Life just got sweeter with your new favourite Chinese bakery!
If you’ve checked your red Chinese wall calendar recently, you would know that the Mid-Autumn festival is fast approaching. It’s that time of year again when the Aunties spam the group chat with WeChat rabbit stickers/表情包, and your Mum replaces her old sewing supplies mooncake tin with a new one.
Dating back 3,000 years, the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar. This year, the holiday falls on 10 September. To celebrate, it is customary to gather with family and friends, give thanks, and appreciate the bright full moon on the day. Of course, eating mooncakes is also a must-do. Their round shape not only symbolises the harvest moon in the night sky, but also the completeness and togetherness of loved ones.
To make this year’s celebrations extra prosperous and festive, Fankery Bakery has just released a collection of aesthetically-pleasing and delicious mooncakes—guaranteed to impress the 阿姨 (a-yi)s in your life! These mooncakes combine both traditional and modern elements to suit all palates. Some of the mouth-watering flavours on offer include ube taro, red velvet peanut, charcoal coconut custard, and red bean salted egg yolk.
The owner of Fankery is Cathy, a UoA alumna, who graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Engineering Honours. Upon finishing uni, she has been working as an Electrical Engineer grad, at WSP in Building Services. With the aid of lockdowns, she’s built Fankery Bakery, a small online home bakery, based in Auckland. The bakery’s menu spans from creative treats like basque cheesecake brownies and mochi-filled cheesecakes, to nostalgic Chinese childhood staples, like polo buns and pork floss rolls, which are a nod to her heritage.
What inspired you to take up baking and open the Fankery Bakery?
Fankery started as a passion project for my Mum and I. For me, it was just a hobby account on Instagram, where I documented the foods she made. I didn’t bake anything initially, only helping her from time to time. But, I wanted to make my Mum’s food known to more people.
Growing up, whatever we wanted to eat, my Mum would always make it herself at home. She turned every “outside dish” into a personal challenge for herself, as a way to share love to her kids. We shared our foods with friends and family, and they’d always comment “why don’t you guys start selling? It’s even better than some bakeries”.
Mid-Autumn that year, we started selling. My Mum made pastries, and I made snowskins. The mooncakes were a great hit. After that, we started venturing into polo buns, developing different variations. However, we only had pop-up sales throughout the years, at times when we had spare time. It wasn’t until the second lockdown of 2021, when I was bored out of my mind, that I started experimenting with mochi-filled everything… cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, etc. This is how Fankery developed into what it is today!
How do you balance running Fankery alongside your full-time job?
It’s definitely a challenge, and time management plays a big role in it. Thankfully, uni has taught me how to manage my time quite well, as Engineering was quite demanding. My tip: WRITE EVERYTHING IN THE CALENDAR!!! I’d be lying if I said I don’t usually end up with no time to myself at the end of every week. It’s quite often that I’d have to be reminded by my partner that I need to take a rest, and have some ‘me time’, otherwise I’d reach burnout.
Do I listen to the advice telling me to slow down? I try my best. I know that a business won’t build itself, but my mental/physical health is also important, and without a working mind and body, nothing can proceed in life.
Can you tell us more about why you decided to create mooncakes, and what was that process like?
Over the years, we’ve learned that people love variety for Mid-Autumn festival celebrations, so this year we created our specialty mixed mooncake gift box, which includes four different pastry thousand-layer mooncakes, and two traditional-style mooncakes.
Each mooncake is hand-pressed and 100% homemade, from the fillings to the outer skin. The preparation work for filling takes months of work in advance, but we believe it’s all worth it! The taste of something homemade is impeccable, compared to mooncakes made from machines, which can have a shelf life of months. We hold this festival close to our hearts, and with food as our love language, we hope our mooncakes can make other people’s Mid-Autumn celebration memorable.
What advice do you have for students interested in baking, or opening a food business of their own?
I’d say just go for it! If you can’t go to sleep without thinking about it, then don’t you have your answer? Everything you do in life comes with a risk, but hey, life is way too short not to give your best shot in the things you want. You never know if you don’t try, and Google is your best friend.
Fankery is accepting preorders for mooncakes until Mid Autumn (10 September), via the link (https://linktr.ee/fankery_), or on Instagram @fankery_. Be sure to get them in quick, orders are filling up fast!