Today’s exciting Blogger in the Spotlight (BITS) is none other than the accomplished baker, Mama Min. Mama Min is a sugar artist who makes cakes that tell stories.. so without further ado, here is the interview with her.
1. What got you started ?
I’ve never considered myself a baker as I didn’t bake very much until 6-7 years ago. For my daughter’s 1st birthday, a friend of mine baked a cake with a mermaid sitting on a rock. That was when I realize that cakes need not be regular round or square and flat. Even then I didn’t think of making cakes. For Laura’s 2nd birthday, I wanted to make her birthday cake. I searched online for a butter cake recipe but didn’t have a clue what sorts of icing to use. So I baked a butter cake with the recipe I found online, drove to Puchong to another friend’s house to get her help. We fumbled a bit but managed to decorate the cake with butter-cream. We used Smarties to spell out Laura’s name. Every year, I became more adventurous. My first shaped cakes were for Laura’s 4th birthday (jewelry box) and Adam’s 1st birthday (construction site) in 2004. I was so stressed out 2 weeks before their party that Patrick suggested we just go out and buy them a cake. I started making the cakes for my nieces, nephews and friend’s children. Then I realized I had a knack for making cakes that don’t look like cake. Friends were my first customers. When I started posting up photos on my blog , I also started receiving inquiries by email.
I get to tell stories through my cakes. Seduction (which is the most popular naughty cake design) is about a man helpless in the hands of a seductress (or two depending on what the customer asks for).
What’s the story behind this Get Well Soon cake? Are they really a nurse with her patient or are they enjoying a bit of role-play? *wink*
2. Who is your favourite baker and why?
There are a few sugar artists whom I admire. Debbie Brown and Lorraine McKay who are fabulous with figurines. Debbie Brown has a big influence in the way I shaped figurines. Alan Dunn for sugar flowers. He has a knack for making life-like flowers. Even though I’m not a big fan of sugar flowers :-P I’ve been fortunate enough to have learned from them too! I made a trip to London last year just to attend workshops.
3. What is your favourite travel destination for food/cakes?
I love street food! In my opinion, the best way to get to know a place is to through the street food, especially where locals go. Overall, good food to me means something that tickles all my senses. It has to look appealing, smells good and has bursts of different tastes and texture in the mouth. I hope I achieve that with my cakes :) I would say my favourite food destinations would be Penang and Bangkok.
4. What is your advice for budding bakers?
Think out of the box. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and try new recipes and methods. We get to eat our mistakes! :) Attend workshop/classes to sharpen your skills.
5. What is your favourite recipe and why?
My favourite cake recipe is this Carrot Cake recipe which I got from The Complete Step-by-step Cooking Class Cookbook. The awesome-est Carrot Cake ever! It looks good, smells divine and with every bite, you’ll taste the combo of carrot, pineapple, cheese, raisins… Yum! I was craving Carrot Cake when I was pregnant with my son, Adam. I didn’t want to bake a whole cake, knowing I’ll probably end up eating most of it myself. I ended up buying slices of carrot cake from cake shops, specialty coffee places but none of the cake sold outside could fulfill my craving. In the end, I baked the cake and ate it too , but no, I didn’t finish the whole cake by myself . Cake taste best shared!
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Min Chan aka Mama Min is a sugar artist who makes cakes that tell stories. Min believes everyone has an in-born talent. She hopes to help those who love crafts and cake decorating discover their talents. Min is currently busy setting up Mama Min Studio which is scheduled to open in May 2010.
Website: Mama Min (Happiness is Homemade)