Wednesday, August 21, 2013

St Dominic's Cupcake Competition

Some weeks ago, the front veranda of Saint Dominic’s College became a street of stylish cafes. There was something to suit every taste, and as the choice might prove overwhelming, we appointed a panel of three discriminating food critics to visit the three restaurants and give us their report.

First visited was the Snowflake Café. A breath of wintry air seemed to greet the visitors as the cool whites and blues of the décor surrounded them and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling blew in the breeze of their entrance. A tiered tray of polar-bear cupcakes, besides contributing to the winter-wonderland theme, tempted the appetite as the bears’ cute faces seemed to be made of a soft creamy icing. But the proof is in the pudding, and in fact the inside was as good as the outside—a light and feathery crumb, rich in white chocolate and macadamia but not too sweet. With its atmosphere of understated elegance and top-quality baking, the Snowflake is the gourmet’s choice among the Saint Dominic’s Ave. cafes.

Moving from the cold polar snows to sun and sand, our tasters next visited Beachy Bliss, which proclaimed its vibrant yet relaxing atmosphere with Spanish-Celtic fusion background music, colourful beach towels and surfboards decorating the walls, and a waitress also decorated with a beach towel—worn on her head! The cupcakes here were served in ice-cream cones and iced to look—and taste—like various flavours of ice cream. The sweetness was overpowering, especially when combined with the very sweet chocolate milkshakes served—one rather wanted something like unsweetened iced tea! But with its colourful surroundings and light-hearted, outgoing staff, Beachy Bliss can be highly recommended to lighten the heart of any guest, most especially one with a sweet tooth.

Last but not least, our tasters came to the Swinging Singing Duck. The swinging sign outside the door featured a duck with an umbrella, in the style of an American cartoon or musical, but the music that met the ears was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. This delightful mix of classic and quirky elements was in evidence throughout the café; the cupcakes were chocolate with royal icing, but the latter was shaped into jumping frogs or swimming ducks; the walls were hung with graceful old-gold damask draperies and a landscape painting was centred on one wall, but raindrops, dragonflies and umbrellas hung from the ceiling and a singing, swinging duck was the centrepiece of the cupcake table. For an atmosphere that is at once elegant and homelike and cupcakes like Mum used to make—with a twist—our readers are advised to visit the Singing, Swinging Duck.