Sweet cheat­ing

Not ev­ery daz­zling cake or dessert served up at Christ­mas was cre­ated at home. Jane Dun­bar re­ports.

The Press - Zest - - Eat -

You may not be the cre­ator of that fab­u­lous Christ­mas dessert you’re serv­ing, but noone is go­ing to give you away.

So says An­drew Clarke, owner of Just Desserts. When asked if some peo­ple try to pass off a bought dessert as their own, Clarke says: ‘‘I’m sure some peo­ple do. But their se­cret is safe with us.’’

Christ­mas is boom time for cake and dessert mak­ers and there are busi­nesses sprin­kled through­out the city where you can or­der some­thing spe­cial for Christ­mas Day.

Just Desserts has to put on an ex­tra night shift of bak­ers on De­cem­ber 23 to cope with or­ders.

‘‘Christ­mas Eve is the big­gest day of the year for us,’’ Clarke says.

‘‘Peo­ple go all out for Christ­mas Day. We do our favourites like pavlova roulades and pavlo­vas and choco­late rasp­berry tortes and dec­o­rate them with fresh berries and Christ­mas gar­nishes and dec­o­ra­tions.’’

The gar­nishes side of the business has seen the great­est change re­cently, with cus­tomers in­creas­ingly ask­ing for ‘‘edi­ble ta­ble or­na­ments’’, such as iced Christ­mas trees and ginger­bread bis­cuits.

Christ­mas fruit cakes are still popular, he says, but they are of­ten in ad­di­tion to dec­o­rated desserts.

Have we be­come too busy to make our own cakes and desserts?

Yes and no, says Clarke. It all de­pends on what day of the week Christ­mas falls on.

For ex­am­ple, if Christ­mas is at the start of the week and busi­nesses have closed early the week be­fore, then peo­ple have more time to make their own cakes and desserts, so there’s a no­tice­able de­cline in or­ders.

With Christ­mas on a Thurs­day this year, ‘‘it’s very good for us’’.

Most cus­tomers spend around $50 on a Christ­mas cake or dessert, but it’s not un­com­mon for some to spend $300 to $400.

One change Clarke has seen since the earth­quakes is that work­places seem to be stag­ing more elab­o­rate cel­e­bra­tions. Through De­cem­ber, or­ders pour in for fes­tive-themed choco­late cakes and yule­tide logs and Christ­mas cakes for par­ties.

‘‘Since the earth­quakes, a lot of busi­nesses are re­ally cel­e­brat­ing those things now; mak­ing more of an ef­fort with staff.’’

Photo: JOSEPH JOHN­SON

Tall or­der: Amelia Car­son of Just Desserts puts fin­ish­ing touches on a Christ­mas tree cake.

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