When his mother informed us about Eric’s love for baking, we immediately wanted him to share his story with us. Mrs Wanjiku Wambugu told us that we could speak to the young boy directly. He handles his own business, she said. Talk about this kind of independence at a tender age of 12! How impressive!
We got in touch with Eric. We agreed for an interview that was to take place few days later. He set up a video meeting but we had to change to a different model.
Eric is a budding pastry chef from Mombasa. When you follow him on social media, you will see the many cakes among other pastries which his clients shared. He is so passionate about it that he bakes every day.
NAFSI How did you start learning how to bake?
ERIC I got the interested in it when I was five years old watching my mother bake cake. I would go on to learn on YouTube. That was quite hard for me. I went to do three courses at Valentine Cake House in 2018. I wanted to learn new things. Here I am now. Over the years I have been able to make cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, doughnuts, mahamri, layered cakes, pizza, and carrot, marble and vanilla cakes.
NAFSI Do you have any special ingredient that you use in your craft?
ERIC I do not have a special ingredient. I use the traditional creaming method. All I need is to make the base of the cake connsisting of margarine, flour and sugar. Once I make that I can choose any flavour whether it is orange, vanilla, and so on. When it comes for decoration, I use thick whipping cream. I avoid butter cream completely.
NAFSI It is interesting that this is your passion and business. How is the business at this time?
ERIC I have been selling cakes since 2018 when I was doing my course. I did not sell as many as I had hoped to since school was taking most of my time. But now that I am at home, I have been able to bake and convince people to buy. I bake every day. There are customers who are afraid of giving me big orders since I am young. Some would order from me and from someone else so that in case I do not deliver, they have a back-up plan. I always deliver.
I have had so much time on my hands now that I learned how to bake blackforest and whiteforest cakes, and brownies. I go through websites. I read cookbooks. I bake.
NAFSI Do you follow a health conscious baking or you are all about sweet treats?
ERIC I reduce the amount of sugar I put in my cakes. There is already sugar from the cream. Since I am in an Indian school and the community do not eat eggs, it was a challenge learning to bake without eggs. I have experimented a lot of times trying to find a perfect recipe for an eggless cake.
NAFSI How have your parents supported you through this journey?
ERIC My mother started all of this. She is the one who encouraged me to begin baking. My father is not a fan of cake but he has been able to support me financially. Both my parents support me financially and emotionally. There have been days when I have faced disappointment and they have been there motivating me to grow through it. My food critics are my brothers.
NAFSI What is the biggest lesson baking has taught you?
ERIC It is a skill that I have. When I follow a recipe and it does not turn out good, there are many more different recipes to follow. I can look at the internet right at this moment and see the many other recipes to explore. When a cake does not come out as good as I hoped it to, I can still make a great cake next time.