Hong Kong was a little behind the global cupcake revolution… but when it caught up, there was a total cupcake explosion! There seem to be new cupcake and pastry shops opening everywhere, but I’d been struggling to find a go-to cake-making place for special occasions.
When researching this and the best gluten-free food options in Hong Kong, I stumbled upon an article referencing 16-year old Ankrish. Whilst still at school, Ankrish knows exactly where his passion lies – baking! He has turned this passion into a devoted hobby and spends every weekend whipping up cakes for the lucky Hong Kongers who have also discovered him.
Cooking under the alias Baking Maniac, Ankrish cooks alongside his mum at home. Don’t be fooled though – his baked goodies are, without doubt, the best I have tried in Hong Kong! Ale and I were lucky enough to be invited along to his home to sample some of his creations, both normal and gluten-free. Not only were we blown away by the taste and creativity behind his baking but also the dedication and passion in Ankrish himself.
When Ankrish isn’t doing homework or baking, he’s busy being mentored by some of the top pastry chefs in Hong Kong. He spends all his pocket money on baking equipment and his kitchen is a shrine to ingredients. This boy doesn’t slack! He spends an insane amount of time in City’super sourcing the very best (and where possible, organic) flours, chocolates and other delicious ingredients that go into his creations; he’s even started importing products that aren’t up to scratch here, such as his much loved piping bags. Ankrish has already decided that after a degree in hospitality management he will go to study more in Paris before returning as a fully-fledged pastry chef to Hong Kong. He is one of the sweetest yet most ambitious 16 year-old boys I have ever met and makes me very proud to be a Hong Konger and support upcoming talent such as his.
His personality and passion alone were enough to convince me that Baking Maniac should be my go-to source for baked goods, but then we tasted everything. We were addicted from the first bite! Ankrish works with old favourites but isn’t afraid to experiment, adding creative touches and strokes of genius to his food.
Ankrish’s cupcakes are not only beautiful but come in a range of delicious and interesting flavours – you can stick to staples or be more adventurous with a Shirley Temple, Rum Raisin, Smores, Mint Choc Chip or Banana Split, and he’ll even create bespoke ones for you, like my favourite Cookie Monster ones! The base of the cakes is perfectly moist and delicious but the icing is the real showstopper. Even the gluten-free varieties are so well crafted, you can’t tell them apart from the real thing.
We also sampled his biscuits, chocolates and madeleines, each more tasty than the last. But our absolute favourite was the gluten-free and vegan cheesecake. The fact that a 16 year-old can perfectly craft a cheesecake to make it so divine, let alone one which works to dietary restrictions, is testament to the fact that Ankrish has an incredible natural talent and is sure to go on to be a culinary superstar. He can also personalise larger cakes for any special occasion, and his products look so professional Baking Maniac is even being used by big corporations and for weddings. And if you pardon the pun, the cherry on the cake is that Ankrish donates 10% of everything to charity, bakes for the charity Giving Bread and ensures any leftover cakes are donated to HK’s homeless.
Ankrish’s goodies are so wonderful that I’m actually hoping I will have some sort of impending social occasion so I have a reason to get my next Baking Maniac fix. But as he is happy to whip up batches of just six cupcakes at a time, maybe I’ll just treat myself? I warn you though, don’t log onto his website if you’re starving… it will make you ravenous!