Homebaked cakes are getting more popular nowadays as Singaporeans increasingly seek customisable, handcrafted products over mass-produced ones.
I first came across Cotton Homebakes while asking fellow mummies on Facebook for recommendations for home bakers.
Quite a few of them had ordered homebaked cakes from Cotton Homebakes before, with requests to follow their kids’ drawings or favourite characters.
The homebaked cakes and creations made by Cotton Homebakes are super instagrammable, homebaked and handcrafted to meet your preferences.
Besides cakes which children will swoon over, Cotton Homebakes also creates confections for adults such as mahjong-themed and longevity cakes.
Cotton Homebakes is also known for its healthier, less sugar and natural flavoured cakes, for health-conscious customers.
I got in touch with Kellynn Lee from Cotton Homebakes to find out more about this promising home baker and what makes her cakes so special that customers keep on coming back for more.
1. Can you share with me about the history of Cotton Homebakes?
I started baking back then in 2013 as a hobby. On 22nd November 2014, Cotton Homebakes was officially born. I have lost count of how many cakes I had sold.. Lol but I know every week there will be orders.
2. What are your most popular flavours and designs? What makes your homebaked cakes special?
Cotton Homebakes’ signature cake is the Mango Rose cake. It has 3 layers of fresh mango (including the crown of the cake) with light chantilly cream.
The Mango Rose cake comes in a rose design that never fails to wow someone each time when they open the cake box!
Inside every cake, I use conventional sponge cakes that are made without using baking powder.
A good foundation basic sponge cake is the soul of my every cake, so I make it my responsibility to perfect it every time I bake.
Cotton Homebakes does have its values. They have less sugar and no preservatives so a healthier choice is our first priority, followed by taste then the design.
Hence our dairy whipping cream, although it cannot last long at room temperature, often gets feedback from customers who say it is delicious.
Of course, people still love pretty cakes and Cotton Homebakes will try the very best to achieve the design customers want by sourcing for other alternatives.
3. Can you tell me more about yourself as a homebaker?
I am a working mom in sales line doing oral hygiene products.
My baking journey started in 2013 mainly as a hobby as I wanted my boy to have a less sugar, healthier selection of desserts.
It never struck me to sell my baked goods until I started making my own homemade pineapple tarts in end 2013, and the response is overwhelming.
Thereafter, I started my self taught baking journey on cakes. One cake I would love to bake is a Japanese style strawberry shortcake.
I was so impressed by how soft the sponge cake and how light the cream was. So I told myself, I want to perfect this cake. It uses no chemical, no colouring yet it taste so light and delicious.
So the name Cotton Homebakes came from this inspiration.
I pick up my baking skills from YouTube , books and online. It becomes a knowledge when I keep practicing. I am a perfectionist which I try not to overdo, lol.. but I just keep practicing to perfect my creations and thereafter create new recipes of my own.
I enjoy baking and often offer my friends and family members my cakes and importantly get feedback from them so that I know where to improve. My first baked cake was sold to a good friend of mine.
4. Could you share interesting snippets about yourself?
My cake inspiration comes from my son who changes his cake order design all the time.
From Volcano, to Planets to Under the Sea….Ya … He told his classmates that he ordered a cake from his mommy. Lol. And I took his words seriously and started thinking how to design these cakes to fulfill his wish.
Sometimes, the design can be really challenging, I told him mommy might not able to do it and he will say “Mommy , just try, I know you can!”. And so I continue doing it and achieving the result.
He is also my QC (quality control)! Whenever I am not sure of the colours, I will ask him, “DD, what colour is this?” And he will tell me the answer, then I will know if I got it right or wrong on the colour tone and designs.
He will be the tester for my new flavor cakes. If he comes back for more servings of the cake, I will know this cake will be well received .Lol.
So yes, my son is my number 1 fan of Cotton Homebakes cakes, as he is part of R&D for Cotton Homebakes as well.
Other skills sets I have? I paint, sew, crafting, cook and love to eat. Haha
5. What do you wish customers should know about homebakers?
Homebakers don’t produce cakes in mass like commercial bakeries so we don’t have economies of scale when it comes to costs.
Some people think ordering a homemade cake would be at lower cost because we don’t have rental to pay.
However, the costs we incur are higher and I only bake a cake upon receiving an order. I do not buy things in bulk to ensure my ingredients stay fresh. I also have electricity and water bills to pay and importantly pay myself a salary too.
My customers get very personalized service because the cake is especially baked for them.
For customized cakes, customers must be specific and clear of what they want and it is best to provide pictures for reference.
This is to manage the expectation on the final design of the cake.
6. What advice would you give aspiring homebakers?
For homebakers, I think hygiene is very important as we are dealing with food, although we don’t need to get a NEA license to start a small scale business from home.
Good hygiene ensures that you can provide safe food for people to consume.
Baking as a hobby and baking for business is totally different, so it really depends what you want to achieve as a homebaker.
You can upgrade yourself by taking a professional baking course if you really want to go into baking as a business.
Customer service, the consistency of your baked goods, being active in social media and keeping up with baking trends are also important factors to succeed as a home business.
Passion and perseverance will bring you far. Practice makes perfect.
7. How can customers order from Cotton Homebakes?
I welcome all to my humble cake shop, Cotton Homebakes – Your Personal Cake Shop.
Cotton Homebakes currently offers free delivery for Punggol, Sengkang, Hougang and Serangoon.
Customers can also opt for delivery at $10 to $25 for other areas, or choose self collection at Punggol or The Promenade @ Pelikat.
Special thanks to Cotton Homebakes for patiently answering all my questions and the beautifully-baked Strawberry Shortcake that made everyone happy on Father’s Day.
This is a series on #SGfemales to feature women whose stories make up part of this island we call home.