WHAT: Couture Cake inspired by the roaring '20s
Who: Penney Pang
Former accountant-turned-cake-designer Penny Pang is famous for her realistic sugar flowers and highly personalised cake creations. She has won awards in Hong Kong and overseas. Running a cake shop in Central and a studio in Kwun Tong, Pang also teaches master cake-designing classes.
From a high-jewellery watch to a Tesla convertible and even a merry-go-round, Penney Pang can re-create anything with icing sugar and her famous decadent chocolate mud cakes.
"Cakes are the highlights of any celebration," Pang says. "Sometimes people look forward to the cake more than anything else in a party." Personalised cakes, especially, showcase the host's taste and sometimes tell unique stories.
The luxurious couture cake that Pang has envisioned for a lavish yet elegant celebration is inspired by elements of the roaring '20s.
"I have always been fascinated by the golden age - its decadence, luxury and romance," she says. "I also see it quite a fit for any kind of celebration, even weddings. I have actually catered for a few wedding parties that incorporate the classy black and gold combination."
Apart from the colour scheme, the geometric lines and shapes from the golden age have also inspired Pang's works.
"The shapes are unmistakably taken from the golden age," Pang says. "I love how you get to play with those mesmerising details."
The complicated lines and curves are challenging to replicate with icing sugar. "Sometimes the simplest things take the most effort," Pang says. "To be able to draw straight lines, you need to have really steady hands and also be highly focused."
Pang's design is a six-tiered cake, with each tier featuring different flavours such as chocolate mud, lemon, vanilla with poppy seeds, earl grey, chocolate with rose water, and butter.
Butter cake is one of Pang's favourites. "I use only egg yolk so the butter cake melts in you mouth. Those who find chocolate mud cake a bit too rich can go for the much lighter lemon flavour."
To echo the 1920s theme, the cake topper is made of edible ostrich feathers. Each one will be hand-made and decorated with icing sugar, rice paper and gum paste to re-create the light touch and feel of real feathers. Leaves of 24ct gold will be applied by hand to one of the lower tiers of the cake, while edible gold-coloured sequins will adorn another level of the cake for a luxurious touch.
"It's a very delicate process," Pang says. "Working with such precious materials gives us very little leeway to make mistakes."
For Pang's famous sugar flowers, she plans to use a variety of flowers for a more life-like effect - peonies, garden roses and hydrangeas.
"Each of the flowers can take an experienced cake designer a few hours to perfect," Pang says. "Peonies are the most complicated. Each petal is individually hand-crafted before being put together."
In order to replicate flowers to perfection, Pang visits florists for inspiration. "I have a friend who runs a flower shop, and he explained to me the constructions and colour variations of different flowers," she says.
To add an extravagant twist to the designer cake, Pang envisions adding elegant, diamond-studded vintage jewellery such as hair combs, brooches and chandelier earrings. "You can also add matching macaroon towers, cake pops and hand-painted cookies to complement the centrepiece," Pang says.
"Cakes are not just about the price tag, but also the craftsmanship and the stories behind them."