A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
A gem of a cake emporium famous for artistic 3-D fondant iced cakes with exceptional chocolate cake bases.
One of Melbourne’s longest-established inner-city suburbs, South Melbourne is a chameleon. It’s one part lined with nostalgic Victoriana terraced houses, and yet another part, consisting of grey Soviet-style medium-density blocks and increasingly, higher-rise apartment buildings arranged like a concreted shipyard. At night, it can be promenade through a valley of booze, sleaze, and sex. During the day, it’s alternatively windswept or sun-drenched, overrun by families and a young generation attracted to the bustle and hum of numerous cafes and the South Melbourne Market. Behind a terracotta brick veneer a short distance away from the pulsating market-going crowds, Let Them Eat Cake is a large breezy space. Upon entering, to one’s left-hand side, an assortment of shortbread cookies and gingerbread men and trees cluster on tall shelves. On the opposite side, cake consultations occur on a long table, with foam replicas and design books paraded in front of the budding couple or their in-laws. But it is a front glass cake counter that steals the show. Although brimming with conventional tarts and tea cakes, it is the beguiling pettinice-iced (a premium type of fondant) cupcakes that truly capture and hypnotise you. Conjured by an industrious kitchen just behind, there’s sure to be a highly-decorated cupcake for any occasion — a cheeky Elmo or Cookie Monster to award that good little child, a patchworked soccer ball or football for the sport-nut, a mini-car for the motor vehicle aficionado, a tapestry of flowers and the occasional mad-hatter tea-pot for the elegant lady, and iconic fashion motifs for the fashionista (think Chanel’s interlocking Cs, mini-stratospheric high heels, mini-Hermes Birkin-esque tote bags).
Any home baker who has attempted to use fondant to decorate his/her cakes will know how exorbitant a price this ingredient commands. A pre-made mono-tonal flower no larger than a ping-pong ball for example, can cost $8-10 from cake decorating shops. Let’s not even consider the price of a small bag of plain white fondant icing, ready to roll or not. Given this high preliminary cost, likely extra expenditure of gel colourings to add different shades, and the very tender care and time required to be expended to shape a fondant creation, the prices for Let Them Eat Cake’s cupcakes ($9.50-$15.95 depending on design complexity) are somewhat justifiable, although still very heart-wrenching and debt-inducing. Clearly reserved for special occasions. It’s a good thing that they are a little larger than normal cupcakes, and that they are packaged in a sturdy box at no surcharge (unlike a parsimonious cake store that MoMo & Coco will report on soon).
On our most recent visit in search for pretty cakes for an afternoon tea party, MoMo & Coco remembered to photograph our little treasure box from Let Them Eat Cake. Containing five cupcakes, our recent selection included two encrusted with daisies in bright spring hues; one stencilled with a whimsical butterfly flitting near a flower; and two flaunted their fashionable credentials in the form of a Louis Vuitton bag complete with buckle strap, and an iconic Tiffany & Co jewellery box twirled with its simple but elegant Audrey Hepburn-esque white ribbon.
Being fastidiously fussy sweet-tooths, MoMo & Coco are not easily content with merely superficially beautiful cakes (note our vacillating contentment with the exotic, but generally muted creations from Burch & Purchese). As horribly cliche as it will sound, inner beauty is very important… or at least for cakes. Thankfully therefore, (or we would not have featured them in this journal-blog), Let Them Eat Cake’s pettinice-iced cupcakes do not only look stunning, but taste fabulous also. They are spliced onto a simply superb chocolate mud-cake cake base, arguably better than our cupcake boutique favourites of Little Cupcakes, Babycakes, and Sugadeaux, and dare we admit, our own chocolate cake baking skills. Because one might not eat the icing itself (MoMo & Coco do not), the chocolate base of Let Them Eat Cakes’ novelty cupcakes is full compensation, neither muffled nor murmuring, clearly enunciating all its decadently moist lusciousness.
Without further ado, MoMo & Coco will now allow the following photographs to narrate their tale. It’s a good thing that we were waiting for our other self-baked goodies to bake so that we had time to take so many photos. Enjoy!
With no other as-yet-known cake boutique in Melbourne specialising in pret-a-porter pettinice-iced cupcakes, Let Them Eat Cake is a gem of a cake emporium. Although it is not the neighbourly chatty type, the service is consistently friendly and direct, though on our most recent visit, we noticed an overcharging that was quickly refunded with profuse apologies. No matter. Overall, it is a bastion of exceptional talent in cake theatrics and artistry, both the cake itself and its outer embellishments. If and when we become in need of a wedding cake, it will be toward Let Them Eat Cake that we will be heading. In the meantime, the almost-too-beautiful-to-eat, superb chocolate cupcakes will suffice for all other special occasions.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Let Them Eat Cake, 147-149 Cecil Street, South Melbourne, Vic 3205.
- Budget: $$.
- Sweet irresistibles: Cake.
- Must-eat: 3D fondant cupcake.
- The short and sweet story: A gem of a cake emporium famous for artistic 3-D fondant iced cakes with exceptional chocolate cake bases.