Ten months in, one can safely declare 2015 the year of desserts.
From eclairs to fancy soft serves on waffles, to churros and Thai-style coconut ice cream, dessert lovers are devouring these offerings – and working off the sugar high by posting photos of their just-devoured sweet confections on social media.
And now, enter the cakeshake.
A decadent ice-cream milkshake, stacked with cake slices, candy floss and marshmallows, this attention-grabbing treat in a glass jar is said to have originated in Australia.
A bakery-cafe in Canberra, called Patissez, is credited for sparking the trend in July, when it started selling the cakeshakes it dubbed “freakshakes”.
Since then, the craze has spread quickly across Australia.
Image: The Straits Times, Alicia Chan
At Cake Spade (01-06, Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link, cakeshakes available from 5.30pm (weekday), and from 1.30pm (Saturday), closed on Sunday, tel: 6444-3868), owner Zenn Ng, 27, has perfected a formula that ensures the cakeshake does not topple.
Cream is whipped until it is stiff, and forms the layer between the ice-cream shake and other ingredients. That way, the wafers and cake do not sink too quickly into the drink and turn soggy.
Chocolate bars or biscuits are strategically placed as well, to prop up cake slices. Customers wait at least 10 minutes for their orders.
The menu has four flavours, priced between $14.90 and $16.90.
There is matcha adzuki with green tea ice-cream milkshake topped with matcha goma cake, cornflakes, green tea wafer and red beans; and Rodeo, which is a cookie and cream milkshake with red velvet cheesecake, mini Oreo cookies, Kit Kat bars, and torched mini marshmallows.
Then there is Unicone, a vanilla ice-cream shake with red velvet cake, coloured wafers and candy floss; and Mudslide, a chocolatelover’s dream with dark chocolate ice-cream milkshake, chocolate cake, torched marshmallows, and caramel popcorn.
Ms Ng says: “We made sure that every element in the cakeshake complements one anther, and tweaked the flavours many times so that the shakes are not too sweet. The cakeshakes are also a good way to introduce customers to our cakes.”
On weekends, Cake Spade sometimes sells as many as 40 cakeshakes a day. Occasionally, they sell out way before closing time.
Over at Forum The Shopping Mall, The Benjamins (01-20/21, 583 Orchard Road, shakes available from noon daily, or until sold out, tel: 6887-4117), formerly known as Benjamin Browns, also sees strong demand for its vanilla bean ice-cream-based shakes ($16 each).
The bistro’s manager Pearlyn Tan, 24, aptly calls them “over-the-top shakes”.
She can easily sell up to 200 glasses a day on weekends.
On top of their more classic flavours such as Nutella Banana and Cookies & Cream, The Benjamins also has more trendy ones such as Thai milk tea, with coconut ice cream; Milo Dinosaur; and coffee avocado, that comes topped with sliced avocado as well.
And while Ms Tan is planning more trendy flavours – a twist on the mango pomelo sago dessert from Hong Kong is in the pipeline – she also hopes that the hype does not overshadow the bistro’s food.
She says: “When we introduced the shakes, we did not expect such hype. Once it dies down, we hope people will come back for our food and cakes.”
For diners, it looks like the craze is far from over.
Mr Lew Choon Hock, 31, a biotechnologist who was with his three colleagues, was excited to try the cakeshakes at Cake Spade.
After polishing off two cakeshakes, Mr Lew declared to Life: “I want to lick the mug. We didn’t know where to start eating at first, but that’s also what makes it fun to eat.
“But I need to head to the gym after this.”
Student Sherine Lim, 19, says: “I have seen many pictures of the cakeshakes and I had to try them with my friends at The Benjamins. I like that they have trendy flavours such as Thai milk tea. It’s a bit on the sweet side, but I like it that way.”
This story was first published in The Straits Times on October 4, 2015. For similar stories, go to www.sph.straitstimes.com/lifestyle.
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