They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But after having tried Baking Maniac’s cheesecake with blueberries and strawberry sauce, it’s safe to say the above statement doesn’t only apply to men. For those of you that know me, you know that I’d go to the ends of the earth for good food, particularly eggless desserts. Thus, an assignment that led me to a cupcake tasting was too good to be true and to refuse.
Baking Maniac is the new big thing making waves across the city. Set up and run by a mother and her son, Ankrish, the duo is all about bringing a smile to peoples’ faces with all the right ingredients. What started out as a hobby for a young boy at the tender age of eight grew into a passion and dream from which there was no looking back. Ankrish began to develop his potentials by helping his mother in cooking classes and learning about the craft of baking one step at a time. By the time he was 12, he received his first opportunity to bake for a Christmas party.
However, it wasn’t until he started posting pictures of his delicious cupcakes up on his blog that led to the citywide buzz. Ankrish, now 16, claims that “one should never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth” because that’s what has predominantly brought him to where he is today (apart from his scrumptious-looking delights). When asked what differences he sees in his work today from four years ago, he simply says “my quality of decoration”. His blog has enabled him, time and again, to compare the way in which he makes each batch unique and special, often exceeding the expectations of others as well as his own.
Having to juggle between his demanding International Baccalaureate curriculum and building up his portfolio is only one of the challenges that Ankrish has to face. “Running out of ingredients”, he says, “is one of the most taxing frustrations to come across, because things don’t always go according to plan.”
Aspiring to join a pastry course in Paris after his undergraduate degree, Ankrish believes that a lot of his inspiration and passion has been derived from practising doing what he loves most, learning from mistakes and moving forward. This quality continues to be his primary initiative as well as his advice to individuals who aspire to reach the heights of success at a young age.
Baking Maniac’s clientele includes big corporate events, weddings, baby showers and birthdays. However, despite gaining immense popularity and success with Baking Maniac, the duo also acknowledges the importance of giving back to the community.
Thus, they bake and donate part of their proceeds to charities and organizations in Hong Kong such as Giving Bread, Mother’s Choice and St James’ Settlement, to name a few.
With fads like frozen yogurt, is Ankrish worried that cupcakes may go out of “fashion”? He innocently replies “pizza’s never gone out of style; so why would cupcakes?”
In addition to beautiful and elaborate decorations, Baking Maniac also aims to cater to those with specific dietary requirements, including those who follow an eggless, vegan or gluten-free diet. You name it, they bake it!
Images captured by Aanchal Wadhwani.