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Baking Bonds: The Heartwarming Tale of Secretary Cream

From mysterious origins, Writer Megan finds great friends in Secretary Cream, a Telegram baking group.

Secretary Cream’s 5th workshop.

In the frenzied days of late August 2023, an unexpected notification lit up my phone screen. I got added to a group chat on Telegram called ‘Secretary Cream’.

My initial impulse was to leave, dismissing it as just another one of those scam syndicate chats. Yet, amidst the cacophony of messages and Telegram bubbles, a peculiar pattern emerged - a subtle thread weaving through the chaos, hinting at a shared interest in baking.

As I lingered, what eventually deterred me from leaving the chat was a message that popped up, inviting ‘creamies’ to attend a private baking class. For some reason, I was so convinced that they were trolling. Thus, I decided to stay for fun to see what else came after.

As the days melted into months and Secretary Cream held more workshops, there was more than meets the eye to this ‘Fun loving Specialised Baking Community 🤍’. This piqued my interest, and here I am, writing about Secretary Cream.

Origins of Secretary Cream

Secretary Cream is a baking community in SMU that was founded by Winson, a current Y2 BBM student, and his team, consisting of Y1 to Y3 students primarily from the School of Business.

“SC came about one year ago during finals season AHAHA. I was taking a break from studying, and as I was looking through YouTube food videos, I saw a compilation of Korean street food snacks. One of them was on Korean Cream Waffles and I thought, “Actually looks quite nice leh, how come Singapore don't have?” - Winson, President of Secretary Cream

Eager to bring this idea of theirs to reality, Winson and his friends planned to host a pop-up during the summer break. However, busy schedules that included orientation camps and work had put that to a temporary halt.

It wasn't until the eve of the first semester that the idea resurfaced in a conversation, as Secretary Cream was birthed as a lighthearted joke among friends. With the formation of a Telegram group chat, the seeds of Secretary Cream were sown. Like a wildfire, friends eagerly added more and more people to the burgeoning group chat.

Expressing a desire to turn the club into something tangible, Winson’s proactive co-facilitators from Koena (a clan from Bondue camp) banded together with plans to host baking classes - which came to fruition within a mere two weeks. Everyone was roaring with excitement and their efforts paid off as Secretary Cream was gaining traction steadily.

Rocky roads

In the deliciously chaotic world of Secretary Cream, sweet successes often come with the stickiest of challenges.

In terms of finances, Secretary Cream isn’t a registered club under SMU, which means they do not get any funding from the school. Operating in the realm of DIY and by sheer determination, every dollar counts. With a significant chunk of their funds devoured by studio rentals, the remaining crumbs are carefully allocated to ingredient costs, leaving their profit margins as thin as a sheet of parchment paper.

But the challenges don’t end there. Imagine lugging bags of flour and carefully transporting eggs to their studio at Bukit Timah for every single class. That’s due to the studio’s regulations. But here’s the kicker - none of them own a car. So it's back to the plain, old-fashioned way of trudging through the streets, ingredients in tow.

"So hosting a class is really a lot of work, and we do not earn much. So we are running this out of passion and fun."

It's a labour of love, a testament to their dedication to the craft. Every batch of cookies, every swirl of frosting, and even every burnt good tells a tale of passion, persistence, and a pinch of financial finesse.

Whisking up delight

Amidst the whirlwind of recipe testing, Winson - who has been baking since young - couldn’t help but crack up at the sight of his inexperienced friends grappling with the basics of baking. Conveniently, their hilarious mishaps became content for Secretary Cream’s TikTok. You can click here to see it all in action.

Besides uplifting the SMU community, Winson and his team recently held a much-needed EXCO gathering to celebrate their efforts thus far.

“Most of the work the EXCO does is behind the scenes and separate, so it was the first time that everyone gathered together. We had so much fun that day. That would be my most memorable moment.”

Secretary Cream is more than just a baking club – it’s an excellent way to meet new people and have a fun time with your friends. SMU students find themselves stirring up joy, bonding over flour-covered adventures, and even bringing home their freshly baked creations.

Personal growth

Reflecting on his journey thus far, we can glean an insight or two. While he humorously admits he ‘doesn’t study’, Winson emphasized the importance of allocating time properly and staying focused.

Juggling work, school, and Secretary Cream, Winson doesn’t mix them but rather tackles them one by one. Additionally, he plans the day ahead, such that he need not worry about dealing with unexpected or last-minute things. Finally, he stressed the ability to focus - using the Forest app to increase productivity and be more efficient with his time.

As for the impact that Secretary Cream had on the personal growth of its team, this is what he has to say:

“We have faced a lot of challenges along the way and SC has pushed us to be more entrepreneurial, to constantly think of new and creative ways to solve our problems. It has also made us think quickly on our feet when something goes wrong during class.”

The future is sweet

To those who might want to venture into creative entrepreneurship, Winson says go for it. Rallying a team might be easy, but it is important to find individuals who are motivated and willing to see it through.

With many in the works for Secretary Cream, such as a new TikTok series and expansion plans, I can’t wait to see what's in store.

So, calling all aspiring bakers and even novices, grab your aprons and join Secretary Cream for a taste of friendship, laughter, and a pinch of floury fun. After all, the secret ingredient to a sweeter life is best shared with friends.


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