Talking Cake Business with Shiyana | Lonumedhu

Talking Cake Business with Shiyana

Category: Interviews

by Iyath Adam


We have a sit down with Aishath Shiyana, baker and owner of Instagram food business, Lemon

Read onto find out more about how she runs her home-based business and makes her delicious, hard-to-get flavours of cakes. 

Lonumedhu: To start off, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into the cake business?

Shiyana: I’m somebody who’s known as a very badhige or kitchen person! My mother cooks and bakes a lot, so even when I was very young, I was always interested in baking, cooking and being in the kitchen. I started making cakes and different types of food for order for friends and family a long time ago, even before I thought of starting a business. 

My first food page was called ‘Baking House,’ and it was one of my friends, Naiya who encouraged me to start the page. It was through this page that my products were really introduced to people, and I started getting more orders. I changed the name of the page to ‘Lemon’ later on as it’s a flavour that my son really likes, and I love the sound of the word too. 

Lonumedhu: What’s the most challenging part about running a home-based food business?

Shiyana: I actually bake cakes and run Lemon part-time; I have a full-time job as well. The most difficult thing for me is the stocking issue. Since I do this from home, I really don’t have enough space to stock ingredients long-term. I also do this all by myself, so that in itself can be a bit challenging as well

And because this is not my full-time job, I can’t cater to all the orders I receive or make use of all opportunities that come my way which can be a bit disappointing sometimes. 

Lonumedhu: And what’s the best part about running this business?

Shiyana: I love meeting different people, and through this business, I’ve really been able to build a huge community. There are a couple of kids whose birthday cakes I’ve been making since their first birthday for 7-8 years now. If I’m out of Male’ or unavailable, some people postpone their celebrations for my cake. It makes me feel really happy that I am able to be a part of their special days and make it even more memorable. 

Lonumedhu:  You offer a variety of different types of cakes and flavours in different sizes. What kind of cakes do you like making the most? 

Shiyana: I like making different-flavoured cakes rather than the normal buttercream butter cakes. I want to give people a different taste of celebratory cakes; a cake that’s really delicious rather than one that just looks good. 

Some of my bestsellers are my signature mango and passionfruit tres leches cake, coffee cake, kashikeyo cake and pandan cake. I make them in both bento size and as stacked cakes with different designs and decorations made with soft cream. 

I also offer gluten-free and eggless cakes on request. My apple cake, which is also one of my top-selling cakes, is specially made for people looking for a healthier sweet treat.

Lonumedhu: Could you tell us about your recipe testing process?

Shiyana: I always make a cake several times before making it available for orders. First, I usually experiment with flavours and send them to family and friends for taste testing. I take in their feedback and bake again to perfect it. Once the taste is finalised, then I note down the measurements and make the recipe. 

I always think of ways to incorporate different flavours that go well together. For the kashikeyo tres leches cake, I use coconut milk to soak which goes really well with the kashikeyo taste. For cakes with tangy fruits, I pair it with other sweeter fruits, like passionfruit with mango.

Lonumedhu: How do you make sure that the taste and look of your product remains consistent to customers?

Shiyana: I don’t make any cake without weighing the ingredients. No matter how small the cake is, I always measure the raw ingredients with a digital scale and pay a lot of attention to use them in the exact right amounts. This helps me to make sure that the cake taste is always consistent. 

And I always try to maintain the quality of my products by using the best ingredients, no matter the price. For instance, when using fruits, I only use fresh fruits – no canned fruits or purées with preservatives.  

Lonumedhu: What would you say is the most memorable cake that you’ve made?

Shiyana: To be honest, rather than one memorable cake, I really remember the bigger projects that I’ve taken on.

Once, I made an order of 15 two-pound cakes for a resort, all with the same flavour and decoration with fresh fruits. And I also made some strawberry tres leches cakes for a resort with the tasting and design finalisation done in advance.  

In 2022, I delivered an order for Ghazee School – about 119 one-pound cakes in the same design and flavour for their Teachers’ Day celebrations. That was a huge order, and I got a lot of help from my family to complete it.

Lonumedhu: What advice do you have for people who aspire to start a food business?

Shiyana: Don’t procrastinate and wait to do something. Just let go of your fear and start. I also feel like I started running my business too late, but once you start, you learn through trial and error. 

And a lot of people talk about not having enough time, but time is something you make for yourself. So, if you want something badly enough, you should and will carve out the time to do it.  

Lonumedhu: What do you see next for yourself through Lemon?

Shiyana: I really want to open a small bakery outlet, with different types of baked goods, bread etc... 

Also, something which I’m really interested in doing – and which I do sometimes on request even now – is making healthy meal packs for people. I would like to do that more and expand that as a business too. 

Lonumedhu: Thank you so much for your time, Shiyana. It was lovely to hear your story, and we would love to see your future vision for Lemon come to light. 



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