Bonnae Gokson puts her flair for creating beautiful cakes on display in her new book
Atowering wedding cake more than two metres tall, mauve and pale pink, and studded with moonstones and Swarovski diamantes; a spectacular creation, suspended from a ballroom ceiling, featuring 200 kilos of sugar flowers; simple but stylish one-tiered beauties. All hail from the impressive repertoire of creative visionary Bonnae Gokson, each individually crafted to flawlessly fit a unique celebratory scene.
Bonnae is well known for her incomparable style and for her cakes. She began her career as a visual merchandiser and fashion buyer, then worked with her sister Joyce Ma, founder of Joyce. Much of Bonnae’s early career revolved around fashion and design, but she also launched Joyce Cafes. Later, the idea of having her own restaurant arose and, in 2008, she opened dining hotspot Sevva atop Landmark Prince’s, having also designed the exquisite interiors. Sevva proved to be a big success, as were the cakes Bonnae created for its diners, and Ms B’s Cakery soon followed.
“I’m proud to be the first person in Hong Kong to have changed the dynamics of the cake industry. We added the aesthetics, textures and dimension to cakes and it’s been a great hit ever since,” says Bonnae, who soon added Ms B’s Weddings and C’est La B cafes to her portfolio. And she hasn’t stopped there. In 2013, Bonnae published her first book, Butterflies and All Things Sweet, which won awards in France, the US and Australia. She is following up this year with Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams. Her second book provides a fascinating insight into Bonnae’s creative process, particularly when it comes to wedding cakes—from inspiration to realisation, always with a focus on individuality.
The idea for Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams came to Bonnae after she saw photos from the wedding of a celebrity couple. “I just thought their cake was quite a let-down. It looked roughly finished and didn’t match the romantic setting of the rest of their wedding.” In jarring Bonnae’s innate aesthetic eye, it inspired her to present a more refined approach to the subject of wedding cakes and their seamless yet striking integration into weddings, wherever and for whomever they might be. The book features stunning wedding-related images from celebrations around the world, ranging from Indonesia and India to Mexico, Nigeria and China, with many more locations in between. It examines all aspects of a big day, from dress and decor to artistry, architecture and age-old customs. These celebratory scenarios are accompanied by exquisitely crafted cakes, envisioned and designed by Bonnae to work coherently within their setting.
The beautiful assemblage has been more than two years in the making, each image painstakingly considered, with many sourced from high-profile photographers, to accompany her carefully imagined and crafted cakes. “The book is not just for bridesto-be but for anyone who appreciates beauty, artistry and love in all its forms,” Bonnae says.
The cake of which Bonnae is perhaps most proud is a sweet creation crafted to pair with a stunning couture wedding gown by designer Vera Wang. “I designed a cake that has our signature topping of
Weddings, Butterflies and the Sweetest Dreams by Bonnae Gokson will be available in Hong Kong and around the world in October 2018 cotton candy and hand-painted macarons,” says Bonnae. “It is unique, as it takes great skill just to style and twist the cotton candy.” Bonnae was also very honoured that Vera Wang and Iris Apfel, both of whom are superstars in the fashion world, wrote the foreword to her book.
Similar high-precision work is on display throughout the book. There is a red cake made entirely of sugar-crafted ruby roses; a naked cake intricately covered in lace-like icing; an Indian wedding-inspired cake with gold and jewel-like decoration atop richly hued pink, orange and red tiers. One cake is adorned with beautifully handwritten poetry; another is inspired by the details a bride might find on her wedding cheongsam; and there are cakes imagined to fit perfectly into the weddings of high-profile couples such as Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“You will see a lot of different cakes,” says Bonnae. “I don’t really have one style because I believe that when doing wedding cakes, you have to listen to what other people want— you are doing it for the wedding couple, not yourself.” And that’s why so many couples come to her for a wedding cake. Bonnae ensures she has a clear picture in her mind of what a couple’s big day will look like, so that her creation fits perfectly. “You are trying to manifest whatever is the most beautiful for their special day.”
However, most of Bonnae’s clients like to leave their cake’s aesthetics up to her. And with her eye for style, love for all things beautiful and her enviable creative vision, all of which are so prominently on display in her restaurant, cake boutiques, cafes and books, what bride’s big day wouldn’t be the sweeter—and more stylish—for leaving at least the cake in Bonnae’s capable hands?
“I don’t really have one style because I believe that when doing wedding cakes, you have to listen to what other people want”
QUEEN BEE After a career in fashion, Bonnae Gokson moved into the culinary realm, with Ms B’s Cakery quickly garnering a reputation for exquisite cakes that taste as good as they look