Huen Su Yin: Making sweet memories

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Although Delectable by Su is only four years old, it is already famous for its beautifully designed cakes and yummy, sweet pastries.

Founded by Huen Su Yin, who got her formal training at Notter School of Pastry Arts in the US, it is interesting to note that she actually is a graduate in Construction Management and Property.

Su used to bake for her university mates before realising that this is what she wanted to do. Seeing the smiles on their faces put a smile on hers and the rest is history.

1. What got you interested in baking? Perhaps you can share the earliest memory you have about something you ate or saw.

My main business is designer-sculpted cakes. When I started my first shop in The Gardens, my intention was to make designer-sculpted cakes for weddings. This was four years ago. We were one of the first in Malaysia to do designer-sculpted cakes.

I started baking in university, trying out cake boxes before experimenting into more advanced baking. When I was studying in Sydney, I would let my uni mates try my baking and they loved it. After that, I found interest in rolled fondant where I learned how to create designs.

I learned a lot online on websites and YouTube. When I was in Australia, I used to participate in markets as well. I guess you can say that my love for pretty cakes started when I was young. My parents used to put a lot of effort in birthday parties for my sister and me.

Our cakes were beautifully designed and customised with our favourite cartoon characters. There was once, my parents got me a cake in the shape of a 3D house. That completely changed my life.

I love celebrations and making people happy and I’m thrilled that it is part of my job. Although I’m more interested in cooking, it is sweet things that come with celebrations. That’s why I named my bakery Delectable, which means delightful and delicious. I want to make a difference in celebrations.

2. There is always a trend in the baking world. Cupcakes, Red Velvet, rainbow cakes, macarons, Cronuts. What differentiates them from classic favourites?

Generally, dessert trends are phases created by famous bakers through marketing. Fads are usually classics made famous again through tweaking. It is value added to a classic thing that makes it a fad. In a way, it is a revamped classic.

3. Do you think baking is easy and that everyone can bake? What makes a baker better than others?

Precision. It is the ability to follow instructions that makes a baker outstanding. It is because with baking, you have only one chance at putting everything together and making it work. It’s not like cooking where if it isn’t salty enough, you can add soya sauce and it will be okay again. A good baker is someone who does it over and over again, like maybe 100 times a week. A baker has to be a special breed of person.

4. Have you ever thought of doing something else completely? What would it be and why didn’t you pursue that instead?

No, I can’t imagine doing anything else! This is my dream come true and I get to create new things every week. I love nice things, even things like packaging.

5. Do you think Malaysia is up to par when it comes to baking? Why or why not?

I think we have our own credible desserts. We have desserts that are unique to Malaysia that are less commercialised but they show the technique of the chefs.

Now there are so many classes you can take to learn how to bake. Before this, when I asked for rolled fondant they (the shop) wouldn’t know what it is but now, it is sold out! People are very good at baking here. I guess you can’t compare to America when it comes to designer cakes but our pastry chefs are talented in their own way.

6. What advice can you give to amateur bakers out there?

Explore. Some people like to bake one thing over and over again. They should try experimenting with new recipes. The best kind of baking is when you’re baking for fun. Be inspired by things people bring back from other countries. The more you learn, as you grow older you can bake everything well. The more experience you have, the less failures you have.

You can find Huen Su Yin’s creations at Delectable by Su, S213, Level 2, The Gardens Mall, Midvalley City, KL, Tel: 012–5081855, and Delectable Treats, LG K 25B (in front of Cold Storage), The Gardens Mall; and P6.03.00, (next to Times bookstore) Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Tel: 03–21103211

This story was first published in Crave in the print edition of The Malay Mail on March 21, 2014.