They’re almost too cool to eat – cupcakes bearing golden snitches and broomsticks from Harry Potter’s world or the intricate sigils of the Houses of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros, a wedding cake topped by graphic novelist Neil Gaiman’s Endless, and even a chocolate cake replica of a Nintendo Family Computer, complete with controllers, cables and power outlets.
These are just a few of the geeky goodies created by the amazing hobbyists of the Regali Kitchen, a family-run venture named after the Italian word for “gift.” The Regali vision is to craft delicious custom-designed fondant cakes, each one a unique work of art. Then again, its chefs also create these unique cakes for the sheer fun of combining a passion for cooking with their literary or pop culture interests.
“We started making cakes because it’s a lot of fun. For now, it’s still more of a hobby than a business. We’re still testing the waters to see if this can become a lucrative endeavor,” says head chef JB Cada.
He says he inherited his love of food, especially Italian fare, from his mother, his first cooking teacher. “I remember my mom baking cakes and other goodies for us when we were kids. There was a birthday cake shaped like a rocket ship, and one shaped like a computer. I first learned to bake from her,” says Cada.
After a course in UP and a series of day jobs, JB studied at the Culinary Arts at Center for Asian Culinary Studies (CACS) where he learned sugar-craft and formal techniques. He and his girlfriend and business partner, Stephanie Santos currently operate the Regali Kitchen, with the occasional help of another friend, Jovan de Ocampo, (a UP art major) with some of the cake designs.
“One day, Jovan asked me to teach her how to work with fondant, and so one afternoon she, Stephanie and I played with our food. We were immediately hooked, and we haven’t stopped since,” says Cada.
Since they are geeks and gamers themselves, and having lots of geek friends, their creations are far from typical.
One of their most challenging designs was a chocolate-rum flavored cake designed after a client’s original Dungeons & Dragons Character. Their cake took the form of a model figurine complete with jewel encrusted sword, gilded shield, ball and chain mace, beside a cake decorated with D & D dice.
For a Narnia-themed wedding, they featured the presents given by Father Christmas to the Pevensie children (sword and shield for Peter, bow/arrow and horn for Susan, cordial and dagger for Lucy and gold leaves and a crown for Edmund) recreated as edible toppers on strawberry-lemonade flavored mini fondant cakes.
A set of cupcakes for a client’s 7th birthday had edible Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Ewoks, toppers while Han Solo in carbonite (all based on Lego Star Wars mini-figures) topped the centerpiece cake.
As for the butterbeer-flavored Harry Potter cupcakes made to celebrate the release of the last Harry Potter movie in July, they were the result of pure fandom.
“We really wanted to make Harry Potter-themed cupcakes, but no one was ordering them so we just made them for the heck of it and offered them as a promotional item,” says Cada.
For the cake base itself, their best-selling flavors include chocolate rum, chocolate with light caramel frosting, chocolate with cherry chocolate ganache, strawberry lemonade, blueberry lemonade, orange and poppy seed and a new flavor: Cardamon cake with rose or pomegranate frosting.
Premium Flavors include red velvet with cream-cheese frosting, carrot with cream-cheese frosting, banana and peanut butter and Callebaut Belgian chocolate.
Because of the uniqueness of each creation, the Regali Kitchen does not have a standard price list for their cakes and creations. According to Cada, prices vary depending on size and design complexity. Since they make most of their cakes for friends and family, he says that they make it a point to use only quality ingredients and materials.
“We take no shortcuts,” Cada says. “Consequently, production cost is high, and work hours are long.”
The orders keep pouring in from friends and family, but the Regali Kitchen is not concerned with making a profit.
“It’s never been about that,” says Cada. Their creations are unique, customized, so much so that they never repeat their own designs. Even if a client comes to them and asks them to recreate exactly the same cake, they always change things up.
“We like to draw inspiration from the different people we make cakes for, so no two cakes are the same. We try to inject as much of their personality as possible into each cake design, so that they can really say “That’s MY cake,” says JB.
For inquiries, visit www.regalikitchen.com or email [email protected] The Regali Kitchen No.40 Golden Street, Gloria 1, 1116 Tandang Sora, Philippines.
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