[Featured Creator] Meet Tiffany, a baker with a booming cupcake business. 👀
She creates deliciously unique flavor profiles from honest ingredients.
|Cornell Creatives||Aug 14, 2020||7|
The culinary work of Tiffany Ng ‘20 is innovative, honest, and delicious. Tiffany operates The Sweet Spot bakery, a business that stemmed from unique cupcake flavor profiles and Tiffany’s commitment to making sure her friends always had baked goods for birthdays and special occasions.
Tiffany recently graduated from the Hotel School and has adapted her business from serving Cornellians and members of the Ithaca community to new customers in and around Jakarta, Indonesia when she arrived home earlier this spring.
Quarantine provided Tiffany an unexpected opportunity to develop her business and create new cupcake recipes - switching from Ithaca best-sellers like Oreo, matcha, and lavender to a new collection that incorporates traditional Indonesian flavors in new ways.
Since graduating, Tiffany plans to continue growing her business while at home and even draws on the support and discerning palettes of family members to help her develop recipes before releasing them to her customers.
Even during a global pandemic, Tiffany has channeled her creativity and pursued her passion for baking with delicious cupcakes and a thriving business to show for it.
🧁Baking in Quarantine
Q: What are the current flavor profiles for your cupcakes?
Pandan Kaya. Pandan is a local Indonesian leaf that you extract juice from to get the flavors and aromas. It’s earthy, aromatic, and people have called it the Southeast Asian vanilla. Kaya is also homemade, basically a coconut jam using some pandan, coconut milk, brown sugar, and eggs. It has a nutty coconut flavor.
Nastar. Nastar is fruity, refreshing, and sweet but not overpowering. There’s other spices that we use in the pineapple tarts that make them very flavorful. It has a lot of flavors: a little sour, sweet, and with spices.
👌Finding the Sweet Spot
Q: Where did the spark for The Sweet Spot come from?
The spark came from feelings of happiness and excitement every time I share my baked goods with others. I started baking in high school, but when I went to college I didn’t have any equipment. I didn’t bake for a whole year, and I was itching to get back into baking.
Sophomore year, I started The Sweet Spot because it has always been a dream of mine to start a bakery, so I thought “Why not?” I started baking for friends and didn’t charge them when they asked, “Can you help me make a cake or cupcakes for a friend’s birthday?”
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’re working to overcome in your creative work right now?
When I was accepting tons of orders, the most challenging part was having to draw a line: “When do I turn down someone and when do I take the order?”
I really want to bake for everyone. As a hotelie, I love the service mindset and making others happy by going beyond simply providing cupcakes. What really helped was when I started to plan my weeks ahead.
Q: How did you market and sell your creative culinary work?
I marketed my business by giving out free cupcakes in the beginning. It’s really important to establish your quality and consistency. People know that what they’re going to get is good, and they’ll think of you!
Q: What are your plans for after graduating?
Although baking is a passion, I don’t plan to go into it as a career. I’m interested in food and beverage consulting or hospitality consulting as well as finance. I think of what I want in my career as a marriage between food and finance.
I planned on taking a 6-month break after graduation to pursue my passion in baking. My plan was to take pastry classes in Korea or Japan and talk to a lot of people already in the industry.
Then, I planned to get into the workforce, but I’m doing this as a side hustle - waiting until the job market heals.
Q: Who are the biggest supporters?
At Cornell it’s my hotelie friends and sisters from my sorority. Even though I’m baking in the kitchen in my own headspace, they’re keeping me company and doing their own thing in my living room. They always give me such high praise and words of encouragement.
Q: Who are the biggest critics of your work?
Family - but in a good way. They really give me honest feedback, which is really important when I’m recipe developing. You’re thinking about texture, flavor, density, moisture. It helps me a lot.
Q: To all the aspiring student creatives reading this, what would you like to say? Do you have any advice or tips to share?
It definitely comes down to time management and balancing. After all, for creatives, it’s a passion. We don't want to turn this into something you “have to” do.
Never be scared to ask someone else who’s walked down that path before. I’m open to talking to anybody who is a budding baker or student baker. You want to talk to people from different perspectives, but you don’t always have to listen. It’s still your product and your brand.
Before I started, a professor at the Hotel School connected me to a baker who has been baking bread since high school, and now he has his own physical bakery in Florida. He was my final push that I needed: “Stop worrying so much and just start your bakery.”
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