FOR avid bakers in oven-less flats, Linda Drachman's book 365 Ways To Wok is a glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, with Ms Drachman's expertise, I tried to convince myself, she could transform my trusty wok into an oven. With the newly purchased cookbook, I sailed home, dreaming about a double chocolate layer cake. When cake, pies and yeast breads can be successfully baked in a wok will be tantamount to heaven's arrival in more than one Hongkong flat. Bakers in range-less predicaments have tried. One cookie fiend's attempt at wok-style Christmas cookies ended with a pool of runny batter flavoured with garlic and onion. Another frustrated pastry addict sacrificed a micro-wave cake mix to the cast iron god. This fruitless exercise cost him several pairs of burned chopsticks. When the wok toppled over, his make-shift steaming platform catapulted into a flaming gas ring. Though Western cooks can easily brown ground sirloin for Tex-Mex chilli, toast walnuts for quick breads and transform woks into a bain-maries for zabaglione or genoise layers, China's all-purpose utensil is a misfit in the bakery. Caterer Lucy Humbert uses the wok for Chinese at home, but never for business. ''When I do boardroom lunches, there's not enough space.'' Karin Joffe, chef-general manager of California restaurant, uses her wok for popcorn. Restaurant consultant Richard Feldman transforms his into a griddle for cooking Indian-style breads and toasting tortillas. For one sailor, Sunday breakfast means pancakes, slightly burned, from the boat's gimbaled wok. Before TV news reporter Libby-Jane Charleston invested in a counter-top oven, she was successful in her wok-versions of African chicken with peanut butter and spaghetti carbonara in her wok. But chocolate cheesecake and layer cakes, the desserts she loved to make in Australia, became memories when she moved into her Hongkong flat. ''Seeing the pictures of cakes on cake mix boxes in the supermarket made me hungry,'' said Charleston. Her recent purchase has widened the scope of her menus. Now, there are roasts for dinner and luscious sweets for dessert. ''But I still use my wok for stir-fry and re-heating leftovers.'' Annie Wong has heard the tales of expatriate cooks, their attempts at cross-cultural cooking in the wok. The senior home economist with Towngas Cooking Centre in Causeway Bay is all for expanding the wok's role. But there's a limit. ''Changing cuisines by varying the spices, herbs and vinegars doesn't harm a seasoned wok, especially one of high quality steel,'' explained Ms Wong. ''Just make sure you keep it clean and lightly oiled. ''Woks are good for steaming cakes or smoking foods. But they're not intended for baking in terms of cakes or cookies. ''Baking requires a tight seal, a small compartment, like a conventional oven, that maintains a constant temperature and provides dry heat.'' Ms Wong is right. And so is author Drachman, who promises and delivers tested recipes for poached fruits, fried pastries like jelly donuts and stewed desserts. Just reading the ingredients for her cocoa fudge pudding cake and steamed carrot cake makes a sweet tooth ravenous. But for the legions of Hongkong's oven-less bakers, there's a snag: who owns an electric mixer, let alone ingredients, like baking powder?