Like many others, clerk Tan Boon Joo, 44, found that the stay-home period gave her ample time to finally go into baking, something she had always wanted to do.
“What started as a hobby eventually led me to start a small home-baked goods business on the side.
“I have always dreamt of having a home-baking business but never found the time, especially when I have to juggle work and care for my two daughters, aged 11 and nine. My elder child has Down Syndrome.
“The MCO gave me the chance to finally explore my interest, while also giving me a chance to bond with my girls.
“Both my daughters enjoy baking as well and I will let them help with simple tasks like cracking the eggs and mixing the cake batter,” she said in an interview here.
Tan, who was left to fend for herself and her family after her husband passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2013, added that the small-scale business also helped to supplement her income.
She recalled that she first made a chiffon cake using her mother’s cake mould and microwave oven in March and was surprised by the delicious outcome.
She then decided to purchase an oven in April and experimented with other recipes with the help of the Internet.
“When I posted a photo of my orange chiffon cake on social media, my friend from church requested that I make one for her to try.
“Slowly, by word of mouth, I began receiving orders from other friends and people from my daughter’s school but I only bake in small batches on weekends and public holidays as I still have a day job to do,” she said.
She added that she only used natural ingredients and food colouring for her baked goods and that no preservatives, artificial colourings or flavourings were used.
Other than chiffon cakes, her other products are castella cake, chocolate muffins, banana cake and burnt cheesecake with prices ranging from RM18 to RM38.
Tan said she sometimes had to wake up at 4am to complete the orders in time, as it was a one-woman show where she bakes, packs and delivers the items on her own.
Despite this, she is still determined to do her best and set a good example for her young daughters.
“I remember my world fell apart when my husband died.
“But I told myself that I cannot keep wallowing in sadness because that will not change anything that has already happened and I must be strong by moving forward for my daughters.
“I am very thankful to my friends and relatives for their support and I hope that one day I can expand my business,” she said.