So you’ve already worked out my predilection towards afternoon tea and its cakey delights. Well, I’m not fussy. I can do afternoon tea in the comfort of my own home too!
However, given my cooking skills (I once exploded a bowl of rice in a microwave), I prefer to leave the baking to the professionals. I’d heard that Sift cupcakes were the best in town so decided to grab a few from their Wan Chai patisserie to devour back at the ranch.
Almost all the gush I’d heard had been for their Red Velvet cupcakes so they were top of my must-try list. As I weighed up my other options (there were over a dozen different varieties of cupcake to choose from, all $22), a girl giggled her way in, queue-jumped me and promptly pinched the last two Red Velvet cakes on display. Never mind red velvet, red smoke began flaring from my nostrils. ‘Are the cakes on display all you have?’ I asked counter girl #1. She informed me that this was the case. My growls probably reverberated all the way down Queen’s Road!
I was just about to do an indignant huff out of the shop, when counter girl #2 (i.e. competent counter girl) located a Red Velvet lurking round the back. I rounded up my order with a Luscious Chocolate and an Oreo (catering to my boyfriend’s specific pre-request of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting!) and skipped happily out of the shop, hoping that for $66, I was about to get the cupcake experience of my life. I wasn’t far wrong.
I’ve often found American-style cupcakes, toppling over with a top-heavy frosting to sponge ratio, have a tendency to be too heavy, too rich and simply too sickly-sweet. Indulgent paradise for the first few mouthfuls; claggy sticky death by cupcake towards the end. Sift’s, however, were none of the above. I have to complement their sponge the most – light, smooth and fluffy but moist and rich, the went down far too easily and quickly given the amount of calories involved!
The much-heralded Red Velvet (light chocolate cake dyed red, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla cream cheese frosting): The moist but feather-light sponge with a soft dainty chocolate taste was a delight but I wasn’t so keen on the topping. Admittedly, I wasn’t actually aware that it was cream cheese… An immediately potent punch of ultra-sweet, super-smooth cream, almost like custard, with a twangy tangy hit. Not my favourite but that’s purely personal taste.
Luscious Chocolate (Valrhona dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate buttercream frosting): In the words of Apprentice Season 4 winner, Lee McQueen – ‘That’s what I’m talking about!’ One for all the chocoholics out there (I’m a fully-paid, season-ticket holder), this was pure indulgence in a cupcake liner. The thicker consistency of the frosting was more what I expect of buttercream whilst the whole thing was rich, dense, dark heady hit after hit of intense chocolate flavour but without being overpowering. Yum.
Oreo (Valrhona dark chocolate cake, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla buttercream): Smells like an Oreo, tastes like an Oreo but apparently, not an Oreo… Again, the sponge was a decadent dream of deep chocolate whilst the topping was, by some strange cupcake sorcery, pure Oreo although it seems no Oreos were hurt in the making of this cake. The two sides complemented each other perfectly whilst the stiffer, more icing-like texture of the frosting made it a pleasantly less gooey gobble. The boyfriend was all smiles with this one.
So… orgasmic noises all round, much licking of chocolate-y smears from lips/fingers/plate, two cupcake-scented happy customers. Best cupcakes in Hong Kong? Definite contenders for the crown… and there’s a whole pantheon of other cakes, pastries and cookies to try yet! As long as giggling girl doesn’t thwart my plans, that is…!
Sift Patisserie, 43 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0084, closed Mondays