A lovely scent wafts into the kitchen as the oven door opens and trays of brown mooncakes, perfectly formed, emerge.

The flavours are unique and delicate: White Lotus Melon Seeds, Lychee Raspberry,  Yuzu with Melon Seeds and Pandan with Melon Seeds.

Chye Hui Fun, 45, trainer at Metta Cafe, was responsible for coming up with some of the creative mooncakes flavours. “I’ve always loved experimenting with new flavours. Yuzu gives off a refreshing taste while pandan is a local favourite and that’s how we decided to present our new flavours.”

This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival offerings produced to raise funds for Enabling Village are the handiwork of bakers with disabilities from Metta Cafe and MINDS.

First-time bakers

Cher Wei Jie, 28, and fellow baker Shirley Heng, 32, are both from Metta Cafe are making mooncakes for the first time.

Shirley Heng from Metta Cafe posing with a plate of pastries to be baked in the kitchen

Shirley Heng from Metta Cafe enjoyed the challenge of learning how to make mooncakes.

Shirley shared, “I used to make Chinese pastries filled with bean paste and this got me curious to find out how mooncakes are prepared. I was excited to learn about the process of mooncake-baking from Chef Hui Fun.”

Wei Jie, an apprentice at Metta Cafe, welcomed the challenge to pick up a new skill.

“This will help me to expand on my baking creations. I was involved in measuring of the ingredients such as the paste filling and the dough because I am good with this process. Being a visual learner, I am able to follow the instructions thoroughly” beamed Wei Jie.

Cher Wei Jie weighing the exact portions for the mooncake.

Cher Wei Jie found he excelled in the meticulous work of measuring out exact portions for the mooncake.

Esmond Lou and Norizam bin Noordin, both 24 and from MINDS, were also novices when it came to making mooncakes. They have intellectual disability but that did not stop them from turning out mouth-watering pastries under the guidance of their trainers.

“They created the flavours and provided instructions so that we could follow and learn how to make the mooncakes,” said Esmond.

Baker Norizam bin Noordin preparing pastries to be baked

First-time mooncake baker Norizam bin Noordin was previously an expert at baking cookies

Added Norizam: “We have never made mooncakes before. We learnt how to bake them from our trainers.”

One of the challenges for Norizam in making the mooncakes was managing the dough that had a tendency to be sticky and thus difficult to handle.

“Pressing the dough was hard for me. It was difficult to find the centre of the mould that I needed to put the dough in,” said Norizam.

Wei Jie had a different challenge. “I find it very difficult to wrap the mooncake skin with its filling as this process is usually guided by experience. I am still a junior apprentice who needs to acquire more skills before I can progress to the next step.”

Once they had mastered the art of mooncake-making, they all found satisfaction in what they did.

Esmond exclaimed “I like pressing the dough into circles. It is fun.”

Shirley also found joy packing the beautifully baked pieces into the boxes. “I need to handle it carefully to prevent the mooncake from having distorted sides. The most fun part was the process of rolling and shaping the mooncakes. I feel happy when I see mooncakes made by Metta Cafe for sale.”


Esmond posing with weighing scale for baking

Once he got used to making the mooncakes, Esmond Lou found a sense of pride and had fun making the mooncakes.

For Norizam, the other steps were what she liked best: “I like covering the ball of filling with dough. I also like to place the mooncakes in the oven and taking them out.”

Asked which flavour of their creations they enjoyed best, Norizam quipped: “White lotus with melon seeds.”

Shirley agreed that the White Lotus mooncake is a must-try. “It is a yearly affair for our family to enjoy this mooncake as the White Lotus mooncake was my grandma’s favourite and was among the items offered to her during her death anniversary for prayers and blessings.”

Added Wei Jie: “I prefer the classic baked White Lotus mooncake because they are not overly sweet but fragrant.”

The art of inclusivity

The 3-tier tiffin carrier gift sets are available in four different designs

The 3-tier tiffin carrier gift sets are available in four different designs

The mooncakes are packed by persons with disabilities from Arts@Metta into two different gift sets from i’mable Collective. One is a three-tier tiffin carrier which comes with a matching neoprene bag.

Available in four patterns, the designs are adapted from Breathing Batik, a part of Singapore design-led lifestyle store Supermama’s recent lacquerware collection. The Breathing Batik designs were adapted from original art pieces by artists from Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore, ARTDIS, Metta Welfare Association 慈光福利协会 and The Art Faculty.

It was noteworthy that the Breathing Batik collection was featured at the prestigious Milan Design Week 2022.

The tiffin carriers are made from 304 stainless steel with double-walled insulation, making them perfect for reuse to keep food warm.

The limited edition gift set includes a set of custom painted teapot and tea cups

The limited edition gift set includes a set of custom painted teapot and tea cups

In the other gift set, the mooncakes are paired with Yixing teapot set painted by artists from Arts@Metta. Using food-safe ink, each painting is a unique expression of the artist’s inspiration and talent. So, no two sets is the same.

Said Stephanie Goh, Assistant Manager at Arts@Metta: “Our artists were given the freedom to paint however they wanted to.

“Some of who may have poorer motor skills and are used to painting on the fabric or papers, find it challenging to paint on the curves of the teapot sets.

“At the end, they were very glad about the outcome of their products and hope that those who buy the sets will enjoy their art while sipping tea.”

All profits from the sales of the mooncake gift sets will support SG Enable to catalyse new programmes at Enabling Village.

Support disability inclusion this Mid-Autumn Festival and place your order at http://www.sgenable.sg/ev-mooncakes-2022 or contact imablecollective@sgenable.sg to find out more.