Making Waves with Modern Mooncakes
Millennial bakers of the new age are rocking the scene with their own creative interpretations of mooncakes, ramping up their game with re-imagined flavours and textures that go beyond just durian snowskin.
Less than a short decade ago, restaurants and hotels were the unmistakable incumbent in the mooncake market – with limited options of traditional flavours like red lotus paste, white lotus paste or red bean paste.
It’s interesting to think about how the creativity of our modern millennials have slingshotted the progress of mooncake-making.
Behind The Scenes of Instagram-Worthy Moments
Though the final product shots look pristine on Instagram, the reality that goes behind-the-scenes is a far cry.
When speaking to our Millennial bakers, it seems the hectic weeks leading up to Mooncake Festival is a shared experience.
In this interview, they’ve shared with us the stressful rounds of repeated R&D’s for their recipes – all to ensure their mooncakes hit the sweet spot of both taste and texture. All without the use of preservatives. Here’s how 3 Millennial bakers do it.
Han, Owner of @kneadedbyhan
If you didn’t already know, Han (@kneadedbyhan) has built a tight community who ensures her bakes are fully sold out with each launch.
While it all started as a mini home-baked sale during Circuit Breaker to explore her intrigue in baking, Han later took off as a full-time business upon her graduation from University.
A curious traveller, most of Han’s flavours are inspired by her foodie adventures in Taiwan and Japan, where she realised there were “flavours (she) wasn’t seeing in the local market”.
She later took to her regular launches to introduce decadent flavours to followers, separately curating seasonal boxes for occasions – like this Mid-Autumn Festival! A quick scroll on her Instagram and you’ll find her latest bakes – a triple assortment of Teochew-style mooncakes ($60 for a box).
Image Credit: Kneadedbyhan Instagram
Why Teochew-style mooncakes? Well, apart from the fact that Han had already made snow skin textures last year, she shares that her love for Teochew-styled mooncakes began when her mum brought a box home one day.
She later learnt that the thin, flakey texture of Teochew mooncakes could only be achieved through a tedious, repetitive process of folding and rolling butter into dough.
Han found this lamination process to be “mesmerising”, adding that the creation of the ‘thousand’ layers of dough, and the really eye-catching colours were fascinating.
At heart, Han is someone who’s constantly curious about “the art and science of baking” (like how even adding or subtracting one egg alone can change up the entire profile of a mix), so this was a challenge too irresitable to give up.
Image Credit: Kneadedbyhan Instagram
After rounds of testing and recipe development, her Triple Assortment box boasts 3 flavours – Black Sesame Chestnut Paste with Milk Jam, Purple Sweet Potato and Salted Egg Custard, as well as Yam Paste and Red Bean Mochi.
With the lava components and flavour combinations, you can be sure it’s gonna be an explosive galaxy for your taste buds.
Keith & Irene, Mother-Son-Duo at Meltbites SG
Striking us as a heartfelt collaboration between mother and son, Irene and Keith (@meltbites.sg), share with us their journey and foray into baking Salted Egg and Truffle Parmesan mooncakes.
Keith, the 32-year old Singaporean business owner, reminisces how Mooncake Festival held a significant memory for him – it was the time where his “extended family would gather to celebrate… (and) enjoy different types of mooncakes.”
Similar to Han (@kneadedbyhan) who found inspiration beyond our shores, Keith also found novelty in the unique mooncake flavours he’d seen whilst working overseas, in Hong Kong – describing his bakes to have “successfully transformed a liu sha bao (salted egg custard bun) into mooncake form”.
However, things weren’t always smooth-sailing. Keith shared the process of having to work with his mum, Irene, who initially had no background in baking at all!
Image Credit: Shared by Keith
Through the “many trials and error” and having to “break down the steps”, the mother-son duo eventually found their rhythm and have since received orders on a first-come-first-serve basis.
He shares a heartening takeaway from this baking journey – “it’s definitely brought us closer since we got to interact more and exchanged valuable opinions.”
Image Credit: Shared by Keith
Since 2020, each mooncake remains 100% handmade as they pride themselves in their no-preservatives recipe. Their inventions rotate among signature flavours Salted Egg Parmesan Lava, Charcoal Macadamia Salted Lava, and even Truffle Parmesan Lava!
This year, their menu features their Salted Egg Parmesan Lava Mooncakes ($68 for 6 pieces).
Image Credit: Meltbites Instagram
Chanel, Owner of Cafe Lilac by Whisking Bakes
Another passionate baker who equally believes in creative interpretations of tradition, Cafe Lilac (@whiskingbakes) has also joined the Mid Autumn train with its handmade Orh Nee Snowskin Mooncakes.
We got to chat with Chanel, the 25-year old owner of this bakery. True to its name, Cafe Lilac is a cosy spot located near Lavender MRT and specialises in purple taro desserts. Her mission is simple – for customers to “enjoy peace with a piece of cake!”
Image Credit: Whisking Bakes Instagram
Ironically, the baking journey hasn’t been that much of a piece of cake for Chanel due to the commitment of intense R&D rounds in order to “create something special”. With a fervour to pursue creative ideas while retaining quality, she had tried 5 different variations of Orh Nee Snowskin Mooncakes before deciding on this recipe.
Image Credit: Shared by Chanel
The ingredients to her final concoction fulfilled Chanel’s desire of a “soft yet light chewiness” to the mooncake skin. As for the yam filling, she likes it au naturel – “handmade” and not “store bought yam lotus paste”.
Takeaways From 3 Millenial Bakers
Han, Chanel and Keith all boast unique interpretations of their own mooncakes. Though different in flavour and texture, it seems there’s a running thread among these 3 dreamers – a yearning to express their creativity through real food, real ingredients and an honest recipe.
Between the heart work and hard work that goes into their kitchens this Mooncake Festival, we’re heartened to have caught a glimpse of their stories!
Now, we’re passing the baton onto you to connect with your loved ones over mooncake.
Your Novel Mooncakes Might Just Be A Conversation Starter
If you’re reading this article, chances are – you’re probably looking for a box of mooncakes to gift your friends, family, or even your partner’s family! The key is to impress, right?
And we get it – with an exorbitant number of brands out there competing for your attention this Mid-Autumn Festival, it is a chore thinking of which promises the best quality.
This Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s all about gathering a-round the table and having a warm, fuzzy time. Bring a box of these novel mooncakes and who knows? It might just be a solid conversation starter to bring your loved ones together — and that’s exactly what the spirit of Mid-Autumn Festival is about.
More of what you might like:
- Singaporean Hawkers Share: How Hawker Brings Us Together
- 8 Women Making Waves In Singapore’s Food and Drink Scene
- Bird Nest Mooncake, Snowskin Mooncake and More to Try In 2022
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