sweet, and has a perfect cakey texture. | Photo by Hannah A. Papasin

Enough to put her off baking for 35 years.

For Shannon Blaire Estares, her love affair with spatulas, whips, flour, and eggs started when she was in fourth grade.

“I was nine-years-old back then when my grandma asked me to help her out in making her home-made chiffon cake,” she tells DNX.

And, she says, her baking skills continue to develop every time a family member celebrates their birthday, and she gets to bake the requisite cake.

Shannon says she had never trained in any baking school but instead learned from the greats: her grandmother, father, and mother.

Grandma is after all a retired Home Economics teacher, while ma is a nutritionist/entrepreneur.

The fudge brownies are exactly like grandma’s: dense, moist, and incredibly chocolatey. | Photo by Hannah A. Papasin

Her father was also interestingly trained by his mother (Shannon’s grandmother).

They have taught me to bake and modify recipes. Each of us has our own specialty,” she says.

Pre-pandemic, Shannon had already been selling baked goods, specifically during high school.

The idea of selling baked goods started in High School, when her family needed the extra income for her brother’s school allowance.

“I would bake brownies or chocolate cakes after school and my mom would help me with the packaging so we can sell it the next day,” shw said.

She continued baking during college but mainly as a hobby.

Things started to get serious, though, when she graduate and she realized she needed the extra income as her salary was barely enough to make ends meet.

Besides, nothing beats having your own business.

Now, Shannon has launched the baking part of her existing business, Blaire’s Unique Picks, where she showcases her new products: fudge brownies, and banana cakes.

This brings back to her earliest memory of the first thing she baked: a simple butter cake.

“I was still anxious while baking because I don’t want to dissapoint my grandma but they were surprised when it tasted good for a first-timer because the the texture was just perfect,” she shares.

Shannon has gone a long way since her first butter cake.

And it appears that not even a pandemic is stopping her.

Not anytime soon.

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