Increasing affluence has tripled the number of cake shops over the past decade, a bakery expert says. Retailers seeking a larger slice of the action are spilling into the mainland. A spokesman for Arome Bakery put the boom down to the man-in-the-street having enough money to indulge in a sweet treat. 'As people get more affluent, they can spoil themselves,' she said. Arome Bakery estimates the number of shops has tripled in the last decade and tastes are more sophisticated. Fake cream is out of fashion. Instead, healthier low-fat alternatives and fruit are the preferred options among the cake-buying public. At the patisserie in the Peninsula Hotel, mango souffles and New York-style cheesecakes are the favourites. Maxim's boasts 131 cake shops and has spread into the mainland. Cake stores have opened in Beijing, Guangzhou, Dalian, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xiamen. It is likely more will be opened as the company seeks to maximise its profit in the sweet-treat trade.