A Melbourne, London & Hong Kong dessert blog
Clever branding + social media marketing + good product = delicious bakery success
As with any city in the world, every locality is burdened by stereotypes. In Melbourne, if the inner south is big brash California, the north is grungy bohemian Soho-like. If the east is affluent and leafy, the west is industrial and spartan. Determined to change the fact that we are more familiar with cities in the rest of the world than our own home base, MoMo & Coco made the intrepid journey to the “West Side.” We were greeted by a rather flat landscape — a train line running to infinity and trees barely reaching the height of single-storey houses. Near Spotswood’s train station, there is high street that simply bustles, and amid these shops is Candied Bakery.
An eye-catching yellow-on-black signage draws you in through the sliding doors of Candied Bakery. You are left dangling on the steps for a split second as you wonder whether you are even allowed into a space that looks like the back entrance of an industrial kitchen. Forward you go, making a bee-line for a long glass cabinet stocked with an assortment of stacked baked goods. You see France in the honey-brown croissants, alternatively stuffed with blue cheese, chocolate or otherwise almond studded. You spot Italy in the doughnuts, overflowing with zuppa inglese, but also strawberry jam. Yet, you also see America — a pretzel-crusted brownie, a chocolate cookie and apple milkshakes; and hello Australia, it’s been a long time since you have see a lamington in any Melbourne bakery. Aforementioned are the sweet things. There are the usual bakery breads and pies also. Most patrons drop by and take away, while the occasional other will plop themselves on the bare wood communal table or the side stools.
On our weekend visit, MoMo & Coco sampled the following. The much-talked-about “Banoffee Pie Soft Serve” ($4.50) arrived in a paper cone. Softly scented with banana and swirled with sticky toffee caramel, the soft serve clearly held a lot of air — it was smooth without any fridge taste or crystallisation. D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s. However, as much as we hate to say it, it ought to have had sprinkles of nuts or praline for some much-needed oomph…
We fell in love more conclusively with Candied Bakery’s other items that had not been the subject of so much hype. The “Zuppa Inglese Donut” ($4 each) was a large globe of airy sponge squirting with excellent, bold custard. We add it to our list of Melbourne’s Best Doughnuts. The “Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies” ($4.50) ought to be offered in a box of 50. Chewy disc embedded with cubes of chocolate, they are the path to a terrible addiction. Once you have had one, you will be possessed of a Gollum-like possessiveness. The “Lamington” was good too, a lovely sponge covered in a rich chocolate-coconut coating, though the generosity of the jam centre somewhat overwhelmed the other components. Our brownie benchmark is London’s Paul A Young brownie, a stunning thing somewhere between a cake and a fudge. Hence, our favourite part of Candied Bakery’s “Crusty Brownie Pie” was not the brownie itself which was a little too squishy wet or overly fudgy for our personal preference, but rather its pretzel studded crust with a slight saline character that countered the chocolate decadence perfectly.
It must be said that the marketing team behind Candied Bakery should be commended — without the hype generated by so many print/online articles stating that Candied Bakery is an one-of-a-kind, first-of-its-kind, “American-inspired bakery,” it is rather difficult to distinguish Candied Bakery from all other existing bakeries. Nonetheless, Candied Bakery is surely a welcome and delightful sight in the western region of Melbourne. The cookies especially are a siren call that beckons return visits.
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Candied Bakery, 81A Hudsons Road, Spotswood, Vic 3015.
- Budget: $.
- Sweet irresistibles: Bakery dessert.
- Must-eat: Chocolate marshmellow cookie.
- The short and sweet story: Clever branding + social media marketing + good product = delicious bakery success.