Susanne Ng started baking for her kids. The stay-at-home mum, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering, soon realised that chiffon sponge is a practical choice for children’s cakes: There is much less sugar required in the recipe compared to butter cakes and fondant, and the fluffy crumb is more palatable for kids.
Chiffon is notoriously difficult to work with because it’s soft and spongy, but Susanne quickly discovered that she had a flair for turning chiffon cakes into whimsical 3-D designs.
Fruits, animals, stuffed toys and cartoon characters are her sources of inspiration, and she relies on a huge collection of moulds – even egg shells and paper cones – to bake and assemble the shapes she needs.
She’s always up for a challenge, be it taking on complex designs (like snowflakes) or chasing unusual flavours (durian was one of the most outlandish she’s tried) for her chiffon cakes.
Among her most unusual 3-D cakes: A mermaid’s tail, a two-tiered pineapple-and-watermelon cake, a burger, and a platter of kueh. Susanne’s chiffon cakes are also available in the form of cake pops and cupcakes.
How much: From $100 for a 7-inch chiffon cake with simple 3-D designs (serves 12 to 20); and from $4 a piece for cake pops and cupcakes
Order at least: one month ahead
Tasneem Noor and her Swedish husband, Joakim Smidhagen, were pioneers in making cafe culture accessible to Singapore’s Muslim population when they first opened Fika Swedish Cafe & Bistro in trendy Kampong Glam.
Konditori (Swedish for patisserie) opened subsequently as a halal-certified, European-styled bakery and cafe. While their Scandinavian-inspired brick-and-mortar storefront serves tarts and breads, the couple also takes in orders for custom cakes.
Their trendy, Instagram-worthy bakes are usually butter cakes – they also do flavours like earl grey, and chocolate lingonberry – dressed in fondant; Joakim draws on his background in fine art and graphic design to fashion intricate cake toppers – mermaids, robots, superheros and more – out of gum paste and fondant.
Character cakes make up the bulk of the requests, but their “watercolour” cakes with macaron toppings are very popular, too. For aspiring ballerinas, consider a pretty-in-pink number with buttercream petals and fondant ballet shoes.
How much: From $250 for a 6-inch custom cake (serves six) with a cake topper and simple fondant decoration
Order at least: Two weeks ahead
When it comes to custom designs, most bakers rely on dense butter cakes for structural stability. But Regina Eng of @spiffycakes stands out for doing hers with chiffon and sponge cake bases, which she offers in flavours such as Valrhona chocolate, red velvet, strawberry, and even in rainbow layers.
She may have started her baking adventures three years ago for practical reasons – to get more mileage out of her then-new oven – but she has since developed quite the knack for using buttercream.
She’s highly sought after for her gorgeous 3-D flowers – from simple rosettes to sumptuously detailed hydrangeas and cherry blossoms – and she’s just as adept at draping cakes with adorable buttercream illustrations of cartoon and animal characters, or putting together a dreamy unicorn cake with rainbow-hued buttercream flowers for a mane.
How much: From $70 (serves eight) for a 6-inch sponge and chiffon cakes with custom decorations; from $80 rainbow or red-velvet cake bases
Order at least: One week ahead
Celebrate With Cake!
If money is no object, a dessert extravaganza by Celebrate With Cake! is the way to go when you’re ready to pull out all the stops for a birthday celebration.
Owner and head-baker Veronica Yang makes magic with fondant: Think incredibly life-like 3-D cakes sculpted in the form of Star Wars’ beloved BB8; a tiered ocean-themed cake with fondant figurines of marine creatures; and hand-crafted, edible carousel cakes that actually rotate!
Her themed dessert tables are show-stopping affairs, too. The entire set-up, from the backdrop and foam standees, down to the table decorations and party favour boxes, and of course, the assortment of treats, are all customised to the theme.
Butter cakes are de rigeur when it comes to this type of extensive fondant work, and Veronica slathers the layers with Italian buttercream filling, available in flavours like speculoos, salted caramel, lychee and passionfruit.
How much: From $180 for a 5-inch butter cake with 2-D design (serves 10); from $300 for 3-D cakes (serves 25 to 40); and from $650 for rotating carousel cakes (serves 50). From $2,280 for dessert tables (serves 30 to 40).
Order at least: Two weeks ahead
Unlike most online bakeries that provide quotes only upon request, Ethel Tan and Shaun Ong – the couple behind Edith Patisserie – have put up a digital catalogue with full prices.
The website is chockfull of all the latest trendy designs: Galaxy cakes, ombre cakes, naked cakes with fresh flowers – you name it.
Their 3-D buttercream cakes – shaggy monsters, puppies and more – are downright adorable, and the “ice cream sundae” concept, complete with rainbow sprinkles, is a hot favourite at children’s parties, too.
For these “semi-customised cakes” , customers can pick the size and flavour, specify the number of candles, and add a fondant topper before checking out.
Alternatively, have them create a whole new design based on Junior’s preferences. The duo mainly sticks to buttercream for decorative work, and their meringue-based sponge (billed as lighter than typical butter cakes) can be ordered in flavours such as pandan coconut gula melaka, and rum and raisin, in addition to the standard set.
How much: From $48 for a 6-inch cake (serves five to eight)
Order at least: Two weeks ahead for new cake designs, and one week ahead for existing designs.
This bakery’s fondant creations are a sight to behold: Kids cakes include designs like The Little Prince (pictured), Garfield and the usual cute animals. Calling themselves an “artisanal custom cake company creating beautiful cakes and pastries”, Susucre‘s cakes are works of art you and your little ones will love.
Baker's Brew Studio
Specialising in fancy cakes for celebrations, Baker’s Brew Studio has some very talented cake artists at the helm, based on their fun and whimsical designs. With flavours like Coffee Melaka, Ondeh Ondeh and Salted Caramel Chocolate, their in-house cake flavours are too yummy to resist. They also offer baking classes and workshops for those interested in improving their baking skills