Paula Gafitescu: A Sunday Without Cake is Just a Regular Day

Most of us wish there were more hours in a day to complete all the scheduled tasks and also have some time to relax with a nice cup of tea and something sweet. Some do it better than others, but our colleague Paula Gafițescu has her own formula that seems to work wonders. Throughout the years she’s spent at Yardi Romania she managed not only to stay focused in her job as software developer, but also to start a family and a delightful blog filled with delicious surprises.
Here’s more about Paula, her job at Yardi, her amazing Enjoy Dessert blog and her favorite Sunday definition.

What is the best part of your job at Yardi Romania and how did you get here?

The best part of my job at Yardi is that I never get bored. I’ve been working with the company since September 2006 and in all these years together I was given the opportunity to operate in different departments. I’ve started with the PropertyShark team. Being my first job, I was a bit nervous about the future, the unknown part of life. But with time, the company started to feel like a second home to me and I never left; PropertyShark had become a safe place for my future. Throughout all these years I’ve changed projects and technologies and now, after a decade, I’m still here, still at Yardi. The funny thing (or maybe it’s just a happy coincidence) is that I’m back again to the PropertyShark team. And I’m so happy to be able to say that.

Tell us more about Enjoy Dessert—when and why did you start a dessert blog?

“Enjoy Dessert” was born 4 years ago out of my desire to write down my ever-growing collection of sweet recipes. I’ve always enjoyed baking and, at some point, I’ve realized that I can also play with ingredients, colors and tastes. So, that was the moment to put down my ideas and create a special place for my recipes: a blog!
Choosing a name was difficult because there were already plenty of food blogs, but in the end I’ve decided to give it a simple name—because I enjoy eating dessert(s), this was the ideal (and honest) name for my blog: Enjoy Dessert!

What is your most favorite dessert recipe? Any baking tips?

It wouldn’t be right to say that I have a favorite dessert (I have many!). What’s certain is that I love chocolate and I enjoy any dessert that has a little bit of chocolate. However, if I were to choose, I think I’d choose the chocolate and praline cake – this is a personal recipe and, of course, you can find it on my blog. Obviously, I must include ice-cream, lots of ice-cream. Sometimes I have the strange feeling that I eat more ice-cream than I should. But is there such a thing as a limit for ice-cream?
Baking tips are different for every type of recipe. Tell me what you want to do and I might be able to give you some good advice for an awesome cake 🙂 Anyway, the reality is this: passion is one of the main ingredients when baking; adding it to any of the recipes will make the process easier and the result simply delicious. Even in my case, if I’m not in the mood for baking, but I do it anyway, nothing goes well. Yet, with the right mood all my ideas become reality way easier. This is why one of my guidelines is: bake when you feel like doing it!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Most of the recipes are my own creation, even if I have a dozen (or more) of baking books. These books are a source of inspiration at all times and I get them from all the places I travel to. I adore tasting all the goodies out there! Discovery is basically my motivation. Soon after, I close my eyes and my mind starts building the next awesome cake. That’s when I need a pen and a piece of paper, immediately, because the moment must be seized and transposed on the paper. If you ever come visit, you’ll see that most of my recipes have a sketch doodled somewhere, all around the house.
I’m a fan of combining flavors and textures in a dessert. The layers and colors give the cake its beauty, but the flavor makes it good. I’m a perfectionist and every time I make something sweet I want it to be as tasteful and pretty as possible. When something goes wrong, I’m dissatisfied, but prepared for my next (better) cake.

How do you manage to find the right balance between your professional life and personal life?

Most of the time I’m a busy bee. I spend my days running between home, work, school and kindergarten. It’s a situation I’ve gotten use to and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon. I have to face it, stay organized and focused and get all the things done. There are no such things like: “Ok… today I’m not in the mood to wake up early and take my kid to school” (or maybe there are, but only in my dreams) because there is no one else to do it for me. My husband is busy, I am busy, everybody is busy. Staying organized and making priorities are the things that help me go on. When I’m at work, I leave my personal problems behind and focus on my job as much as I can; when I leave the office, I try to clear up my mind and prepare for the next important things of the day: kids, husband, food, house.
I get some time for myself after 9pm and during weekends. You’ll probably never guess what I like to do in that spare time, but I’ll give you a clue: it is related to baking and has chocolate on top.

“A party without a cake it’s just a meeting.” Julia Child

This is me in a nutshell. At any party, the most important moment for me is the cake’s arrival. Not being given cake can really bring me down. When I organize a party, I always start with the cakes. Not just one, a few cakes with different flavors, so that everybody is satisfied. Only after I’m happy with those I selected I can move on the main courses.
My guests know I’ll put sweets on the table and they always ask: “what great cake did you bake this time?” And I’m always happy to see them enjoying my sweets because this is my reward: their smile.
I enjoy parties, and always look forward to the next one. Yet, parties don’t take place that often, so I’ve extended the quote in something like “A Sunday without cake is just a regular day.

Should we expect an Enjoy Dessert confectionery/bakery in the near future?

Having a bakery sounds delicious, but it’s not the easiest thing in life. I see it as a big step, one that can be accomplished only when I’ll feel prepared to take it. And I’m not, at least not yet. Before taking this leap of faith I need to know all the risks it implies, as well as the benefits, but most importantly the risks, as I would hate to be caught off guard and expose myself to unforeseeable scenarios. In other words, yes, I am dreaming about my own bakery, but for now it’s only a dream, one not very well defined. I’ll definitely let you know when my dream will come true.