I am a lover of all things sweet and delicious. I personally love to bake and decorate cakes and cupcakes so naturally, the wedding cake is one of my favourite parts of a wedding. The fondant, sugar flowers, gorgeously piped decorations on wedding cakes always has me completely captivated. So I am super excited to have Jacinta Yu of Complete Deelite with me today to share a sprinkling of her love and passion for cake decorating.
Q. Can you tell me a little something about yourself?
Hmm that’s a great question. Before I discovered the world of cake decorating, I actually thought I wanted to be a chef. I look back and laugh now as I think what a disaster that would have been for me. I watch those cooking reality shows and admire the precision of all the chefs always being stuck in the pressure cooker making sure their sauces are always perfect. Cake decorating does take precision, but there is a lot of room for spontaneity and creativity which is perfect for me. I am so glad that cake decorating caught my eye before I hopped into culinary school.
Q. How long have you been passionate about baking and how did your interest in designing cakes come about?
I’ve always been passionate about celebrations. From a very young age, I loved to organise and plan out my own birthday parties. For some people, it’s a drag to plan their own birthday party but for me, my favorite part of an upcoming birthday celebration was being able to organize and plan my own celebrations and of course a big part of celebrations are birthday cakes. My love for cakes came about during college when I lived in New York. I was always inspired by bakeries – all sorts of bakeries – artisan bread bakeries, donut shops, cupcake shops, tea houses and gourmet supermarkets. I could watch someone for hours just prepping things in the kitchen. My friends used to say that I couldn’t past a bakeshop without looking at the window and it was true. I was always so fascinated by them. When I was very young, I thought I wanted to be an artist, I didn’t know what kind of artist but I knew I wanted to do something with art. Being a cake decorator was the perfect fit as I love to be a part of all kinds of celebrations as well as being able to access my creativity by decorating cakes.
I found out about Wilton School of Cake Decorating when I was at a Kitchen-Houseware show in Chicago. I was visiting a friend and thought I’d stop by the convention as I love food and was curious to see what this convention was about. It was there that I was struck by the cake decorating bug when I saw the Wilton booth with six cake decorators demonstrating all sorts of fabulous cake decorating techniques and ideas. There were pamphlets there with their class schedule, I grabbed one and 3 months later I enrolled into their Master Class and the rest is history.
Q. What sets you apart from others in Hong Kong?
When I opened my store in 2004, I really wanted it to be a one stop celebration shop where people could find things for their celebrations. Be it party supplies, cake decorating products & ingredients, balloons or taking the Wilton cake decorating classes, I wanted our store to inspire people to celebrate life. It was a very new concept and I still think some people have a hard time explaining what our store is about because it is a very unique idea. We have all the party supplies, balloons, cake products and classes and we also offer services for us to decorate the cake for you if you’re not interested in decorating your cake. People did not understand why I would teach others to decorate cakes if I also offered the service of baking and decorating the cake for them. I always said, there are people like me who love to get involved with every aspect of the celebration. There are also many other people who really don’t find it enjoyable to decorate let alone be in a kitchen. That’s how the whole store concept came about.
Q. Where do you find inspiration for your cake designs?
It’s a combination of the clients’ ideas and us working together to create something they want for their celebration.
Q. What do you love about designing cakes?
I love being a part of so many memorable moments – 90th birthdays, weddings, 100 day baby parties, anniversaries, welcome home, thank you parties. How could you not love decorating cakes?
Q. Are there any limits on what you can do for a cake? In Asia there are a lot of multi-tiered wedding cakes, what is the largest number of tiers that you’ve done for a wedding cake?
We recently did a 9 tier wedding cake for 1,600 people. I always say, there are some obvious limits like I couldn’t do 1,000 tier cakes, but we can get creative with structure, think out of the box and always think of something spectacular for each client.
Q. I’ve seen an increasing trend to have cupcakes at weddings rather than the traditional wedding cake. Is that the case at Complete Deelite?
We’ve been doing cupcake towers for 9 years now and it’s pretty much a classic main stay. It’s not really considered a novel idea but rather a design option that is preferred by the couple. The couple usually knows right away whether they like to have a cupcake tower or traditional wedding cake.
Q. What are your favourite wedding cake ideas to date?
I really like traditional wedding cakes with lots of flowers that match the couple’s wedding decor. It ties the ambiance together so elegantly.
Q. What do you recommend couples to start with when they’re planning their wedding cake?
It’s nice to always bring pictures of what they like, have a general idea of color scheme, and a general budget in mind.
Q. How do you work with the couple on their wedding cake?
We schedule a first consultation where we get to know the couple’s style, color ideas and preferences. At the second consultation w work on tasting, price options and sketch and at the third consultation, we finalise the order and design. For overseas couples we can work on condensing the three consultations into one meeting.
Q. What cake trends do you see in the future?
I think the old school look is slowly making a comeback. Royal icing lace & string work. Like the royal wedding cake Princess Kate & Prince William had.
Q. What are three things a couple must consider when deciding on their wedding cake?
Weather & Venue may affect the overall structure possibilities of the cake. If the couple chooses to use fresh flowers on their cake, they should choose quality flowers as it will really make or break the overall look of the entire cake. We could spend hours making the design of the cake look absolutely flawless but if the fresh flowers are of poor quality, it really brings the overall look of the cake down a few notches. My general rule of thumb is this, if the quality of the flowers are nice enough to give to an in law then the flower quality is perfect. Also, when choosing a wedding cake design, you have to slowly weed out your design to your three favourite designs. If you try to combine too many elements and colors, your cake will look very confusing.
Q. What’s next for Complete Deelite?
We are really looking into offering more specialty cake decorating classes in Asia. The core of our business is to inspire creativity.
Thank you for joining me today Jacinta. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing Jacinta’s DIY Mother’s Day cupcake idea so it’s time to dust off those aprons and spatulas and get baking. In the meantime, if you ever need a fabulous cake, party supplies, cake decorating tools or even want to learn how to pipe a perfect rose, make sure you check out everything Complete Deelite has to offer at their Central store. You can also see more of Jacinta’s delicious creations at Complete Deelite’s website and blog.
2 Fl. On Lan Centre
11-15 On Lan Street