When boredom strikes, I find an effort to beat it by checking out lists of new and interesting things to do. Last week, I decided to finally take up a baking class, which has been on my “to-try list” for some time. And suddenly, in absolute perfect timing, I was invited to try out the six-hour macaron making class at Nikko’s Baking Studio (9AM-3PM).

Bossman Spanky called it “The Bloggers’ Bake-off,” and the challenge was to make Lemon French Macarons. OMG! I love French macarons and so I was happy and excited to learn the recipe and techniques in a hands-on environment led by Chef Nikko Buendia herself. 🙂

Chef Nikko, me, and the finished products 

Nikko’s Baking Studio is a culinary school, café, and bakery packed into one. Whether you’re looking for a quaint bake shop where you can grab delicious treats for your upcoming corporate event, baby shower, or wedding, or attend baking classes to learn how to make those treats, this lifestyle baking studio along Paseo de Roxas in Urdaneta Village, Makati City (across Mandarin Oriental, One Roxas Triangle, near cor. Buendia) can meet your needs.

Review of Nikko’s Baking Studio’s Macaron Making Class (Paseo de Roxas, Makati City)

The Place

Before the class started last Saturday, Chef Nikko told a rich story of how she started with baking. She showed us around and walked us through a typical day in her thriving business.

From the quick tour, I observed that the café area of Nikko’s Baking Studio resembles what you would expect from a tasteful bakeshop. With goodies displayed at the coffee bar, artsy paintings on the wall, and wooden furniture both placed inside and outside at the patio, this place has a cozy vibe and the most fitted environment to have a good time.

Separated from the café only by a wall, the baking studio on the other side contains the four stations equipped with baking machines, racks, utensils, books, and other baking materials. It’s a conducive space for interacting with classmates in a professional teaching kitchen. Participants of up to eight (8) in one session can work side by side with one another, with two people paired in one station.

The Food

Nikko’s Baking Studio encompasses snacks and desserts such as cakes, tortes, pies, and cookies. Among all the delicious treats it offers, the Kahlua Mocha Cake or the “Pope’s Cake” must be the most popular now, as it was one of the four cakes that flew with Pope Francis when he left Manila last January 2015. Since then, Nikko’s Baking Studio has been receiving numerous orders of the same cake with slightly different decorations.

We were lucky to have the chance to taste this famous cake! 🙂 Oozing with decadence of Kahlua (a coffee-flavored rum-based liqueur), the Kahlua Mocha Cake was indeed calories worthy, with layers of moist and fluffy chiffon and sweet filling on the inside. It had just the right level of sweetness to please our palate without any satiation.

sample: decorated Kahlua Mocha Cake for a customer

Another indulging treat we tried was this plain-looking Pineapple Streusel Pie, which surely deserves a lot more recognition. Eating a slice truly made all the difference from just looking at it. The pie had a medley of textures including real pineapple chunks with each delightful bite. Yummy!

Next, we also tasted the four flavors of French macarons offered: vanilla, lemon, peanut butter, and pistachio. Maracons have a reputation of being beautiful and delectable, and these small cookies are also known for being incredibly temperamental and finicky to make.

The point of this exercise was not only to fill our stomachs and get energized before the class, but it was also to create reference points or benchmarks so we would know what the acceptable quality criteria are for macarons. 🙂 Nikko’s Baking Studio’s macarons were visually impressive and very good with light and chewy texture.

The Class: ★★★★★

Adorned in uniform aprons, we gathered around the counter in the middle of the room and read the baking instructions. In order to get a headstart, one of the chefs in the baking studio had managed to measure out the pre-prepared ingredients according to weight. If only all ingredients would be conveniently placed like that magically and with precision at home, I suppose that setup would be any baker’s heaven. 😉

Chef Nikko first performed all the steps and explained the procedures in detail, while we watch her do it then replicate later. She assured us that macarons are easy and simple to do. Everything indeed looked so manageable, from folding of ingredients to make the plain almond meringue shell, piping the mixtures onto the trays, drying them, and baking the macaron shell in the oven, to mixing the ingredients to make the lemon curd, piping a mound of curd onto each shell, and covering each filled shell with another shell.

When it was time for us to make the precious dainties, Marge, my partner, and I carefully followed the instructions on the handout and recalled how Chef Nikko did the steps. When unsure, it was best to ask for guidance. The chef helped us in a friendly manner and without hesitation.

Thanks to her patience and our team effort, we succeeded. Even if some macarons did not come out as perfectly shaped (some cracked, some a little burned, and some discolored), they were still delicious. Every piece exuded a very perky little personality on its own. The most gratifying part was seeing the shells rise in the oven and develop feet. 🙂

Here are some tips that Chef Nikko gave the class to make a perfect macaron:

  • Weigh all ingredients using a digital scale to ensure consistent results.
  • Sift the ingredients multiple times if necessary. Dry ingredients should have a powdery texture with no lumps.
  • Print a template with drawings of circles spaced at least a half inch apart to keep the macarons in consistent size and shape. Place this printed sheet under the parchment paper before piping the macaron mixture.
  • After piping, bang the baking sheet firmly on the counter to release any trapped air.
  • Dry the piped macarons for 30 minutes before baking. The drying process is complete when the macarons no longer stick to your finger when touched. The macaron surface should appear with a matte finish.
  • When baking, make sure to know your oven and check the best duration to bake and not only depend on what the recipe states.

Wrap Up

Attending Chef Nikko’s baking class made me realize that having the first-hand experience is really far from just watching like an audience of a show. Aside from learning how to make the lemon French macarons, I also appreciated the company we shared. The baking studio burst with life and laughter, with funny jokes and comments by the chefs and my classmates (Irene Co of Indulgence by Irene, Camille and Faye of The Soshal Network, and Marge of Coffeehan). There wasn’t a dull moment with these guys!

I look forward to learning and trying other recipes, take the time to make things the homemade way, and in the process have fun doing it. I hope this post encourages you to give macarons a shot, whether you’re a complete beginner like me or a frustrated baker. 😛

Schedules of Nikko’s Baking Studio’s baking classes are announced monthly on their Facebook page, so please check back regularly. The following is the list of schedules for this month of Feb 2015. I think both kids and adults can join. Contact Nikko’s Baking Studio to book your spot.

59-A Paseo de Roxas, Urdaneta Village, Makati City
For inquiries/orders, contact 887-1711
Date Published: 02/09/2015
5 / 5 stars

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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114 Responses

  1. mr_jeng

    waaaaaaa!!! I want to taste !!!! i loveeee em so much that when I went to SG i looked for some… Just because!!! LOL! Seriously though, Chef Nikko is an awesome baker. She knows her stuff and I liked the cookies and brownies that i got to try from her!!! ^_^ BUT grabe 6 hours!!!!! OMGOMG. tagal!!!!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Taste my work? :> Haha I really got inspired to start baking through this opportunity but then on the second thought, buying is much easier and faster so I decided to just continue supporting and enjoying the creation of others like Chef Nikko’s. :))

      Reply
  2. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    That sounds like it was such a fun class. I have gone to a few cooking/baking classes and I loved the ones I did.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It really is! Although baking needs patience, the time and effort were all paid off when I got to taste the output thanks to Chef Nikko’s recipe and baking techniques. 😀

      Reply
  3. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    The cakes in this place look amazing, the decoration is just beautiful! I would love to know how to make macarons, I always think they’re such pretty little desserts. The pastel colours they can be made with are so gorgeous. Looks like you had a fun time!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup! Everything in this place is just so amazing. With its great set of desserts, Chef Nikko is also generous and admirable for sharing some of her recipes and baking tips to her students. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Nikko’s Baking Studio is really one of the most special and memorable places I’ve been to. Not only because Chef Nikko offers great desserts but also since I was able to try making them myself and appreciate them more. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Nancy

    You are so on the ball. I love it. A friend of mine made macarons for us all on the weekend. I don’t really like them, but hers… I ate six. Omg I felt like a piggy but I couldn’t stop lol 🙁 I guess they were really fresh or something?!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I’ve always liked macarons but this time, I honor it! Haha They really taste great especially Chef Nikko’s because yes, the ingredients like the lemon used for the filling are fresh. And I appreciated them more since I already know how they are made which is quite hard and requires time and effort.

      Reply
  5. CourtneyLynne

    Omg I absolutely love Macarons so this would be the best class to take ever!!!! Omg all the desserts look absolutely delicious

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You should try taking her classes then! Although I’m not really good at baking and cooking, Chef Nikko made them look easy and enjoyable to inspire me to start trying at home. 😛

      Reply
  6. Digna D.

    Very tasty looking cakes and cookies. Those cakes REALLY looked great. Would love to sample them. Yummmmmmm Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      They look and taste delicious! 😛 I guarantee that once you try making them, you’ll certainly start loving them because your hard work is paid off with its taste. Try attending Chef Nikko’s class to know her secret recipe and baking techniques. 😀

      Reply
  7. Jacqueline

    That looks like the best cooking class ever! I loved your photos! You can really get the vibe of the place. I’ve never made macarons before, but man, I LOVE to eat them!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Me too! My role is usually the eater and reviewer but to actually become the baker/chef, the feeling is enormous because I wouldn’t want to waste the ingredients with my poor skills but it was really a lot of fun!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      That’s nice! Hope you could try attending Chef Nikko’s class as well where you may get to experience baking/cooking first from a top and recognized chef in the country.

      Reply
  8. tammileetips

    That looks like such a fun baking class, and that is such a cute set up!!! I love trying new things and that is one dessert I have not made before! Yours turned out great!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Actually, if Chef Nikko wasn’t there and I was alone baking the macarons, I’m sure the macarons wouldn’t even be completed because I would have given up. Haha I’m not really a baker but I admit baking is lots of fun (with some support and guidance). 😀

      Reply
  9. John Lopez

    That was a fun experienced! That’s great that baking studio had a class every month, that would be really helps to some students. This is my first time to seen a baking studio that had a class. I really appreciated your review that was great.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thank you! Yup, it’s nice to see that there are some top chefs like Chef Nikko who are open in sharing their recipes and baking techniques to students. This allows others to be inspired in making their own signatures in the future and follow the footsteps and success of Chef Nikko.

      Reply
  10. Marjorie

    This, without a doubt is one of the best events that I’ve ever attended in my years of blogging. Everything about this experience, I loved, including working with you in the baking process. Chef Nikko is the best. We’re so lucky to have been given a chance to do this. And the macarons the made, awesome! My officemates thought so too, as allowed them to have a taste of what we’ve work hard for.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I agree! The whole experience is really special because it was a first and also since I was able to do it together with you and Chef Nikko. My family loved the macarons too and couldn’t even believe at first that I made them because of my known poor skills until they saw the other flavors that Chef Nikko made with a nicer and neater presentation. Haha! This was truly a memorable experience that I would recommend to anyone, may they be bakers or not. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Erin

    Oh my goodness, they look absolutely beautiful! You’re welcome to continue practicing and sending them to me to taste test 😉

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      What’s your address then? Haha kidding aside, Chef Nikko really inspired me to start baking at home if I have some free time and get to have the ingredients needed. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes it is! Anyone to visit this place will surely give them a two-thumbs up. You’re not only welcome to enjoy their food but also learn from the experts through the classes.

      Reply
  12. Elizabeth O.

    I’ve been trying to bake these days. Hope there’s a class like that near me.

    Reply
  13. R U S S

    This is sooo nice! I’ll take inspiration from this and try to take classes when I have extra time on my hands. I must say, I am impressed with the baking studio and it reminds me of the original version of Kim Sam Soon 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup! Hope you could attend Chef Nikko’s classes soon! I’m sure you’ll learn a lot and be motivated to try it at home yourself like I did although I’m still finding time to do so. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Lauren

    These food items look absolutely amazing, and I really want to just eat them off the screen haha! I love going to cooking classes, and this one just seems so fun! Thanks for the really fun review (and the yummy looking food pictures).

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow, then I shall bow down to you. Hope I could try your desserts someday! Haha I only usually stared at macarons because of their cute colors but to actually know how to make them and taste my own work is truly an amazing experience. 😀

      Reply
  15. Lisa Bristol

    This looks like a great place to spend the day. I would love it if we had a location close to me.

    Reply
  16. mindy

    Wowww, sounds like such a fun class! I’m horrible at cooking, but i made some attempts at baking (like… three times in my entire life *LOL*) and it’s much more preferable for me than cooking so this is the kind of class that i would definitely love to join! Btw the kahlua mocha cake sounds divine!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Me too! I never liked baking or cooking because I just can’t have the right skills to do so even if I tried. But I realized through this experience that baking is a lot of fun and even thought of trying it myself at home (but of course, with the supervision and support from my mom or sister haha). If only I have free time and get to have the ingredients needed then I would definitely try it. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Making macarons requires effort and patience because it’s really quite exhausting or maybe because it was my first time to do it. But the output pays all the hard work off anyway so I’d like to try making them myself soon too.

      Reply
  17. Lynndee

    Those macarons! I would love to learn how to bake ’em too. And what exactly is a crack pie? First time to hear it. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Chrystal @ YUM eating

    I would love to take a baking class. I think the baking gene skipped right over me. I can cook a good meal but when it comes to baking, there is always something not quite right about it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It was really an exciting experience! I only stared at macarons before outside the cafes, but now, I can proudly say that I was also a maker of macarons once. 😀

      Reply
  19. Natalie

    Man do I need some baking classes, I’m pretty crappy baker! I still have never had a macaron yet, they look really good. I keep finding fun recipes for them on pinterest, just have yet to do it. I hope to find something like this after I move back home, so I can make more cakes and such.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Even with that, I believe you’re a much better baker than me because I wouldn’t even have the initiate to bake by myself before. But anyone can now be a baker by learning from Chef Nikko like I did. Hope you find a class like this near you. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      They’re amazing at the ultimate level that I would still even drool while eating them. Haha It’s actually quite easy to make and only needs basic skills like I have but to prepare and to have patience are the challenging parts I faced.

      Reply
  20. Michelle Hwee

    Wow your macaroons look amazing!! I love the yellow color of them, they’re vibrant and fun! The class looks fantastic, I will have to find something near me. All I have taken is cake decor classes. This looks like so much fun to do and learn!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Michelle! I still have a long way to go to be a good baker of macarons myself but this is definitely a start. Hope you find a good baking class like Chef Nikko’s Baking Studio! 🙂

      Reply
  21. Stephanie C.

    I love this post! I’ve always wondered how to make macarons. What a great opportunity to go and take a class on it. I wish this was near my home! I’d love to do something like this.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Most baking classes usually teach you how to make cakes and pies but this is one of a kind that I know of since they also teach how to make macarons which are often only bought. Now, through Chef Nikko’s classes, making macarons becomes an activity that can be done at anyone’s home. 🙂

      Reply
  22. Yona Williams

    I have never thought to attend some sort of class to make sweets, but this looks extremely fun. Those macarons look so brightly colored and tasty. OMGoodness, I would be in complete heaven if I had a slice of that Kahlua Mocha Cake. Ahhh – the Pineapple Streusel Pie looks delicious too!

    Reply
  23. lauriel

    I love to bake and have taken a few baking classes (including an Italian method macaron class) – and as such, I can say that this is a gorgeous baking class setup! The ones I’ve seen are more sterile and industrial-looking, like a restaurant kitchen. The wood decor and decorations make this studio so warm and cosy!

    And the macarons! I think they formed lovely feet (and great piping job), great results for your first time! Good luck recreating them again at home, and thanks for sharing about this awesome-founding baking class!

    xo,
    lauriel

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Lauriel! The comfortable and cozy setup really made us amateurs feel more like home and less scared in trying out something we’ve never done before. Thanks to Chef Nikko, the perception that making macarons is hard and hopeless was erased as it became a fun activity that can be accomplished by anyone and even at home. 🙂

      Reply
  24. MJ

    i love macaroons. I’ve made them and the tips the chef have you are spot on. They are simple yet hard to pull off with so many little factors to consider. My favorite flavor is pistachio. Oh so good.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Sure! I actually only have the guts to make you my guest taster because I know I’m guided by Chef Nikko. I bet it would be a total disaster without her by my side. Haha Hope you could attend one of her classes! 🙂

      Reply
  25. Amanda @ Adorkablii

    Okay, I need to go to this place! The Birthday cake made me want some some good cake and then the Pineapple Streusel… I can’t say I would like that but i’d be will to try however, the crust… reminds me of an egg roll. Hahah I have been craving chinese for some time now! =P

    This looks like it was so much fun and such a great experience! I would totally want to hang there for a day, or day, or more!! haha

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha their cakes and pies are undeniably great not only with their presentation but also for their taste. These are only some of Chef Nikko’s creations so it’s exciting to know and learn more from her through her classes. Hope you could really visit here someday! 😀

      Reply
  26. Hollie

    Your macaroons look amazing. My daughter and I love to take cooking and baking classes but so far we have not tempted to mae macaroons. I am thinking we need to make the effort.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, time and effort are needed but the output of your hard work will be worthy anyway. Hope you try making one and have a fun bonding time together with your daughter. 😀

      Reply
  27. Sara-Jane

    I have always, always wanted to try a class like this! I have a friend in Californaia who makes amazing ones, I would love to be able too. I love the yellow ones you made!

    Reply
  28. Angelo The Explorer

    They look delicious! Macaroons are one of the hardest to make but you did really really well for a starter. I am going to check this place out. I like the cake as well. Yum!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thank you! I’m also proud of myself for being able to make macarons which are only usually bought outside. So to actually know and have the experience to bake them are surreal. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Aisha! Making macarons is super fun and I’m even now thinking of trying to change the flavor (lemon) to a different one at home since I guess the procedure would still be the same. 🙂 Hope you try attending her classes too! 🙂

      Reply
  29. Alissa

    Macaroons are my fave! You’re so lucky you get to learn how to make them. Ive always wanted to bake but never had the opportunity to

    Reply
  30. kevin franciz

    Interesting Course, i didnt know that macaroons were easy to made. maybe ill try this summer 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      They’re actually not simple to make because of the ingredients to be prepared and time to consume. But in any way, making them is really fun and enjoyable that would make you feel proud of yourself. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Baking/cooking classes are really quite expensive but the knowledge and skills that you may acquire make them worthy to take. She may try baking at home first with the recipes online but if she wants to bring her baking journey to the next level, then taking Chef Nikko’s class would certainly help. 🙂

      Reply
  31. Pal Raine

    I am a frustrated baker. I remember, when I am still in grade school, my Aunt used to baked us cake and we gathered around her table to watch her baking. But something happened during her baking, there is a gas leak and we need to hurry outside the house. A trauma I guess, that is why I have this apprehension in baking.

    I envy your achievement. Congrats dear!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh hope you’d overcome that trauma someday too. I was also not really motivated in baking/cooking because I don’t have the skills and time but I learned that it was a lot of fun so I guess this won’t be the last time I’d try doing it. Thanks! 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I’m still taking baby steps in baking/cooking and I’m not sure if I can continue because of my hectic schedule. But if I have the time and ingredients then I would love to try again. 😀

      Reply
  32. Jhanz

    Looks like you had a great time! 🙂 How I wish I knew about this. Learning how to cook a macaron would be awesome! 😀

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup! Most people would think that macarons can only be made by top chefs but through the classes of Chef Nikko, anyone can now learn and make their own like a pro. 😀

      Reply
  33. Gil Camporazo

    I don’t if I’m rught of my observation that wwhat the cook or baker bakes is reflecting his personality. In like manner on what he eats too.. What do you think?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I guess it’s true in some or most cases because a chef/baker wouldn’t want to make and offer something they themselves do not like. And with their specialties and presentation of food, these allow the customers to recognize each of the chef/baker’s own character and skills, if one is simple, sophisticated or a combination of both. 🙂

      Reply
  34. Teresa Martinez

    This looks like a good place to learn baking. The finished products you featured here really looks delicious and can inspire anyone to try their hand on baking such goodies.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup! Even amateurs like me can achieve a beautiful and delicious macarons with the help of Chef Nikko so anyone is definitely welcome to attend her classes and learn. 😀

      Reply
  35. Ron Leyba

    The place looks really awesome! And oh, about your baking experience, for sure it was a fun filled one! For sure many will try to attend their baking class after reading your blog post.

    Reply
  36. Jhoveleen

    You truly had a wonderful experience. You seemed you enjoyed it. Nowadays, without going to formal cooking class, with the help of recipe books, online recipes, techniques, etc., we would be able to learn to cook/bake, and thanks for all these help because I learned to maneuver our kitchen for free.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, we are so fortunate to have online references these days. Thanks to free materials, we can learn more about baking techniques and recipes at the comfort of our own homes. 🙂 When you know the basics, I think you’ll do pretty well with a lot more.

      Reply

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