Not every dazzling cake or dessert served up at Christmas was created at home. Jane Dunbar reports.
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.’’
Tall order: Amelia Carson of Just Desserts puts finishing touches on a Christmas tree cake.