Delcie, was inspired by her mother to create healthy, guilt-free cakes.
What’s your story?
My passion for confectionery artistry was ignited when I won a cake mixer from a lucky draw during a community dinner event. My late grandfather was a committed RC member and he would always bring me to dinner events in our local community. I was eleven back then.
Since then, I have become obsessed with baking while experimenting in the kitchen, always giving away most of my baked Pineapple Tarts and Christmas fruitcakes to friends and family. When I was 13, my dad told me I should start selling my cakes to my neighbours but that did not happen because I had no confidence to approach my neighbours. This idea sunk into my subconscious and I never thought about it since.
Immediately after graduation, I was employed as a Junior Art Director in Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) Singapore. During the next 2 years, I was so committed to my day job, I hardly had time to bake anymore. Finally, I quit my highly loved job in September 2008 to pursue my childhood desire – baking.
However, my mother strongly opposed the idea of giving up my day job to start a business and both my parents declined to support me financially. Determined to prove that I was committed to this business, I invested all my own savings and embarked on my three month action plan. First on the list was to find a space, but with my limited capital, renting an entire kitchen space is impossible. Thinking out of the box, I went around speaking to owners who closed their shop once a week and finally, I negotiated a $400 a month rental with a bubble tea stall owner to use her kitchen when she closed every Thursday. There, I began my baking business with a focus on healthier baking, a website, one oven and a cake mixer in a humble shop at a quiet Bishan neighborhood.
In December 2008, the opportunity to take over the entire shop came as the bubble tea owner needed to return to Malaysia immediately. She left me an empty shop and 6 months remaining lease term to commit to. I was plunged into committing full time into the business.
Unfortunately, my mother was diagnosed with cancer 30 days after I took over the store. I had to balance my time between hospital and managing my shop single-handedly. Finally, I decided to close my shop temporarily and spend my time with my mother. She passed away on 1st April 2009 and I went into depression for the longest time I could remember. Like me, my business was going downhill.
In 2010, I recovered from my depression and snapped back into focusing on the business. I realised food can either be your medicine or your poison. Recalling my mother’s battle with cancer, my mission to create healthy cakes was once again aligned. I began to focus on pioneering the technique in baking guilt-free cakes.
Going egg free and dairy free was not by chance, it was shaped by my personal lifestyle and my responsibility to my customers. My husband first initiated to turn vegetarian (eggless) for religious reasons and needed moral support from me to encourage his diet. Following this, I received an order from a customer whose child had a severe dairy allergy and wanted a cake for his birthday. Both situations eventually led me to remove both egg and dairy from all my baking so that people with allergies could have a cake on their birthday.
I started testing my own recipes without eggs and dairy on my customers. I remember throwing away so many unsuccessful cakes. I hid in the kitchen for a good 6 months, fearing to face unhappy and nasty customers who might not be satisfied with my initial products because this is not how cakes should be baked.
Finally, a positive review and many touching testimonials from parents with allergic children motivated me to try harder. In the end, I pioneered the technique of baking egg free, dairy free, gluten free and diabetic friendly cakes by using organic ingredients in Singapore. This business became known as, Delcie’s Desserts and Cakes.