House Baker Nicole Tan brings her creativity to life by way of her fantastically embellished confections

THE world is stuffed with tales that encourage, transfer and contact your coronary heart. For a house baker, her de ella’s inspirational story is how she turned her lifelong ardour for baking right into a rising enterprise, delighting clients together with her intricately embellished muffins.

Nicole Tan, proprietor and founding father of AN Fraiche, began the corporate in 2015. The identify – AN Fraiche – is made up of the primary letters of Nicole’s identify and that of her pal and enterprise companion Alex, in addition to the French phrase for “recent”.

Nicole accomplished an Superior Diploma in Patisserie & Gastronomic Delicacies at Taylor’s College the place she was informed that if she did properly in her exams she can be awarded a scholarship and despatched to France. And guess what? She did.

She traveled to France for her internship and continued her research in culinary arts with a scholarship, which she graduated with honors.

We puzzled how the enterprise began. Nicole explains, “It began with a Christmas cookie sale whereas I used to be a pupil at Taylor’s College. It began as a facet hustle to complement my earnings as a result of I did not have a set wage and had a strict spending finances from my mom.

“This enterprise then adopted me again to Penang after I completed my research and I made a decision to make it a full-time job.”

She has at all times been concerned about baking, ever since she grew up as a toddler in a single-parent family. Her mom de ella was the one breadwinner, and Nicole developed a ardour for baking after watching her mom de ella bake bread, kuih-muih, and different pastries as treats for her de ella household.

Baking is considered one of Nicole’s favorites as a result of it is much less nerve-racking than cooking in a scorching kitchen. Baking requires extra consideration to element; Even minor modifications within the recipe can have an effect on the feel of the tip product and decide whether or not it’s dense or fluffy.

AN Fraiche’s specialty lies within the capability to customise cake designs to buyer specs. A few of the hottest requests are cartoon animal designs and even portrait drawings primarily based on pictures.

Nicole mentioned, “Sketching portraits of individuals on the cake was initially a Korean birthday development. I noticed that it might be one thing distinctive that will catch individuals’s consideration, so I regularly realized the methods from social media and [by observing] the social media pages of different well-known bakers.”

She additionally follows varied house bakers on social media to maintain updated with present traits.

“I am additionally at all times energetic on XiaoHongShu, a platform just like Pinterest however with a extra Asian group and knowledge. This web site would encourage me by exhibiting me what different bakers are engaged on and what the market wants are,” she continued.

Whereas virtually all of AN Fraiche’s clients are proud of the tip outcomes, we requested how Nicole handles dissatisfied or impolite clients.

She remembers: “Final November I combined the mistaken shade of cake for the consumer. The shopper wished a extra greyish-blue cake, however I delivered a turquoise blue cake. The shopper supplied suggestions and I apologized for my mistake and despatched her a refund. One other factor that devastated me was when she reported the incident on-line and obtained adverse feedback. I used to be so outraged that I needed to write a put up on my web page about them to make clear [the situation]and apologize to her publicly.

“Some clients ship offensive messages when they do not get a reply. Some textual content me in the course of the evening anticipating a cake the subsequent day. I’d write to you that I’m at the moment busy fulfilling orders and would reply to you as quickly as doable.

“There are occasions I get clients who’re upset as a result of the date they want the cake is booked. For that reason I replace an availability schedule on our social media day by day to keep away from upsetting clients.”

Alex, her companion and a cooking teacher at MAHSA College’s enterprise faculty, is her staunchest supporter at AN Fraiche. The 2 have been collectively for eight years and Nicole runs her enterprise from Alex’s kitchen.

Alex mentioned: “In these eight years, I’ve come to appreciate that she’s not the sort of individual to point out on the market. If she needs one thing, she shall be quiet and do it alone. No matter she posts on Fb, Instagram or different websites, I’ll do it [be the one to] share with everybody [because] I need everybody to know.”

He added: “I found her abilities in baking so I compelled her to come back to Selangor to finish her schooling.

“After that she began to come back out of her shell however I nonetheless needed to push her. It is good to have somebody to assist you; Typically an individual simply wants a nudge, so I used to be there to nudge them.”

Nicole additionally makes pet-friendly muffins for her clients’ fur infants. For these explicit muffins, she removes or substitutes components primarily based on a pet’s dietary wants. For instance, if the cake is for canine, she eliminates chocolate from the recipe as it’s dangerous to them.

All of their pet muffins comprise diminished quantities of sugar and no nuts. She additionally tries her finest to maintain the components pure. For instance, she makes use of beetroot for the purple shade in her purple velvet cake as an alternative of meals coloring. Beetroot additionally affords quite a few dietary advantages and acts as a wholesome deal with.

Nicole’s purpose is to open her own residence bakery or espresso store the place she will be able to take walk-in clients. Her dream of Ella is to have a spot to name her personal De Ella and to see individuals having fun with her De Ella creations.

Observe @an.fraiche on Instagram for extra updates.

$!Nicole also makes cakes in unusual shapes.

Nicole additionally makes muffins in uncommon shapes.