He's just 22 and has no formal training, but Niuafe Junior Malupo has people lining up for his intricate cakes months in advance.

Those who grew up with the Aucklander were his testers throughout his Lynfield College school years as he worked to perfect what would turn into the start of a career.

He now has his own business, Niu Cakery in New Lynn, and photos of his colourful creations posted on Instagram, where he has 14,000 followers, get thousands of "likes".

In May, he was already booked solid for June and July.


Inspired by Australian cake queen Katherine Sabbath, Mr Malupo's designs include rainbow-coloured icing or real flowers, macarons, Ferrero Rocher and fruit on top.

Single-tier cakes start at $100 while three-tier creations can cost up to $465.

Mr Malupo has been baking as long as he can remember; often helping mum Olga as a boy. "I used to always watch her because she was always in the kitchen baking."

One day, he posted a photo of his latest creation on Facebook. He kept up the habit. "People started to message me ... asking if I could do some cakes."

After finishing high school and dropping out of a business management course he decided was not for him, he started working at Hallensteins in 2014. "My mind was just all over the place ... I've always known that cooking and baking was my passion. But I didn't think I could pursue that as a career.

"I didn't think that was good enough to help my mum out - my mum's a solo mum. That's all I kept thinking about: 'How am I going to help mum'?"

Early last year, he gave up the retail job and decided to bake as he worked out his next move.

"One day I went through Instagram and I saw another cake-maker from New Zealand. I saw their cakes and I was like: 'What the hell? I can do that'."

He researched what was on trend overseas and started practising different techniques - including elaborate chocolate lace, chocolate sails and macarons.

His store, which opened last year, is connected to Miss Bon Bon - a cake-decorating shop.

He has regular customers and makes cakes for birthdays, weddings and special functions. Through constant all-nighters, the highlight was seeing people's reactions when they picked up a cake. "It makes everything worth it."

• To see more of Niuafe Malupo's creations, visit niucakery.com