Teenage sisters start bakery, donate profits to San Antonio food bank

In November 2020, teenage sisters Eliza and Hena Abdul arrived at the San Antonio Food Bank with their father Shamim Abdul to donate the profits from their online bakery business, “Whisk’N Cake”.

The trio were shocked by the scene in front of them as the pandemic spread into its seventh month. A mile-long line of cars, trucks and SUVs backed out of the parking lot on the former Highway 90. Throughout the coronavirus, more than 300 people on average arrived early in the morning at Carmago Park. Food bank volunteers asked motorists to park in horizontal rows on the lot to wait for the signal to get to the food distribution event.

Seeing volunteers loading groceries into the back seats and trunks of vehicles confirmed the Abduls’ decision.

“It was a revelation for them,” said Abdul, 48. “They were like, ‘We have to do more because look at the impact.'”

That day, Eliza, 16, and Hena, 13, presented a check for $ 500 from their online sales to Michelle Duenas, Donor Relations Manager. In September, the sisters brought the manager a check for $ 300 from last summer’s sales.

“We always remember it going to a good cause,” said Eliza in the kitchen of the family home on the North Side.

Sisters Hena, left, and Eliza Abdul work together to put freshly baked pumpkin spice cupcakes on a rack to cool while they fill orders for their online bakery business called ‘Whisk’N Cake ”. The sisters take orders and bake pastries delivered by their father Shamim Abdul. Then they donate the profits to the San Antonio Food Bank.

Sam Owens / Team Photographer

Caring for Others comes from accompanying their parents, who work at USAA, as they volunteered for nonprofits and delivered meals with Meals on Wheels. Their mother, Limi Abdul, inspired the sisters. She told them raising money for needy San Antonians was the right thing to do.

Air Force veteran for 22 years, Vincent T. Davis began a second career as a journalist and found his vocation. As he watches and listens through San Antonio, he finds intriguing stories to tell about ordinary people. He shares his stories with Express-News subscribers every Monday morning.

Eliza started the business and baked the pastries. His aunt Vimi Shukkoor is his inspiration, the one who started teaching him to cook at the age of five. Each year, their aunt visited the family to bake birthday cakes, and Eliza was always by her side, observing, memorizing tips and techniques.

At 11, Eliza was cooking on her own. If the teenager has a question, she will FaceTimes her aunt, who lives in New Jersey.

Hena designed the website, https://www.whiskncake.com, is the Marketing Director and updates the menu. Thursday through Saturday, after homework, she listens to old classic R&B music that gets the sisters singing as they prepare the week’s orders. Their jokes are light and friendly; Eliza, a junior at Brandeis High School, is calm and attentive to their cooking times. Hena, an eighth grade student at BASIS San Antonio – Shavano Campus, is chatty, ready to help prepare orders.

Prices start at $ 3. Their favorite homemade desserts include their biggest seller, tres leches, and their chocolate chip Nutella-filled pan cookie.

Their parents leave the girls at their work, getting involved to help them in their own way. Limi Abdul helps the sisters choose the items for their menu and orders the containers. Their dad helped choose their logo and delivered the orders on weekends.

Online bakery is one of Hena and Eliza’s many activities. The two teenagers play the piano and take classical Indian dance lessons. Eliza will be among the dancers at the Diwali San Antonio Festival of Lights on November 6, 6 to 10 p.m., in Hemisfair. In addition to traditional Indian dancing, the celebration will feature entertainment, food and vendors selling Indian goods.

In India, Diwali or “series of lighted lamps” represents the triumph of good over evil and is celebrated with a five-day feast through fireworks, lighting of candles, sharing of gifts and recitation of prayers.

Many family friends from the Indian community placed orders and publicized the sisters’ business. A week before Halloween, the sisters made an order of pumpkin cupcakes for retired Army Col. Cecily David, one of their regular customers.

“They are brilliant and accomplished,” said David, “using their passion for a worthy cause. And they embrace their ethnic culture by participating in the dance.

Wearing an oven mitt, Eliza removed the treats from the oven. Hena helped her remove the cupcakes from each pan of the muffin pan. After the cupcakes cooled, her older sister spread frosting over each round dessert baked in a Halloween-themed liner. Then she decorated the cupcakes with plastic toppers that included bats, ghosts and black witch hats.

After placing the treats in a clear plastic container, Eliza wrote a note on a white sticker that read, “Thanks for ordering from Whisk ‘N Cake! We appreciate your contribution to our cause!

Hena drew and colored a ladybug-sized cupcake next to their website name. Then she took her cell phone and took a photo of their pastries on a circular tray which she posted on Instagram.

“Sounds great!” she said, taking pictures from different angles.

The sisters plan to buy T-shirts with their “Whisk’N Cake” logo on the front. Eliza, who is currently driving, will take over delivery duties with her father. And they plan to add Indian pastries to their menu. Their goal is to raise $ 1,000 next summer.

Eliza and Hena’s parents are proud of their enterprising daughters. Even when the website says items are sold out, people still send email orders that teens fill out without complaining. They are proud of the sisters who cater to the gourmet needs of their clients and lend a helping hand to those in need across town.

“It taught them to work together,” their mother said. “And that gives them an idea of ​​their luck.” “

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