The idea of baking on camera in front of celebrities, a well-known pastry chef and eventually your grandmother with a running clock and a “Frozen” theme would be intimidating to anyone. But best friends Zahira Amarsi and Amar Deshpande of Bellevue, both 14, decided to “Let It Go” and give it a shot.
“The bond between Anna and Elsa is so strong, it reminds us of our bond. We refer to each other as twins. We have that sibling, twin feeling,” explains Zahira, who with Amar appears this Friday on the Disney Channel’s “Disney’s Magic Bake-Off.”
In the baking competition series, three teams of two race against the clock to design a Disney-inspired cake and more. At the end of the episode, a winning team is announced.
The friends, who met in elementary school, shot their episode earlier this year, where they created desserts based on those famous royals of the fictional wintry Arendelle, to be judged by Disneyland resort pastry chef Graciela “Gracie” Gomez and social media baking influencer Mia Starr.
The pair have both been baking since they were small — Zahira has her own home baking business, ZZ’s Bakery, with its own Instagram account. (Her specialties are fruit tarts and cake decorating.) She says she got a notice on Instagram about the show and wasn’t sure about doing it until she found out it was a team challenge. “Amar was the first person I thought of,” she says.
That makes sense, as baking is a strong part of their siblinglike bond. “I remember coming over to Zahira’s house, and the first thing we made together was an apple pie,” Amar says. “It tasted really good.”
The secret to their successful kitchen collaborations is being willing to learn from each other. “She knew all these tips and tricks that I had literally not heard of,” Amar says. “It was really good. She knew some stuff I didn’t know, and I knew some stuff she didn’t know. I taught her how to make tiramisu …”
“… and I taught him how to frost a cake,” says Zahira, finishing his sentence, which is a thing that the two do often. “We’re able to know what (the other) is thinking. Sometimes we say the same things. We were walking once, and we didn’t say if we wanted to go straight or turn, and we both started turning in the same direction!”
That communication was key on the show, they say. While the two can’t elaborate on the specific desserts they had to make or how they did, Zahira says “the biggest challenge for me was the pressure of knowing it had to be done and that the professionals were going to taste it. I want to be as good as them. It was stressful, but I wanted to make sure it looked and tasted good.”
Amar says that he was inspired not only by “the ice powers and the winter theme” of “Frozen,” which is one of his favorite movies, but by “the whole sibling bond, because we see each other that way. This ‘Magic Bake Off’ was a life-changing opportunity, a truly great opportunity. I couldn’t see me doing it with anyone else.”