Dessert-making courses are gaining popularity with Chinese wives who want to give their family treats, reports Wang Zhuoqiong.
Liu Qiuhong, 34, has her own recipe for being a popular mother. Home baking desserts and sweets such as cookies, biscuits and cheesecake has brought her closer to her daughter, friends and relatives, especially at parties or celebrations.
"I started baking because my daughter and my husband love Western desserts," said Liu, who is a housewife. "When you eat a cake baked by someone you know, you feel so loved and cared for that the cake becomes the most delicious in the world."
When she has spare time after taking her 3-year-old daughter to kindergarten, baking a cheesecake is also a way for her to relax. To sharpen her skills, she often goes to baking classes. To learn how to cream sugar, she signed up for a class organized by nearby bakery Pantry's Best.
Liu is among a rising number of urban Chinese young women who have developed a passion for home baking. The trend has also generated a cluster of baking courses and bakery shops in major cities across the country.
Many Chinese kitchens that used to rely on preparing food in an iron wok have added a Western oven.
When Pantry's Best organized a baking course through a young mothers' community website aimed at 10 students, the reception was overwhelming. More than 40 people signed up in just two hours. "Most of them are younger mothers who care about nutrition in their children's food and have overseas education backgrounds, which has made them more familiar with Western bakeries," said Shao Nan, branding and marketing manager for Pantry's Best.
According to their survey, almost all participants in the course have ovens at home and more than 60 percent have baking experience. "Those mothers have acquired a surprisingly rich knowledge of food and food ingredients," she said.