Desserts for uncommon occasions

More than 2 million people get married every year in the United States. But did you know that 877,000 people get divorced each year? That’s a lot of potential business in divorce cakes.

“We’ve done all of the Kardashian wedding and divorce cakes,” notes Patrick Hansen of Hansen’s Cakes, which is widely known in Southern California as the cake bakery to the stars. On the wall inside Hansen’s bakery in Los Angeles is a collection of celebrity cake photos that feature such stars as Kim and Kourtney Kardashian, Tori Spelling and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Hansen’s produces one-of-a-kind cakes for special and uncommon occasions, like the season finale party of Breaking Bad, AMC’s critically acclaimed television series.

Other Southern California bakeries are jumping on the “uncommon event” bandwagon to create special cakes for unique events. At Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill, CA, same-sex wedding cakes are gaining popularity after same-sex marriage became legal in California in 2008.

“We do 60 to 70 wedding cakes a week. Lately, it’s perked up a little bit with more same-sex marriages,” says Charles Feder, co-owner at Rossmoor Pastries.

During a recent trip to Rossmoor Pastries, one cake featured a lesbian couple’s photo image on top of a beautifully adorned birthday cake.
 
Rossmoor Pastries is one of about 30 businesses listed on the Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center’s new Marriage Equality Wedding Directory. The center compiled the list as a means for gay and lesbian couples who are planning marriage ceremonies to find LGBT-friendly bakeries like Rossmoor Pastries as well as florists, jewelers and others.

And yet divorce cakes appear to be the newest trend that is sweeping the cake decorating world. The Huffington Post recently took notice of a dozen divorce cakes, most of which celebrated the phrase “free at last.”

Specializing in custom desserts

One of the cakes featured by Huffington Post came from Peridot Sweets, which opened in November of 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.

Peridot Sweets specializes in custom cakes, dessert displays and edible wedding and party favors. “From first glance to last bite, we have always prided ourselves on the design and flavor of every single creation we make. Everything is made entirely from scratch and tailored to fit your celebration and theme, ensuring lasting memories for you and your guests. We use only the freshest, highest quality ingredients; just the thought of using vegetable shortening in any of our products makes us cringe,” writes the bakery’s owner Tiffany Jones.

“Vegas is indulgent in so many ways—the gambling, the shows, the buffets—but sometimes all you need is a chocolate fix!” Jones says.

Inventive and fun, Peridot Sweets puts their own twist on familiar tastes and classic treats—their Peridot Gemmes (think gourmet Twix) and Krispy Krunchy Treats (Rice Krispies treats mixed with Crunch Berries cereal and then dipped in white chocolate) are customer favorites. Other delights include chocolate-dipped fruit and pretzels, turtles, gluten-free macarons and cupcakes. "Our desserts don't discriminate," Jones says.

The bakery creates unique cakes and desserts for everything from elegant weddings to cupcake-decorating parties. Looking at the custom desserts they’ve made, you see the artistry at work behind the counter. Peridot Sweets makes presentation a priority—the bakery’s interior is bold and clean, predominantly white with yellow and green accents to suggest peridot (the August birthstone for Tiffany and the bakery). The fresh, modern style is paired with antique white cabinets that display the cake stands, sample cakes, chocolate boxes and birthday candles in a room bathed in natural light.

Tiffany Jones and her husband Jason are veterans of the five-star foodservice industry. She is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy’s Baking & Pastry program and baked for Four Seasons Hotels (Las Vegas and California), as well as working under Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) Pastry Chef Stephane Treand. Prior to venturing off to fulfill her dream, Tiffany was the Assistant Pastry Chef of the Mirage Hotel & Casino.

Signature sweet treats

In other parts of the country, dessert and pastry shops are rolling out the red carpet with new creations that raise the bar for how consumers perceive traditional bakery products.
 
Macaron Parlour, a trend-setting coffee and pastry shop, opened its second location in February at 560 Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, NY. The new shop features some exciting differences from their original St. Marks shop, while remaining true to the brand. For one, the patisserie will feature a full Blue Bottle espresso bar, not just pour over coffee.

They also serve their famous macarons (the line features both traditional flavors and quirky infusions, ranging from the savory to the sweet), and other best-selling pastries including kitchen sink cookies (gluten-free), bacon, gruyere and scallion scones, tomato pesto pretzels, cheesecake, chocolate chip fleur de sel cookies, pastries like the crème brûlée and s’mores donuts, and a croissant that even impresses native French speakers.

Christina Ha and Simon Tung are the talented married couple behind Macaron Parlour. They have a shared love of pastries and entrepreneurship, which have been combined to great success.  Between Christina’s culinary training at La Haute Pâtisserie Pierre Hermé in Paris and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, and Simon’s extraordinary people skills, they’re firing on all cylinders.  

After participating in Hester Street Fair, Madison Square Eats and other pop-up markets around the city, Simon and Christina opened the doors to their first brick and mortar location, located at 111 St. Mark’s Place, in August 2012. The charming patisserie quickly amassed a loyal neighborhood following; Macaron Parlour regulars rave about the casual atmosphere, strong coffee and pastries and macarons.

Further, as the shop is situated between two animal hospitals, Christina and Simon will also sell homemade dog treats. Even four-legged friends are welcome to join the Macaron Parlour family.