There’s a bit of a baked-goods THING going on around Cracked City.
I wouldn’t exactly call it a cake WAR, as such. This isn’t West Side Story – the Scones vs. the Donuts – or whatever (though to be fair, I would pay good money to see that musical). But maybe there’s more of a cake HIERARCHY. Specifically, around the small-scale, indie, bakers.
Is this an issue that other cities face? Is this a pressing thing that your guides and blogs are furiously documenting, like ‘PICK YOUR SIDE’ …or is that just another of one of the very unusual, niche, things about this Cracked City?
Either way. For a city of our size, we sure do have a lot of small scale, exceptional, baked goods operators out there. Most have popped up in the last few years, emerging at markets and gaining their own followings and fans. It’s not a bad predicament to have.
My issue here, which is the same issue I repeatedly have with Cracked City, and one of the main reasons I started this site to begin with, is that I don’t feel that the right makers get the love and attention that they deserve. That, weirdly, in this baking sector there’s a definite clique and the ones heralded as the LOCAL SUPERSTARS, to be honest, act way too cool…snooty, and get a disproportionate level of attention, compared the quality of product they deliver.
But in Chch, it’s so often a case of WHO you know, rather than WHAT you do – and your social and professional status & recognition rests on this. In a city of not even half a million people, this can propel you to becoming a BIG ARROGANT FISH in a SMALL POND, very fast.
Which is, again, why I’m here. Taking the time and effort to write these words, off my own back. Because I care, and want to tell you, about the BEST STUFF. The honest stuff. Free of the cool-kid cliques and social-media -circle-jerks.
One of the very best Cracked City baked goods producers out there, that you need to experience ASAP, is The Great Pastry Shop. Their goods are a bloody majestic delight – both taste and looks wise. I always think about that montage in Marie Antoinette where Kirsten Dunst and her giggling powder-wigged pals are reveling in exquisite fabrics, feathers, champagne and scoffing their beautiful faces on the finest patisserie.
Great Pastry Shop is THAT level of beauty, European stylings and artisan skill.
But this is the thing. Cakes are not just about the looks. Sure something can look pretty, but what if it’s dry, cloyingly sickly, or just a bit bland. The flavour has gotta stack up.
Well for Great Pastry Shop, the taste…oooh bloody hell mates. Their little tarts are morsels of perfection. Always just the perfect size for one. Rich, sweet and decadent, but never too much. The perfect balance of flavour and texture. The pastry always crisp, delicate and short. Then inside, as you crack into whatever flavour you have selected, is always a little surprise of a sauce or curd or fruit, to garner another little gasp of delight from you, before that first mouthful finishes you off completely.
They have their regular flavours (lemon cheesecake meringue tarts, lamingtons), but there’s always a seasonal special of the day (white chocolate mango, cherry and dark chocolate, toffee apple), to keep you on your toes, and make decision-making harder. And as well as their individual tarts (my personal favourite) they also sell epic multi-layered cakes by the slice, mini pavlovas, and both sweet and savoury pastries.
At present they have no store, so you can only find them at weekend markets – Riccarton Farmers Market, Arts Centre Sunday Market, Saturday night markets and will also make to order via their website.
I’ve developed a bit of a habit of walking my dog down to the Arts Centre market on a Sunday morning, selecting a tart of desire, taking it home and enjoying it for dessert as the perfect end of week fuck-yeah-I’m-gonna-smash-next-week / be-your-own-bae power move. Sometimes I’ll eat it in the bath, whilst drinking prosecco. Live your best Marie Antoinette life, is my motto.
I like to place my tart on an incredibly ornate vintage, patterned, china, saucer. Which saucer I pick depends on the flavour of tart, and what will create the most aesthetically pleasing combination.
Then I always try to film, then post to my Instagram story, the exact moment I break into the surface with my fork, sexily pushing the voluptuous bulge of the cream, piercing the smooth, skin of the surface, creating a beautiful, sexy wobble and OOZE as the liquid inside escapes and floods the plate in glistening puddle of sweet, sticky, perfection.
My friends all do the same.
We then all reply to each other’s suggestive cake videos with various expletives, groans, and lewd emojis.
We have now labelled ourselves the #HornyGirlsCakeClub.
And with that, I don’t think there is a greater compliment to bestow on a baked good? After all, what is the point of eating cake if it is not euphoric?
We love you, Great Pastry Shop.
The Horny Girls Cake Club
CHRISTCHURCH FARMERS MARKET – SATURDAY 9-1pm
ARTS CENTRE MAKETE– SUNDAY 10-4pm