TORONTO – The gourmet cupcake craze has been declared dead by more than one trend-watcher, but it’s still got sweet appeal for a Toronto man who spent $900 on an elaborate confection for his wife’s 40th birthday.
Lisa Sanguedolce, owner of custom sweetmaker Le Dolci, says she was asked to make the elaborate creation featuring some of the woman’s favourite ingredients, and ended up including tiny Champagne bubbles, fondant decorations painted with edible gold, Kona coffee from Hawaii and 21-year-old Courvoisier.
Pastry chef Devonne Sitzer, who’s had stints at Toronto’s Distillery District and the tony Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ont., dreamed up the cupcake along with designer Annie Sung Lee.
“It was a lot of labour, going back and forth with him, showing him sketches and sourcing everything,” Sanguedolce said Friday. “Our chef is amazing. She came up with it all. I was, like, this is beautiful.”
Tiny Champagne bubbles sprinkled over the cake were created using a molecular gastronomy technique – “they explode in your mouth,” Sanguedolce said – and “diamonds” carved out of sugar were placed around the edge of the chocolate cupcake, which was made with organic sugar, flour and honey with a pinch of salt from France. The cupcake was hollowed out slightly in the centre and filled with a vanilla bean pastry cream and topped with mocha icing.
Delicate fondant flowers were etched in edible gold, stylized gold strips crisscrossed the sides of the cupcake and a fondant branch and leaves were painted with edible gold. Kona is one of the most expensive coffees in the world and the pricey chocolate came from Italy.
“The Courvoisier was more to his liking,” Sanguedolce said with a laugh. The cognac was drizzled on top and poured into a small tube inserted into the cupcake.
For quality control, they tasted as they went along, and Sanguedolce pronounced the chocolate, vanilla and coffee mix delicious.
The elements took a few days to prepare and assembly took a day. The lavish cupcake was delivered last Friday.
“The customer was super happy. We used all the ingredients that his wife loved and some things that he loved. It turned out to be a really fun project.”
This is the first costly cupcake Sanguedolce has supplied, though she’s produced numerous cakes that cost upwards of $1,000, such as replicas of a celebrant’s grand piano for a 65th birthday, a Porsche for a son’s wedding and a Corvette for a husband’s 40th birthday. The time-consuming task of recreating each of them was done from photos supplied by the customers.
Of the luxury market, Sanguedolce said, “It’s a different world, not my world, but I’m happy to oblige.”