When did cakes become so beautiful that people find it hard to slice them?
There is no better way to make someone feel special than with a slice of cake. Just the image of it brings joy and immediately uplifts anyone’s spirit. For years, cakes have been one of the important factors that take any celebration to the next level. It also marks exceptional milestones in life—from the first birthdays and wedding anniversaries to Mother’s and Father’s day and graduation celebrations, and more. There is always a good reason to have a piece of cake. And through the years, cake making has been taken to newer heights, turning simple bakes into one-of-a-kind pieces of edible art.
That’s what’s happening in a humble kitchen in Manila. Since the pandemic, baker and proprietor Geraldine Santiago has been serving cakes that not only taste good but also look amazing with her brand Bbakery. First a children’s clothes designer, she sets aside the sewing machine and garment patterns for now and fulfilled her passion for baking and decorating cakes.
“My first cakes were done entirely by me, together with my cook and house helper,” she tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “We were a team of three. I studied various information materials on Youtube and improvised. Later on, I enrolled in several online courses to refine my cakes both in terms of taste and aesthetics.”
While Geraldine and her husband have already found success in making children’s clothes, she developed the concept of BBakery to honor her late mom, Betty Chu. Hence, the added B on the brand’s name. With her mom as the guiding element of the bakery and her artistic skills, Geraldine was able to create and produce cakes that are true masterpieces, igniting fun and beauty amid the chaos brought by the pandemic. After launching the brand in March 2021, her clientele grew beyond just family and friends.
“Operating during the pandemic was a challenge because I had to source ingredients, including imported fruits. I had to make sure that those who delivered the cakes know how to handle them, especially the delicate ones. I had to invest in chillers, the right pans, and other equipment,” Geraldine muses. “I had to get feedback from early customers to see whether the cakes were too sweet or, in terms of form, whether the cakes easily melted and would not last a few hours.”
The brand’s success lies in Geraldine’s top pick of ingredients. She knows that to create something that is special requires great components. For that to happen, she sources her ingredients internationally. She uses King Arthur Flour from the US for her bakes, French butter for her buttercream cakes, and food pigments sourced from Australia, among others.
Among her customers’ favorite cakes are the ones with her hand-painting. Cakes become her canvas as she picks up her brush and does delicate strokes on its surface. The result is something truly magnificent, like a watercolor painting that deserves a place in any of Manila’s top galleries. Her imagination also branched out to customized and sculpted cakes. In the past, Geraldine and her team have turned cakes into art in homage to golfers, computer game addicts, and basketball and football fanatics. She even designed cakes for a legal luminary with design elements such as scales, law books, and the like.
“Our floral cakes and theme cakes are known for their artistry,” she says. “I received comments from some customers that they have a hard time slicing our floral and hand-painted cakes because the artwork can pass for museum pieces. So our cakes are indeed different and have become a conversation piece at parties, which also make them ideal presents.”
Apart from the painted and themed cakes, Geraldine also takes pride in the brand’s signature creation, the Celebrate Cake. Just imagine a light sponge cake filled with tropical fruits and velvety cream all covered by melt-in-your-mouth gelatin. Calling it stunning is an understatement.
“I am fortunate to now have a steady stream of repeat customers, some of whom buy cakes every month. I believe that the reason for this is because I try to maintain the quality of all my cakes, the production of which is highly supervised as to quality and aesthetics,” Geraldine says. “I like to believe that what makes Bbakery stand out in this growing industry is our adherence to quality above all, never shortchanging our customers and selling our cakes for a fair price.”
While Bbakery has been lauded for its glass cakes and creative cakes, the brand also produces a variety of desserts people shouldn’t miss trying Their line of regular cakes include delectable coffee jelly and Ferrero Rocher flavors, a mango and strawberry cake, and the classics like chocolate and caramel cakes. She has also made cakes that are less sweet using monk’s fruit, a sugar substitute, for a more health-friendly creation.
Manila Bulletin Lifestyle got the opportunity to try some of the brand’s best bakes, including the Summer Fruit Tart, which featured a variety of fresh fruits and berries above cloud-like cream and crumbly crust, and is finished with a layer of clear gelatin on top. It is such a festive creation, we just can’t stop taking photos of it for the Gram. Needless to say, it brought the summer-spring spirit to the office during a gloomy rainy day.
“My goal is to have my customers appreciate the art before savoring it and feeling blissful after that. It gives me immense satisfaction that people see cake making as an art form,” Geraldine says. “Right now we are an online outfit, so we have to rely on online orders. Hopefully, in the near future, we may have at least one brick-and-mortar bakeshop where people can enjoy our products with coffee and other drinks.”