Young & Hungry video: Young baker Amelia Ferrier transforms cakes into works of art
Cakes are a blank canvas for a talented baker and author of Melie’s Kitchen.
Video Milla Novak Words: Emma Rawson
When 18-year-old Amelia Ferrier returns home to Auckland to visit her family for the school holidays, she goes to town in the kitchen. It’s not easy for the food science student to make the delicious and the elaborately decorated cakes she’s known for in her current digs at the University of Otago Halls of Residence. The tiny oven in her student accommodation makes baking a slow affair; then there are the onlookers that gather to watch her create her masterpieces, mesmerised by every dollop of meringue, drip of chocolate, and shard of toffee. Online viewers are equally transfixed by her creations; she has 14,000 Instagram followers.
Amelie (or ‘Melie’ for short) makes baking effortlessly beautiful. But that’s not to say that her skills haven’t come with a lot of effort. At age 14 the former Diocesan School student founded her cake-making business in the weekends selling cakes for birthday parties, weddings and special occasions. At 15 she interned with Simon Gault at Euro restaurant and at 16 she wrote her cookbook, Melie’s Kitchen. The step-by-step guide to elaborate baking creations is published by Penguin Random House. All this in-between her school commitments and studying for exams.
“There were many late nights writing the recipes for the cookbook, but I couldn’t think of anything better to do,” says Amelia.
“I’ve always been an active person, even though I hate exercise. I don’t like sitting down and doing nothing or watching TV; I love being busy. I never really felt like I was missing out on any teenage stuff when I was busy baking or with the book.
“I’ve got some really close friends, and they’d all line up along the bench and watch me bake every Saturday and Sunday, and we’d just chat away while I was baking.”
Amelia began cooking when she was eight, when her mum bought her a children’s cookbook. Now she is studying a BSc in food science she’s enjoying learning about the chemistry behind her creations.
“Now I understand what happens when you add an egg to baking and why my custards have curdled in the past,” she laughs.
Her studying commitments mean she has scaled back her baking business, but creating cakes is a form of stress release when she gets bogged down with her laboratory work and chemistry assignments. “If I’m really stressed I’ll go to the supermarket and get the ingredients to make something really elaborate.”
As a little girl Amelia dreamed of opening patisserie shop, but now she’s older she hopes that she might one day sell a range of baked goodies into stores. Writing the cookbook has given her a taste for food writing, and she’d also like to write recipes for magazines one day.
Will hopefully have the recipe for this posted up on my blog along with a few other recent things I’ve made in the next few days!! All the topping on the cake are fully optional but I reccomend giving the recipe a go, such a delish combination of flavours – definitely one of my favourites I’ve made ????
“When working on the book, I fell in love with the styling and food writing. I like the combination of the practical cooking work and the creative aspect of making it look pretty – even though it sometimes took about 15 minutes just to cut one slice of cake for the photos.”
Visit Melie’s website melieskitchen.squarespace.com
Melie’s Kitchen, RRP $40, buy here