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Lifestyle : Cakes For All Occasions special report
1HERSA1 0016 iG5518224AA-201112 02 9949 5330 Shop 1, 549 Sydney Road Seaforth, NSW www.facebook.com/tasteobelgium artisan bread & chocolate creator Sensational Gelato Cakes MANUFACTURERS OF OVER 150 AWARD WINNING FLAVOURS FREE CANDLES WITH EVERY CAKE ORDERED* www.puregelato.com.au Order online Delivery to your door! Over 150 delicious gelato flavours to choose from! ur door! ORDER NOW FACTORY OUTLET: 30-32 Brighton Ave, Croydon Park NSW 2133 PHONE: 02 9716 4488 *Offer ends 30/06/13 Use Promotional Code CA15 16 goodfood TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2012 www.smh.com.au/goodfood specialty cakes special report Carli Ratcliff learns the secrets to success in the specialised world of sugar craft and decoration. Theicingonthe. . . Flour power . . . Business is thriving for Paris Cutler, owner of Planet Cake. DESPITE ECONOMIC DOOM AND gloom and reported drops in discretionary spending, for the owner of Planet Cake in Balmain, Paris Cutler, business is booming. Cutler and her decorating team continue to turn out more than 1000 cakes every year, at an average price of $1000 a cake. ''Last week, a mother came in and told me that her 14-year-old son just wanted a cake, not a present, not a party, just a novelty cake,'' says Cutler, who has experienced a huge growth in her specialty cake business in the past two years. ''When we started out in 2003, decorated cakes were very unpopular.'' Cutler credits the awareness created by television shows such as MasterChef as having had a direct impact on the number and type of cakes people are ordering. ''Cakes for younger customers, who consume that media, are on the rise,'' Cutler says. ''Young people tend to want something very different and unique.'' Popular 16th and 21st birthday cakes include 3D replicas of designer stilettos and handbags, a 3D beer bottle or football. At Sparkle Cupcakery in Surry Hills, the director and founder, Kathryn Sutton, has also experienced plenty of demand for specialty birthday cakes. ''Most of my customers request a beautiful, yet fairly minimalist cake,'' she says. ''They want it to look good and to be edible and to be made from good ingredients. Styling is also really important to clients [and] has to tie in with the theme of the celebration.'' Despite a widespread reduction in the corporate hospitality sector, bespoke novelty cakes remain popular for business celebrations. Planet Cake has created cakes for businesses including Leona Edmiston, Tom Ford Beauty and many top companies. ''We saw a drop of 80 per cent in our corporate cake business at the onset of the GFC,'' Cutler says. But in the past 12 months there has been a rise in interest. ''Businesses are still willing to purchase cakes to celebrate a corporate milestone, and their budgets for cakes are now two to three times bigger than they were in 2003. Spending $1000 on a cake to mark a businesses anniversary or a corporate celebration is much cheaper than taking the whole office out for dinner or throwing a party.'' The other area of growth is in cake decorating. Linda and Guy Harden, of Whimsical Cakehouse, hold classes, taught by local and international guest lecturers, in Dolans Bay, Caringbah and Alexandria. Interest from interstate has been so strong they now offer classes in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. ''We can't keep up with demand,'' Guy says. ''Especially for advanced classes.'' Cutler established Sydney's first cake-decorating school at Planet Cake in 2004. Among the classes on offer, the most popular are the advanced novelty classes where students learn to make cakes with moving parts, including robots. At least 20 per cent of her students come from interstate and 15 per cent are from overseas, including Dubai, South Korea and New Zealand. Surprisingly, few students have cooking or hospitality backgrounds. ''Most are from the corporate world,'' Cutler says. ''The primary reason that they enrol is for relaxation, and suddenly it becomes a full- blown addiction.'' The psychology behind cake decorating is quite fascinating, Cutler says. ''People react in a very positive way to a beautiful specialty cake; they are conversation starters and the attention is focused on the creator,'' she says. ''It is a huge ego boost.'' At Sparkle Cupcakery, students come for both social and corporate team-building exercises. Sutton offers decorating classes that cover a range of tips and techniques. Groups learn how to colour and shape fondant, how to make 2D shapes, how
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