Ambling around Hong Kong, it often seems as if there is a bakery on every corner, and while this might hit the spot for a moon cake or egg tart fix, it's difficult to know where to go if you're in need of something special or someone to save you from a dessert disaster. Institutions of patisserie such as the Mandarin Oriental Cake Shop and Mrs B's Cakery are well known, but dig your spoon a little deeper and you'll find a coterie of cakemakers busy in their kitchens across the city creating masterpieces for everything from children's birthday parties and company launches to christenings and retirement celebrations. Foodie put some of these small businesses to the test and they came out with flying colours - crafting elaborate cakes, cookies, macaroons, and much, much, more - these are the bakers to call for your sweet tooth needs.
There's no doubt - Anouska is an artist - in fact so much so her creations have featured at Art Basel. Give her a theme, give her an invite, hell give her some vague ramblings about the kind of cake you'd like and she will design and conjure up little piece of edible art. And then she will suggest and create other sweet treats to match your theme, making it seem like you have thought through every last detail (when really she has). Spotting a gap in the market for designer cakes at reasonable prices, The Rose Petal Cakery launched in 2012. Their aim is to create "beautiful cakes that taste as good as your mum would have made."
The Challenge: First Birthday Party - Anouska was given a nautical theme and an invite and was asked to create something for the all-important first birthday. She crafted a beautiful three-tiered marine-inspired cake complete with waves, whale, anchor and a named boat. She even managed to sneak the number one on a sail and delivered beautiful biscuits decorated to match. The only downside? It was way too beautiful to pass off as our own!
It's such a pleasure dealing with Jenny, who makes you feel as if no question is too silly and no request too demanding. Her cakes are lovely and her customer service is exceptional, making you feel as though you are ordering from an old friend. In fact, when you hear why she set up her business, it will make you wish you were friends.
"It all started when I decided to bake a cake for my dear friend to make it a special birthday for her. I got frustrated that I wasn't able to make it as beautiful as the cakes you see in stores," she says. "I decided to not only learn how to provide beautiful cakes to my friends and family but also master the craft so I could share my ideas and passion with the public." And just like that - she did.
The Challenge: Naughty & Nice Cupcakes
Jenny was asked to make a batch of healthy cupcakes - banana and coconut - and a batch of more indulgent - chocolate ones, that could be served at a Little Mermaid party. The 'naughty' cakes came topped with delicious chocolate buttercream and the most perfectly crafted fondant sea creatures including darling little pufferfish, starfish, shells and pearls. They were a joy to look at - and eat. The healthy cakes proved just as popular, which is no mean feat when there is a chocolate rival involved.
Launched by three very talented bakers - Paridhi, Jessica, and Grace Wong - who between them have decades of experience, this firm is a favourite with Hong Kong mums. From weddings to kids' birthdays, it seems like these ladies have made every kind of cake in every kind of theme. Little darling obsessed with minecraft or Frozen? No problem. Need a rainbow cake? Want umbre frosting? Feel like a cake in the shape of a globe? They can do it. These guys are just at home making something elegant and stylish as they are doing the fun and adventurous. Plus they are located across Hong Kong, so there's a convenient delivery/pick up option for most residents.
The Challenge: Healthy Cake Smash Shoot
The Sweet Tooth Fairies were asked to come up with a refined sugar free, low salt cake for a cake smash photoshoot with the added task of making sure it looked beautiful , and went above and beyond the call of duty. They tested all kinds of ways to keep it in line with the dietary requirements, but to also ensure it tasted great, and that it would look great in the photos. They checked in every step of the way to make sure we were happy with the project and the end result looked stunning in the photos. Another bonus is they regularly team up with Melanie Adamson Photography - so if you book a Cake Smash with her, you can relax that it's a tried, tested and successful combination.
Creativity is Hema's thing - for a recent 18th birthday she made Ferrero Rocher cupcakes with an accompanying shot of vodka that could be squeezed into the cupcake just before the first bite. For another event, she crafted the cakes to look like Starbucks lattes - complete with cup and logo, and she's even made a 29" full standing doll cake. She can serve up matching cookies, cake pops, and cupcakes to go with your theme too.
The Challenge: Pinterest match
We all know that for most people, your Pinterest life looks quite different to your real life. But we asked Citrus Sweets to align the two by matching a creation we saw on the scrapbooking site. We sent her a picture of a bright yellow submarine cake - fit for fans of The Beatles. The end result? We'd argue it was even better than the photo - the inside was a lush as the decorations, and it tasted wonderful.
These girls don't mess about - if you are craving American style sweets (or just a treat in general) head their way immediately. Gillian and Ruth have concocted a range of desserts the Yanks do best for HK's sugar lovers. Their Salted Sister is addictive, while The Big Whoop, with it's whipped peanut butter filling, is sinfully good. They've can even turn their offerings into birthday cakes. Going grain or gluten free? Fear not? They've made The Good Sister - a guilt-free cookie for you to scoff.
The Challenge: Baby Shower
These guys put together a range of cookie as part of a Baby Shower celebration and their offers were demolished within a few minutes. Seriously, the mama-to-be had to set aside some for herself as, encumbered by bump, she couldn't match the speed of her guests in getting to the sweet treats.