By Sairah Masud
A BAKER in the Midlands has set his sights on creating signature cakes for singer Rihanna and former boxer Mike Tyson, following the recent success of his sweet creations.
Paz Heer, 37, who owns AB Cakes in Wolverhampton, has an impressive list of famous clients including Anthony Joshua, Floyd Mayweather and Jazzy B, thanks to his cakes, but his recent taste of stardom has left him hungry for more.
Earlier this year he was asked to bake a cake to celebrate the birthday of Floyd Mayweather, arguably his most well-known client to date.
“I had previously done cakes for their corporate events and they knew that I could design something special,” Heer told Eastern Eye.
“I remember standing next to the owner of Showfighter (a sports event organiser) and he looked at me and said, ‘you’ve actually smashed it’.
“There were camera flashes and local press and for that moment I felt like I was part of the Money Team. I felt like a celebrity for those few minutes.”
A business and marketing graduate, Heer took on the business in 2008 after his late mother told him it was an opportunity he could not miss.
“She was approached by the previous owners asking whether she wanted to take over the business. She wasn’t able to and so I agreed to take it on. I was at university at the time and my mum told me to just go for it, instead of doing a job that had nothing to do with what I graduated in.”
Starting out as a complete novice with very limited baking abilities, Heer recalled how going back to college to gain skills came with its own set of challenges.
“At that time, teenagers were getting paid to stay on at college so there were a lot of time wasters there. I was in a room full of 30 girls – half of them weren’t really interested in learning cake decorating.
“It was a bit of a nightmare, to be honest – three-hour lessons doing the same thing and the teacher was more concerned about the misbehaving young girls.”
Heer’s most recent creation was for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent visit to Birmingham to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of cult-classic, Predator.
“I’m getting people coming for me just because I made Arnie’s cake – I feel so blessed,” he said. “One bride and groom asked me to make their wedding cake and they wanted me to walk in with it. They were treating me like a celebrity – it’s mad.
“What really touches me is when national recognition is the same as at the local level. Locals all say to me, ‘you’re a nice, humble man’ and now to have that being said at a national level is amazing.”
Heer spent a week on the Predator cake, and calls it “one of his proudest creations so far”. It had UV blood which glows in the dark, lasers and a mist-maker and prompted Schwarzenegger to tell Heer that he had “outdone Hollywood”.
“A lot of research went into it because I didn’t just want to make it solely about Predator, I wanted to incorporate elements of the actual movie as well.
“I spent the most time designing it – there were weeks where I was just not sleeping, but it was worth it in the end because the response I got was amazing.”
Despite his recent stint in the limelight, “putting a smile on people’s faces” remains the most enjoyable part of his job.
“We’re always going to get paid for what we do, but we are making a difference, so for me that’s amazing. I’m getting messages from people saying you’re such an inspiration. Those two things are bigger than anything in my world.”
Heer admits the long hours are one of the few drawbacks of his profession, yet with his business flourishing, his loyal customer base has kept him going.
“Sometimes I’m the first to come in and last to leave. I leave with my whole body aching. When my mum passed away I was close to giving up, but I had so much love from my customers who I now see as family. They told me to carry on and do my best – I know my mum would be smiling,” he said.