Ms B’s Cakery
Bonnie Gokson has never been one to shy away from extravagance. Her restaurant Sevva is a stunning, theatrical space that draws in the city’s rich and glamourous. Opened in late April, Gokson’s first standalone pâtisserie, Ms B’s Cakery, caters to the same stylish crowd, offering gorgeous, haute desserts that wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of Vogue. Indulgence dictates here and it shows through the cheekily named Better than Sex (dark chocolate fudge cake, chocolate-caramel crunch and salted toffee, $420/500g) and Million Dollar Truffle cake (chocolate truffle cake with toffee and nuts, adorned with gold leaves and chocolate gold coins, $920/500g). Gokson’s constantly dreaming up new creations, including the recent Lady Gaga-inspired black forest cake decorated with shards of black and white chocolate and red sugar ‘lips’ ($920/500g). Another fun and fanciful newcomer is the Whoopie Cake ($920/500g) – moist red velvet encased in vanilla frosting studded with colourful nonpareils, sugar pearls and assorted hard candies. Most of the signature cakes are available in 1kg, 500g and ‘darling’ sizes, or in individual taster portions ($150 for three cakes). Ms B’s cakes are currently only available for takeaway orders but Gokson’s planning to unveil a proper sit-down café next to the cake shop later this month.
39 Gough St, Noho, 2815 8303; www.msbscakery.hk.
*above image provided by Ms B's Cakery
Dig into Coco’s mysterious Or Noir cake ($280/pound) and you’ll find five layers of chocolate goodness: chocolate fudge, white chocolate mousse, feuilletine (crushed wafers mixed with hazelnuts and chocolate), chocolate sponge and dark chocolate mousse all finished under a dark chocolate glaze with a gold-tinted chocolate leaf. It’s crafted from premium Valrhona chocolate and with all layers taken in a mouthful, the Or Noir is an indulgent experience that combines different textures and depths of chocolate. This sophisticated cake is just one of the many stunning creations by The Mira hotel’s executive pastry chef Jean-Marc Gaucher. For an alternative affair, try Coco’s Jivara Berry Delight ($280/pound) that features milk chocolate mousse with wild mixed berry compote.
L/F, The Mira, 118 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2315 5566.
At the opposite extreme from Ms B’s, model Amanda Strang’s namesake pâtisserie peddles charmingly simple baked goodies done the traditional French way. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist with pastries, the Le Cordon Bleu-trained Strang uses only the finest ingredients in her kitchen; flours and sugars are imported from Europe, dairy products are from Australia and fruits are plucked from wherever they’re in season. Strang does at least 10 different types of classic French pastries a day and most sell out by 4pm. The Plaisir Sucré ($48) is particularly delicious, a dense hazelnut dacquoise padded with crunchy praline and tempered chocolate sheets sandwiched with chocolate ganache. The delicate mango tart ($43) is another winner with a crust baked with fragrant almond cream and topped with half a mango. Aside from delicious cakes and tarts, the store also offers rustic loaves spun by two French breadmakers. It’s a taste of Paris in the heart of the city.
Shop 2096, 2/F, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St, Central, 2234 7222; www.petiteamanda.com.
Carousel’s executive pastry chef Leung Tung-shing keeps his desserts on the light side and turns out cakes that are satisfyingly sweet without being saccharine. Miniature cheesecakes are especially popular here and come in a range of flavours including strawberry, apple and green tea (all $32). And while certain signature creations always remain on the menu, Leung also offers a regular rotation of special cakes and pastries. One of our favourites is the Earl Grey milk chocolate cake ($230/pound), which has two pieces of chocolate sponge separated by a light, tea-infused milk chocolate ganache. The cake is then decorated with miniature royal icing butterflies and translucent gelatin droplets. And though summer is coming to an end, Leung’s pineapple and coconut sea salt cake ($260/pound) is still worth a try. This refreshing dessert brings layers of vanilla sponge and coconut mousse together under a novel, pineapple-like exterior that’s crafted from dots of caramelised meringue.
Shop P421B, 4/F, World Trade Ctr, 280 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay, 2895 2099.
Gioia by Chi
‘Gioia’ means ‘joy’ in Italian and it is exactly what this health-conscious cake shop wants to bring people. A boutique pâtisserie in the food-filled streets of Kowloon City, Gioia opened its doors just over half a year ago and already the store has gained a growing fanbase. Xylitol, a natural sweetener, is used instead of regular white sugar in the many of the cakes here. It’s 10 times more expensive but you can’t tell the difference between the two ingredients. Made with this sweetener, Gioia’s popular Damascus Rose ($250/pound) – a refreshingly light yoghurt mousse cake with an aromatic strawberry-rose filling – can be enjoyed by diabetics and health nuts alike. The equally fluffy Grapefruit Frommage ($250/pound) uses fromage frais cheese from Normandy with a fresh grapefruit centre that gives off a perfectly balanced tang. Those who have egg or nut allergies can try the Earl Grey Chocolate cake ($250/pound), which is made with sugar-free Italian Icam chocolate.
Shop A, G/F, 35 Nam Kok Rd, Kowloon City, 2718 6618.
Chez Shibata’s exquisite selection of edible eye candy is a treat for the senses. French-trained Japanese pastry chef Takeshi Shibata is renowned for his unique style of traditional French desserts that carry a hint of Nippon influence. Shibata-san’s personal favorite is the Éclair au Beurre Sale ($34), a pastry that he’s spent plenty of time and hard work perfecting. This baked goodie is a tasty and balanced combination of choux puff pastry and fresh caramel custard topped with Bretagne butter and Spanish sea salt. The store’s other signature item is the Coeur des Bois ($38), a lovely heart-shaped vanilla and kirsch bavarois with raspberry purée filling arranged over a crunchy dacquoise base. And to celebrate Elements Mall’s four-year anniversary, Chez Shibata’s launched a limited edition almond tart garnished with freshly whipped cream, a ring of blueberries and mixed berry jelly.
Shop 2003, 2/F, Elements Mall, 1 Austin Rd, West Kowloon, 2196 8921; www.chez-shibata.com.hk.
Pastry Gems may be the perfect name for the Ritz-Carlton’s lobby-level cake shop. Delicate desserts sit like jewels inside the polished glass display cases and, behind the counter, baskets of French bread and pastries serve as a beautiful backdrop to the store. There are a handful of tables and chairs for sit-in enjoyment but because of the no-reservations policy and the store’s incessant popularity, we recommend getting the cakes to go. The daily dessert selection usually includes six to seven petite pastries. The dome-shaped Green Tea and Raspberry ($48) deserves special mention, built from fluffy tea mousse and raspberry gelée set over a piece of green tea sponge cake before being dusted off with an insanely fragrant matcha powder. Pastry Gems also does large-format desserts including a Pâte de Fruits tart ($248/pound), which has an exceptional sweet sable dough crust filled with vanilla pastry cream and seasonal fruits.
9/F, The Ritz-Carlton, ICC, 1 Austin Rd, West Kowloon, 2263 2263.
Dorothy So and Natasha Tong. Photography by Calvin Sit