Learn to make trendy desserts at latest baking classes

Participants at Baker’s Brew Studio with their Thai Milk Tea Cake (above).
Participants at Baker’s Brew Studio with their Thai Milk Tea Cake (above). PHOTOS: BAKER'S BREW STUDIO, CHEF PHILIA NG
Participants at Baker's Brew Studio with their Thai Milk Tea Cake (above).
PHOTOS: BAKER'S BREW STUDIO, CHEF PHILIA NG

Baking schools are introducing new flavours of cakes to draw young home bakers with a taste for the fanciful

To cater to the changing tastes of young home bakers, baking schools here are teaching them how to whip up their own trendy treats.

Think flavours of the moment such as Thai milk tea, pandan gula melaka and salted egg yolk.

The Straits Times estimates that at least eight baking studios here organise classes that incorporate newer flavours.

These range from newer studios such as one-year-old Baker's Brew Studio to established schools such as six-year-old ToTT Store.

There are also home-based studios such as BakeAvenue, helmed by Ms Irene Tan, who is in her 60s. It was originally known as Irene's Delights.

Depending on the school, these classes can accommodate from three to 16 students. The course fees range from $80 to $190, depending on the length of the class and techniques being taught.

  • Where to take classes

  • BAKER'S BREW STUDIO

    What: Ondeh ondeh cake, Thai milk tea cake, Paddlepop cheesecake 

    Price: $108 (three hours) 

    Class size: Eight to 10 

    Where: Sembawang branch: 6 Jalan Tampang; Upper Thomson branch: 246H Upper Thomson Road 

    Info: www.bakersbrewstudio.com

    BAKEAVENUE

    What: Salted egg cheese tarts, pandan gula melaka cake 

    Price: $80 to $90 (three hours) 

    Class size: Three to six 

    Where: Block 249 Hougang Avenue 3 

    Info: www.bakeavenue.com

    BAKEFRESH

    What: Pandan gula melaka cake, Earl Grey pudding cake, lychee rosette cake 

    Price: $100 a person or $95 a person if two people sign up together (31/2 hours) 

    Class size: 16 

    Where: Block 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza, 02-42 

    Info: www.bakefresh.com.sg

    ZAN'S TREATS

    What: Salted egg yolk cupcakes, avocado chocolate and ondeh ondeh and gula melaka cake. Classes are for women only 

    Price: $130 to $190 (51/2 to seven hours) 

    Class size: 12 

    Where: Kingston Terrace, 14D Jalan Masjid, 01-02 

    Info: www.zanstreats.com

    BAKE CRAFTY CAKES ACADEMY

    What: Strawberry ombre cake, rainbow floral cake 

    Price: $100 (five hours) 

    Class size: A maximum of eight 

    Where: 14 Jalan Soo Bee 

    Info: www.bakecraftycakesacademy.com

    TOTT STORE

    What: Ondeh ondeh petite cake, Thai iced milk tea cake, molten lava cheese tarts 

    Price: $118 to $168 (31/2 to four hours) 

    Class size: 12 

    Where: ToTT @ Dunearn: 896 Dunearn Road; ToTT @ Suntec: 3 Temasek Boulevard, 02-427 

    Info: www.tottstore.com

While there is still demand for classes teaching perennial favourites such as chiffon cake and strawberry shortcake, schools say the classes that whip up trendier desserts are gaining favour among younger bakers who are in their 20s and 30s.

Ms Nurizan Ismail, 44, founder of four-year-old Zan's Treats, finds that younger students' taste for cakes has evolved compared with their older counterparts.

"Black forest and red velvet cakes are now considered boring and they want something new," she says. "So I have to introduce more flavours such as teh sarbat or Speculoos-flavoured cakes."

Teh sarbat refers to hot milk tea usually made by Indian Muslims, while Speculoos is a popular spread made with cookie butter from Belgium.

For these younger students, how good the cakes taste may be secondary to whether they look "Instagrammable".

Ms Brenda Lin, 38, owner of four-year-old BakeFresh, says: "Most of them choose classes based on the attractiveness of the cakes."

She adds with a laugh: "Some of them like to bake, but they don't like to eat the cakes. They take photos and put them on Instagram and Facebook and bring the cakes home for their families."

To keep up with the trends, owners of these schools often trawl social media for ideas for new classes.

Ms Grace Tan, 37, director of ToTT Store, says: "We keep ourselves updated by following food trends through social media and visiting popular cafes.

"If we think that a cake or dessert might be popular, we will introduce it in our classes."

The schools also consider their students' requests and feedback.

And while one might think younger bakers prefer learning online through YouTube tutorials, it seems that they prefer real-life classes, which are more social affairs where they can make friends and ask their instructors questions.

Singapore Institute of Management student Karrie Wong, 20, says: "I've tried leaving my questions in the comments section on online tutorials, but no one replies.

"Moreover, many of them don't live in Asia and don't share our concerns. For example, macarons take longer to dry here."

She goes for classes at Baker's Brew Studio - learning to make cakes such as Earl Grey lavender and Oreo Nutella - once or twice a month. She has attended other schools, but prefers the hands-on approach at Baker's Brew Studio.

She says: "When you go for classes, all the ingredients are prepared for you. You can just enjoy the class and make the perfect cake."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'Learn to bake trendy treats'. Print Edition | Subscribe