Listen and Learn with YouTube videos: Hong Kong bakers cook up some eye-popping illusions

  • Two bakers create illusion cakes that look just like the real thing
  • Scroll down to check out the script and answers
Doris Wai |

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Cony Lam Yuen-fan (left), partner, and Alison Chan Fong-ki, (R) founder of Dear Harley Cake Studio. Photo: SCMP/May Tse


Watch the video and answer questions 1-10.
Click here for script and here for answers. 

1. Shop profile: Dear Harley Cake Studio
It was founded by (i) __________. The owner had the idea of opening a cake shop because of her (ii) __________. The studio specialises in (iii) __________ cakes and recently turned to making (iv) __________.

2. What event spurred Alison to experiment with a different type of cake?

3. Which of the following best describes the illusion cakes?
A. They are all made to look bigger than their actual size.
B. They are small cakes specially designed for one person.
C. They look like anything but cakes.
D. They are filled with edible confetti inside.

4. What sort of reaction does Alison usually get about her illusion cakes?
A. flabbergasted
B. dumbfounded
C. indifference
D. nonchalance

5. Which two themes are the illusion cakes mostly based on?

6. What is the flavour of the mailbox cake in the video?

7. How many types of fillings can customers choose from for their cake?
A. seven
B. 10
C. 18
D. information not given

8. According to the video, what is Alison’s “root of happiness”?

9. For each word or phrase given below, find its SYNONYM as used at the end of the video (2:00-3:18). 
(i) idea ____________ 
(ii) old-fashioned ____________ 
(iii) tough it out ____________ 

10. Which of the following is an alternative title for this video?
A. Hyperrealistic baking like you’ve never seen
B. Pastry chef Alison Chan on baking a cake for Hongkongers
C. The secret to baking illusion cakes
D. How coronavirus prompted a surge in creative baking

[1] I’m Alison Chan. And I make customised and “illusion cakes”. Whatever you can think of … you can imagine, we can make it for you.

[2] We started making illusion cakes when the coronavirus hit us. We could spare some more time in our business, we were not as busy as before. Then we think of ideas about, “How can we catch people’s attention on cakes, people who initially are not so interested in cakes?”

[3] People are just wowing about … “Is that a cake? I cannot believe it.” It makes me really happy. That’s the kind of reaction we want to get from people. We started making other objects like [a] Dettol bottle or Maltesers box, or remote control … everyday life things. We try to create more Cantonese style objects or food, because we are Hongkongers, right?

[4] We made an Earl Grey tea cake base. We cover the whole cake with fondant, and now we’re just adding in the extra decorations on top to make it look like a mailbox. We will be adding some orangey red colour to make it look more antique and real.

[5] We provide a wide range of selection of cake flavours and fillings for our customers. We have dark chocolate, Japanese Uji matcha, Earl Grey, red velvet and a lot more other choices. And you can also choose your own fillings – fresh fruit, or Oreo biscuits or chocolate crunch.

[6] Harley is actually my nephew. The inspiration to open this cake shop is actually from him. He’s so cute, just that pure happiness, innocence made me really want to do things that I love to do in life. Not just to look for money, [but] how do I make a business, how do I make money to survive in this city. It kind of brought me back to the root of happiness.

[7] Alright, so that’s our antique mailbox done. We’ll be putting it [outside] our studio, on the beach, to make a video out of it.

1.(i) Alison Chan
(ii) nephew
(iii) customised
(iv) illusion cakes

2. coronavirus hitting Hong Kong

3. C

4. B

5. everyday objects; Cantonese style/items from Hong Kong culture

6. Earl Grey tea

7. D

8. baking/baking cakes

9.(i) inspiration
(ii) antique
(iii) survive

10. A

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