Let’s face it: not all of us are cut out to be cake bosses. We might be able to throw together a straight-from-the-box recipe, but a beautiful confection suitable for more than just your spouse to see? Forget it. When the occasion arises, we’d rather avoid hours of sweating it out in the kitchen and call in the experts. Here, then, is our guide to buying birthday cakes for every budget.
Sally T Cakes
When it comes to cake personalisation, Sally Turnbull from Sally T Cakes can pretty much work with whatever creative ideas you have in mind – from your loved one’s favourite movie character and beyond. Tasty, homemade and delicious, each cake is made to order, with prices starting at $120 (depending on size and design). 9859 4769
The Pantry at Loewen Gardens is always there to meet your customised birthday cake requirements. Standard buttercream birthday cakes (Victoria sponge and rainbow are the most popular) start at $60, while custom fondant styles start at $110; they can even create carrot and banana birthday cakes – you name it, they’ll make it! These guys also have a cute little café, so you can enjoy a coffee while you mull over the sugary options. 75 Loewen Road. 6474 0441
These guys have been creating customised cakes (starting from $90), as well as cupcakes, cake pops and tea pastries, since 2010; they hand-make their confections with less sugar and no added preservatives, while still keeping things tasty. 520 East Coast Road, #01-01 Ocean Park Oranda. 9154 1812
This cake shop has tons of options to choose from, either in-store on online (pre-order, and pick up or get your cake delivered). Select from over ten signature styles – their bestseller, Choco Truffle, is to die for – or you can order a custom design to suit your occasion. Fifteen-centimetre cakes (serving five to eight) start from around $33; 40-centimetre cakes (serving up to 60) are around the $230 mark. Emicakes also recently introduced a $29 “naked cake” range (with unfrosted sides) in four flavours including red velvet and carrot. Various locations.
These beautiful and creative cakes are handmade by owner Misato with a lot of love and care. Seven-inch round cakes start at $200 and go up from there, depending on design and size. Her 3D cakes are works of art in themselves – so pretty, we almost don’t want to cut them. (Almost.) She also offers cupcakes and dessert tables.
Whether you’re after alphabet letters, hearts or figurines, this patisserie can create some pretty special and detailed cake designs including layered and posh-looking tiered cakes; their Berry Berries (strawberry shortcake) and Cacao Royal are bestsellers. Cakes range from around $31 to $318 depending on size. 2 Duxton Hill #01-01. 6223 8628
This bakeshop has a loyal following thanks to the impressive novelty cakes it churns out for customers seeking specialty designs – from animal- and princess-themed styles to 3D soccer balls, nautical and floral designs. Cream-covered confections with edible prints begin at $60, while fondant-covered creations – red velvet, vanilla velvet, carrot walnut and rich chocolate with ganache filling are popular favourites – start at $100 (per 1kg) and go up from there, depending on size and design. 42 Joo Chiat Place. 6440 9200
Island Creamery Ice Cream Cakes
Combining ice cream and cake is oh-so-right! Cue ice cream cakes from Island Creamery. Choose from the shop’s signature flavour combinations or customise your own. The Baked Alaska ($35; serves six) – berry ice cream on a layer of sponge cake covered in meringue – is always a popular choice, as is the Mud Pie ($45; serves 16) – layers of chocolate, cookies and cream, plus burnt caramel ice cream topped with Oreo cookie crumbs. Various locations.
Cat and the Fiddle
It’s all about cheesecake here, with over a dozen different cheesecake confections to choose from – blueberry, mango, caramel, coconut, Oreo, classic and so on. Prices range from around $20 to $39 (cakes are approximately 18 centimetres); both pickup and delivery options are available.
Antoinette’s cakes are pretty reasonably priced; all full-size, 20-centimetre cakes come in at under $100. Choose from strawberry shortcake, dark chocolate mousse with hazelnut, pistachio sponge with raspberry mousse, and the “Antoinette” – milk chocolate mousse infused with Earl Grey tea, chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate Earl Grey cremeux, raspberry coulis, Earl Grey tea crumble – among other interesting flavours. Multiple locations.
Chocolate lovers will always appreciate a cake from these guys, known for their delicious choccie recipes. Choose from their original chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge, chocolate banana or chocolate rum and cherry; it’s $34 to $38 for a 15-centimetre cake and $68 to $76 for a 20-centimetre cake. Order in person or online, with options for pickup or delivery; and, if you need any wording customisation, they can do it on the spot in-store. Various locations.
Strawberry shortcake, mango mousse, rainbow cake or tiramisu – this shop has plenty of delicious and affordable options to pick up at a moment’s notice. Prices start from around $35 for a cake that feeds four to six and go up to around $260 for a cake that serves 55. A popular choice is the Foret Noir cake, going at a pocket-friendly $68 (serves 10 to 12). Various locations.
If you’re looking for a quick birthday cake on-the-go, Cedele’s gourmet cakes – made with organic, unrefined flour and grapeseed oil – are an absolute fail-safe. Our fave flavours here include dark chocolate fudge and carrot walnut, from over a dozen options. Prices start at $48 for whole 20-centimetre cakes, and go up to $213 for 35.5-centimetre cakes. Various locations.
Do it yourself
Keen on trying to whip up the cake yourself? This one-stop cake decoration shop stocks everything you could possibly need for fashioning your edible masterpiece – from animal-shaped cake pans, baking trays and decorations to icing, sprinkles and novelty candles. But if you get there and it’s all a bit much, B-I-Y also has a bakery to make whatever you’d like with three days’ notice. 9 Circular Road. 6100 2253
DIY Chocolately Goodness
If you’ve opted to bake your own birthday cake, you definitely can’t go wrong with chocolate – and we’ve got just the recipe for you. Whether you dress it up or keep it plain, this chocolate layer cake is bound to be a hit with everyone at your party.
* 100g cocoa powder
* 375ml boiling water
* 90g butter, softened to room temperature
* 410g caster sugar
* 300g plain or all-purpose flour
* 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 4 eggs
For chocolate buttercream frosting:
* 175g dark chocolate, minimum 70 percent cocoa solids
* 250g unsalted butter, softened
* 275g icing sugar, sifted
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C
Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and allow to cool; set aside
Butter and line two 20cm (8-inch) sandwich tins with baking parchment
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda and baking powder
In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon (15ml) of the flour to avoid curdling. Mix until ingredients are well combined.
Fold in remaining flour, alternating with the cocoa mixture until combined. Divide between the two pans and bake for one hour or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes; then put on to wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting, melt chocolate in the microwave for two to three minutes on medium and let cool slightly.
In another bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft and creamy; then add the sifted icing sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.
Gently add the vanilla extract and chocolate, and mix together until everything is glossy and smooth.
Cut cakes horizontally and sandwich the middle of each cake with about a quarter of the icing; then ice the top and sides, spreading and smoothing with a rubber spatula.
Serve as is or impress by decorating with Kit Kat bars or finger cookies and M&Ms; these should easily stick to the frosting.
This recipe is courtesy of Expat Kitchen.
This article first featured in the January 2016 issue of the magazine.