Creating mind-blowing cakes is usually a task best left to professional chefs. But with her new book, Enkhtur Maini is set to transform the most challenging fondant fantasies into, well, a piece of cake.
As any parent will testify, throwing a children’s birthday party is a huge job, and one element of the day that can really bring on the nerves is the cake. When faced with the request for a three-tiered chocolate replica of a unicorn leaping through a rainbow, it’s therefore little wonder that so many of us turn to the professionals.
Enkhtur Maini is adamant that even the most bereft of bakers can create Instagram-worthy cakes. The owner of Bake with Enkhtur cooking studio has just launched her first book, Adorable Cake Figurines, which promises to make light work of pastry decorating. Divided into 10 chapters, it offers a step-by-step guide to creating popular animal figurines, from flamingos to lions to, yes, unicorns, and is entirely suited to families.
“Making a show-stopping cake is actually very easy when you know how,” says Enkhtur from the hum of her kitchen. “And the best part is that kids love it as well. For them, creating little animals out of fondant icing is exactly like playing with Play-Doh, so as well as creating your own child’s cake you get to spend quality time with them in the kitchen doing something you can both enjoy.”
For Enkhtur, baking is, above all else, a way of connecting with people. Whether making something for friends, family or for the occasional client, she abides by what she calls “the three Hs”: homemade, handmade and heart-made. It’s an approach that her grandmother instilled in Enkhtur while she raised her. “My fondest childhood memories are of the two of us in the kitchen, cooking,” she recalls. “Food was how she expressed her love and there was always lots of it. But the idea of buying a dish or a cake was unthinkable. It had to be ‘homemade, handmade and heart-made’ – and today I try and always do the same for my children.”
Even when she was earning her degree at the London School of Economics, Enkhtur would bake for friends in her tiny kitchenette, and when later she lived in New Delhi, Paris and New York before settling in Singapore in 2013, baking was the common thread that linked each experience. When one friend and then another asked her if they could pay for her services, she realised that there was potential for a new business venture. So, she left her job in finance to set up her bespoke cake company.
Today, between raising two children, running her Bake with Enkhtur workshops and writing her cookbook, Enkhtur only takes on the odd commission but she still regularly indulges in her passion for pastry. She’s currently putting the final touches on a giant eagle cake, which is to be auctioned off at a glittering gala hosted by Women On A Mission, a nonprofit organisation that raises funds for the charity Women for Women. Earlier this year, Enkthur took part in a 10-day trek through Western Mongolia with WOAM and she’s hoping the end result will contribute towards their aim of raising $100,000.
“That’s the thing with cake,” she muses. “It can touch your heart. There are so many moments in life that need to be celebrated – a beautiful cake just makes it even more special”
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