Maki Fairbanks began her journey as a baker because of her love for her daughter, Elissa. When Elissa was young, Fairbanks worked as a freelance translator which brought her back to Japan for months at a time. During this time, Elissa would stay with her grandmother who spoiled her with mini custard buns.
“Every single day my mom bought a mini custard bun package while we stayed in Japan, which was like two months at a time, two or three times a year. It contained five small buns in a bag, and Elissa would finish them all in one day” Maki Fairbanks said.
While she is a very skilled cook, Fairbanks said she didn’t bake until the need arose. She didn’t buy her first baking book until she returned to the United States and wanted to bake Elissa’s favorite Japanese sweets.
The development of her baking skills was a tough road, Fairbanks said, but her dedication to learn the craft of baking meant she didn’t stop until she had perfected it.
“One good and bad thing about me is that I don't give up until I am satisfied with the result. Progress was very slow ... painfully slow. I did not suddenly become a good baker, and I don't know how many custard buns we had to eat before I got good enough” Maki Fairbanks said.
The dedication paid off. What started as a few photos on Facebook, led to more and more people asking her to bake something sweet for a special occasion. Fairbanks said the demand became too great to sustain in her kitchen. She had to choose between slowing down or going bigger.Fairbanks decided to go bigger and now has her own bakery, The Enchanted Oven, located at 520 Zang St. Ste. M.
Maki Fairbanks says she does all of the cake baking herself because she is the only one who can bake a cake that turns out the way she wants it to. The only person who can come close is her daughter, Elissa.
While Maki Fairbanks said her daughter was much more of a taster than a baker over the years, although she frequently helps out at the bakery.
Elissa Fairbanks said she can’t be there as much as she used to because she is working full time and going to school, but she still loves to help her mom when she can. She is more drawn to the artistic side of baking.
“Whenever there is a fun, creative and sometimes even complicated project, I love being there to problem solve and design the cake. If anything, I just love working with my mom” Elissa Fairbanks said.
The holiday season is their busiest time of the year, and Elissa Fairbanks said this time of year is bittersweet.
“I get to spend time with her a lot, but we are utterly exhausted by the end of it. But the struggles that we go through together during tough times like these are the moments that bring us even closer” Elissa Fairbanks said.
The Enchanted Oven bakes to order because it values the craftsmanship of baking. What started out as a treat filled with love for her daughter has now become sharing that love through each dessert.
“We don’t only sell baked goods, but we also sell my culture, experience and love,” Fairbanks said.