Baker with Lots of Love
This is my passion. Hoping one day I will own a bakery and whatever is not sold of the day will be sent to homes which is lacking of food, people on streets, refugees.
IT’S NOT EVERYDAY you see an introduction on a baker’s Facebook page talk about charity and the spirit of giving, but this is how Kuchingite Stefanie Michele, the owner of Cakes & Stuff (LOL) now based in Kota Kinabalu prefaced her page.
What is the story behind this passionate baker with the charitable heart?
The Borneo Post SEEDS caught up with Stefanie for a brief chat.
Tell us a bit about your personal background.
My name is Stefanie Michele, 29, I’m a Bidayuh-Chinese from Kuching.
How did the idea for Cake & Stuff (LOL) come about?
I was planning to make an anniversary wedding gift for my godmother Yvonne and her hubby. I ended up making a chilled Oreo cheesecake. She shared the cake with our friends and one of our friends, Jeremy complimented that it was really good and suggested that I can start to take orders and share this goodness to others.
What’s behind the name Cake & Stuff (LOL)?
This name is something random that I came up with. I knew that I wouldn’t only be doing cakes so I ended up putting the word ‘stuff’ and LOL stands for ‘Lots of Love’. I strive to always give my best in every cake that I’m doing with love.
Why did you choose to start the bakery in KK? Wouldn’t it have been easier to move back to Kuching and open one here?
My business is home-based. Opening a bakery is currently not in my planning. I found my passion in Kota Kinabalu and have built a network of customers who are also my friends today. It’s not all about earning money, it’s also who I am serving plus this business has really helped in building my character as a person.
If Kuching and KK both were humans, and they are drowning in the sea, who would you save first?
Do you remember the first cake your ever made?
The first cake I ever made was with my girlfriends when we were 12. It was a baked cheesecake, but instead of using cream cheese, we used cheddar cheese instead; it tasted really salty.
Share a little bit about what a day in your shoes is like?
It depends on how busy I am. There is a lot of standing, minimal rest, sleepless nights to accomplish orders on time. But it’s still very enjoyable and relaxed for me because it’s something I love to do.
Do you have favourite way to decorate a cake?
On decorating, my favourite is using fondant. Fondant is also known as sugar paste. It has the elasticity equivalent to plasticine or moulding clay. It’s fun to mould, shape and build it into figurines, cartoon characters, flowers, clothes etc.
How long does it takes for you to finish one cake?
It depends on the detail of the design. For cream cakes about 2 hours. For fondant cakes, it takes 3 to 12 hours, depending on its difficulty.
Have you ever thought of quitting?
No. There are frustrating moments and challenging moments. I really had to learn my way up because I never had any basics or went for classes before this.
I have gone through a lot of trials and errors to be where I am today. Mostly it is self-taught through watching Youtube, DIY-online or just my own creativity.
The worst thing that has ever happened was when I had covered a wedding cake with fondant and it cracked while the cakes were already stacked on top of each other. My low moments have been when I fail to plan out things properly. It’s really important to plan.
What are the best parts of your job?
The best part is when I have accomplished my work and I am happy and amazed at my artwork. Another one is when I see my customer’s happy face and they love their cake plus the affirmations that I received from them are encouragements for me to do better.
Can you share which cake is your favourite cake design so far?
I have many that I like; especially the ones with fondant roses and figurines with happy faces.