• Self-taught cake artist and award-winning cake master Tshepiso Nyakane, also known as @theegiftedhands on Instagram, shares her business journey and how it all started by saying ‘yes’ (even if it isn’t true!).

    It wasn’t until Nyakane was on maternity leave with her second daughter that she bought her first cake pan and baked a “proper cake”. Until then, she was only baking scones, biscuits, and the like, she shares.

    “I posted the cake on my WhatsApp profile when a lady friend asked me if I sold cakes and I said ‘yes’ (which wasn’t true). She asked for a pricelist and I quickly scrambled for cake prices on the internet and put together a pricelist, and that is how the business started,” Nyakane says.

    As the word spread, she started getting more customers and registered her business in the same month.

    ‘The best decision I ever made’

    Nyakane’s earliest memory of baking centers around baking with her mom every Christmas as a child. Her love for baking grew upon choosing Home Economics as a subject in high school. She recalls begging her mom to buy the latest Drum magazine during that time to test the baking recipes in the back pages after school.

    She went on to pursue an Honours degree in finance and worked in corporate whilst continuing to bake for family and friends. In 2022, she left the corporate industry to pursue her business full-time. She shares how this “has been the best decision [she has ever] made”.

    Nyakane then decided to make her nickname “chef” official by acquiring formal training in the pastry arts in August that same year. She recently completed her training, giving her one step ahead of becoming a qualified pastry chef.

    From home baker to conference classes

    Nyakane is also known for teaching baking lessons through her baking academy, Thee Gifted Hands, based in Soweto. Her baking academy began during lockdown when she started sharing one-minute videos on Instagram teaching simple bakes.

    “It grew quite rapidly, and with time, people started asking if I hosted baking classes for birthday cakes. Again I said ‘yes’ (which wasn’t true),” she says.

    In November 2021 she started hosting baking lessons from her home, which gained attraction from bakers all over the country.

    “I got overwhelmed by the demand and thought of a system where I could reach more bakers at the same time. That is how the idea of baker’s conferences came about,” she shares.

    Two months later, she hosted her first baking conference at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton. The event was sold out within 24 hours, with 100 bakers in attendance. She realised the huge demand and that “people were hungry for knowledge”, which led her to host four more conferences at the Sandton Convention Centre, Durban International Convention Centre, and the Hilton Hotel. Within a year and a half, she has taught and mentored more than 500 bakers across the country on the art of baking and the technicalities of running a successful cake business.

    Baking beyond borders

    Her baking academy has grown beyond the borders of South Africa, and she has recently been invited to teach in Lusaka, Zambia at a baker’s conference. She will also be hosting classes at the Zimbabwe Africa baker’s summit in the next month.

    “I have big dreams and continue to push myself by creating out-of-the-box delicious works of art and I try to challenge the South African baking industry to grow beyond what it currently is,” she says. “I love where the industry is going and cannot wait to see what is in store for the bakers in our country.”

    Find Tshepiso Nyakane’s Lemon Blueberry Cake recipe below, and don’t forget to tag us @foodandhomesa #CookingWithFH on Instagram if you made this recipe!

    Lemon Blueberry Cake

    Lemon Blueberry Cake

    Lemon Blueberry Cake 

    By Tshepiso Nyakane Serves: 12
    Prep Time: 1 hour Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    Self-taught cake artist and award-winning cake master Tshepiso Nyakane, also known as @theegiftedhands on Instagram, shares her recipe for a lemon and blueberry cake. Perfect for a teatime treat or dessert!


    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 Tbs vinegar
    • Rind of one large Lemon
    • 1 cup margarine
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 tsp vanilla or lemon essence
    • 2 1/4 cup cake flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • Juice of one large lemon
    • 1 1/2 cup blueberries
    • 2 Tbs flour, for blueberries
    • Cream Cheese Icing
    • 60 g margarine at room temperature
    • 125 g cream cheese at room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
    • Lemon Glaze
    • 2 cups Icing sugar
    • 4- 5 Tbs Lemon juice




    Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius


    Make buttermilk by mixing milk and vinegar. Add lemon rind, mix and set aside to curdle.


    Coat blueberries in flour and set aside


    Cream Margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.


    Sift in the dry ingredients. Add vanilla essence, lemon juice, oil, milk mixture and mix taking care not to overmix.


    Fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon or spatula.


    Bake for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the type of pan you use.


    Cool completely before decorating.

    Cream Cheese Icing


    Cream Margarine and cream cheese.


    Add vanilla essence and gradually add icing sugar. Do not overmix!

    Lemon Glaze


    1.Place sugar in a medium bowl and slowly stir in the lemon juice to make a smooth, spreadable glaze.


    Lastly, decorate as desired.

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