An edible flip flop, hand bag and a banana that tastes of chocolate – these are some of the creations by a bakery studio in Hong Kong helping it bounce back from a COVID-19 slump.
Dear Harley Cake Studio’s founders Alison Chan and Cony Lam came up with the idea of making “illusion cakes” or confectioneries in the shape of everyday items, after baking a custom cake for Chan’s nephew, who loves bananas. They made a thin layer of yellow fondant wrapped around dark chocolate and Italian meringue butter cream.
Posting such creations on social media brought a new wave of customers to their shop, prompting them to switch their focus of their business to take special orders and organise workshops for wannabe illusion cake bakers.
“This illusion cake wave is … kind of saving our business,” Chan said.
Depending on the cake’s complexity, each design takes different amounts of time to make, sometimes taking hours to fill in the smallest details, Chan said.
Their viral videos have attracted a loyal clientele and the cake shop is now offering classes to share tips on how to make the eerily realistic cakes.
From a crisis level of three-to-four orders per week during March and April, the studio is now receiving 15-20 orders per week. An illusion cake typically costs at least $200, but some can cost upwards of $1500.