I gotta admit I’m not the type of girl who can cook a full 5 course meal at home, but I do however, enjoy baking a lot, and that’s probably because I have a sweet tooth. While I was on my last trip to Seoul, not only was I able to have the Hanbok experience (traditional Korean clothing), I was also able to join this amazing baking class held by I’m Green Guesthouse in Seongbuk-gu, which is only about half an hour away from Myeongdong.
So, I found this experience thru Airbnb. Despite the fact that I have been using them a lot for accommodations, it was the first Airbnb “experience” I’ve ever had. Airbnb launched this trips program at the end of last year, and it has been quite successful, with over 500 activities happening in 12 cities worldwide, and Seoul was one of them. I was really attracted by the photos promoting this baking class, and made a booking with them immediately.
The host/teacher is Yon Woo from I’m Green Guest House, she was very kind, and gave very clear direction on how to get to her place. I arrived at the guest house around 10:30am, and was greeted warmly by Yon Woo, her assistant Arailym, and her husband Kitae. I was really amazed and impressed when I walked into the guest house, it’s so neat and tidy, and very homey. The room where the activity took part was very spacious, and my eyes were attracted to all those different types of teas on the shelf. It was only after talking with them that I know Yon Woo teaches students how to make flower cupcakes, while her husband is a teacher of tea!
Anyways, the class started at 11am, and we started off by making the flowers. Each of the students get their own set of tools, and a clear recipe/instructions in English.
These lovely colourful flowers are made from sweet white bean paste, and the colours are all from natural ingredients, such as green tea powder, paprika etc. Yon Woo will guide you thru the whole process step by step, and it may seem a bit difficult at the beginning, but after the first few squeeze, it becomes much easier to control and make the desired shape. We started off by making a rose, then followed by a peony.
In-between the flower making, we were shown to the kitchen area, where we will start preparing the body of the cupcake. Unlike normal cupcake, the cupcakes here are made from rice flour! (Great of Gluten Free dieters!) We were very lucky that we get to have two fillings for the cupcakes – fresh pumpkin paste and homemade strawberry jam, I was told usually they only offer strawberry jam, as they don’t go off as easily. After making preparing the cupcake, we go back to the living room to finish our flowers.
It only took about 15-20 minutes for the cupcakes to steam, and once it’s ready, it’s time for us to assemble the flowers and the cake! For me, transferring the flowers from the flower stand to the cake was the most difficult part of the whole lesson. You got to make sure that you don’t damage the shape of the flower while you move it, but don’t worry, Yon Woo will be here to help you during the whole process, to ensure 100% success!
Just while you think the lesson is over after you have completed your cupcakes, they will start preparing the table, bring out their lovely homemade tea, and it’s time for a tea party! It’s a great way to chat, to a chance to ask questions. Yon Woo will answer you all your queries, from the names of the ingredients, to where to buy them etc. They even offered to go shopping with you for these ingredients if time allows! While I was chatting with Kitae, I found out that all these teas were made by him, and he also has his own class teaching how to turn fresh ingredients into dry tea. Next time when I’m in Seoul, it’s one lesson I wouldn’t want to miss.
After the class, if you have spare time, I would highly recommend you to take some time and walk around the neighbourhood, there are many small independent stores, galleries and cafes around. The Bungaksan Mountain and fortress is also nearby, and is a great hike for those who loves the outdoor.
Next time when you are in Seoul, don’t just spend all your time shopping, why not do something different.