If you could wish for any birthday cake in the world, what would it be?
Mine would be some sort of a savoury cake, you know, like a twelve-inch burger or a mountain of salmon with a candle on top. I’m just a savoury over sweet kind of person. But my only gripe is, those ‘cakes’ aren’t really cakes. It’s just a round, gigantic version of what we eat for lunch and dinner. I wished there was something that looks like a cake, that makes for a good dessert course and yet, savoury.
And then, one day, a fairy god-baker changed the whole savoury cake game.
As if hearing the quiet pleas in my mind, local baker Heidi Tay came up with the best cake any savoury-with-a-tinge-of-sweet sort of person could wish for (I swear I’m simpler when it comes to other non-food-related things).
The cake looks just like any other regular cake: 8 inches, frosted with a salted caramel buttercream with squares of brownish red garnish sitting on buttercream swirls. You’d be forgiven if you thought that the squares are charred strawberry leather. But no.
It’s bak kwa.
Trying to contain the explosion in my head, I fidgeted impatiently as she sliced into the cake. As she removed the slice, an avalanche of chicken floss fell out from the middle. “Oh my God, that looks so awful! Can you not take pictures of that?” the perfectionist baker exclaimed.
But given the generosity of the chicken floss, it’s almost impossible to keep the integrity of a slice. Not unless she compacts the chicken floss or mixed it up with some cream, which would ruin the dry, loose texture of the floss. Think about the floss buns drenched in mayonnaise at some poor quality bakery and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
The doubts of having bak
While it sounds crazy to put these two ingredients into a cake, the flavours just work. The meatiness of the bak kwa and chicken floss add a whole new spectrum of saltiness that the salted caramels of the world will never be able to cover.
Perhaps the reason why these two elements work so well in a cake is partly that we’re already familiar that bak kwa and chicken floss are a little sweet. Therefore the crazy part isn’t about putting bak kwa and chicken floss into something sweet, but that a cake can taste salty and meaty.
Speaking of cake, once you get over the novelty of the fillings, the salted caramel buttercream and the texture of the sponge quietly reminds you that what you’re having is, indeed, a cake.
Yet this is hardly the only cake that will take your breath away. Heidi’s creations are made to impress. Some of her more prominent cakes include the unicorn cake, the money cake (the recipient can literally pull money out of the cake) and the flower vase cake (a cake that was conceived in collaboration with florist Kelly Chua from PetalFoo). Sometimes customers go to her with a crazy idea and she makes the cake come to life.
Wishing for a crazy birthday cake? Maybe Heidi, the fairy god-baker, can grant your wish.
Photos by Brandon Neo of the DANAMIC team.