Have a cake, and eat it
Many couples no longer settle for a dummy wedding cake; they want the real thing with wow-factor.
'Ten years ago, it was mostly expatriates who would order a novelty cake,' says Sarah Lee, founder of Sweet Secrets (www.sweetsecrets.com.hk). 'But now we're seeing more locals willing to spend money on a personalised cake.'
While some couples want a simple and elegant cake, others opt for an elaborate design with multiple elements, such as tiers, lacework, flowers, ribbons and beading.
The more elaborate, the greater the cost. Lee says prices for novelty cakes start from about HK$40 per slice.
Cupcake towers are a less expensive option. 'These can be quite grand and cheaper than serving a wedding cake,' explains Lee.
Simply decorated cupcakes with sprinkles or fondant start from HK$22. However, one request for individual cupcakes each with a bag, high-heels and a car were more than HK$100 apiece, says Lee.
In creating the design, Lee says couples are doing their homework. 'Before they come in, they have researched designs they like,' she says. A starting point, Lee suggests, is to consider the wedding's colour scheme and where the cake will be displayed.
'If people are not too sure what they want, they should look at the bigger picture and consider the venue,' Lee recommends. 'If it's a big space like a ballroom, then we encourage [clients] to go more multi-tier, so the cake doesn't look undersized.'
When ordering a personalised cake, Lee recommends allowing one month's notice. However, if specific elements such as a cake stand or cake topper are required from overseas, more time is required.
Executive pastry chef Yves Matthey at the Mandarin Oriental says more couples are foregoing a traditional white cake. 'Novelty cakes are popping up more. People are requesting more flavours and colours, with champagne a very popular colour,' he says. While a chocolate cake is a standard favourite, Matthey adds butter cream with some alcohol, and chocolate and orange are making their way to the dessert table.
Matthey has created works with faces of the couple on top.
'They really looked like the bride and groom, which requires a high degree of skill,' he says. 'I think a wedding cake makes the couple proud, they can share a sweet and their happiness with everybody.'