All You Knead To Know About Cakes

Did you know the first cakes were very different from the ones we enjoy today? Instead of being soft, fluffy, and creamy, the first cakes had a more bread-like texture and were often sweetened with honey. According to many food historians, modern cakes as we know them today (prepared with refined white flour and baking powder instead of yeast) did not appear on the scene until the middle of the nineteenth century.

Zee & Elle is a cake shop in Singapore, offering delicious and beautifully baked cakes as well as pastries for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a decorated birthday cake or a vegan one, we make it easy for you to get your hands on our delectable baked goods - simply place your orders online and we will deliver them to your doorstep. Besides offering you our heavenly desserts to indulge in, we also want to share with you our knowledge and passion for cakes. So, here’s all you knead to know about cakes in Singapore!

Part I: Understanding The Different Types Of Cakes 

Apart from differences in flavours like chocolate, strawberry, or buttercream, different types of cakes vary in texture and taste. The baking process and ingredients used in every step are crucial in determining whether a cake turns out thick and dense, or spongey and light. There are two main types of cake: butter, otherwise known as shortened cake, and foam. With each type, there are many varieties. However, the main difference between the two of them is fat content. Shortened cakes tend to have either butter, oil, or shortening in them, for example, a yellow cake. On the other hand, foam cakes typically involve whipped eggs, and little to no fat, resulting in a lighter and airier texture.

While it is no piece of cake to tell one cake type from another, having a better understanding of what goes into some of your favourite cakes can help you appreciate them more. Hence, in the next section, we share the different types of cake, and what makes each one special!

Butter Cake

A butter cake is any recipe that begins with butter, cream, and sugar. These ingredients are then beaten together before eggs are added to aerate the batter. Flour is also added to give the batter structure as well as texture, whilst baking powder/baking soda is added to ensure that it rises in the oven. Butter cakes usually come in two colours - white and yellow, and this depends on the eggs beaten into the mixture. White butter cakes are made using just egg whites, whereas yellow cakes with egg yolks; and cream-coloured cakes are made from the use of whole eggs.

Sponge Cake

Also known as foam cakes, sponge cakes are made using no artificial leaveners like baking powder or baking soda. It gets its volume solely from whipped eggs and,as such, it contains little to no butter and flour. The result? Light and fluffy cakes with even texture and good volume! Many cake shops in Singapore often take on a unique twist of fresh cream sponge cakes by incorporating different flavours that work well together. For instance, Zee & Elle’s Honey Yuzu Fresh Cream Cake is made using yuzu-flavoured sponge cake and manuka-honey-infused cream to give a light and citrusy taste - perfect for those who prefer to have something light on their palette.

Chiffon Cake

A classic chiffon cake is a cross between a butter and sponge cake. Just like a butter cake, it contains baking powder and vegetable oil. However, the cakes are leavened using eggs instead of baking powder or baking soda. Chiffon cakes are as rich in flavour as butter ones whilst having the same light and airy texture of sponge cakes.

Cheesecake

Cheesecakes, also known as flourless cakes, use cheese, eggs, sugar, and cream to achieve their rich and creamy taste, as well as texture. From no-bake cheesecake, classic New York cheesecake, to even basque burnt cheesecake, there is an assortment of tastes for all cheesecake lovers in Singapore. The many different flavours and textures can be created by simply switching the type of cheese and ingredients used.

Mousse Cake

Mousse has a similar taste to pudding, however, it is lighter and fluffier. This texture is often achieved with whipped egg whites or whipped cream that has been flavoured with vanilla, chocolate, or fresh fruits like strawberry. Mousse cakes are baked with mousse and thin layers of sponge cakes between. As a result of higher proportions of mousse fillings compared to cake, these cakes are often mistaken for ice cream cakes.

Mille Crepe Cake

Mille crepe cake is a French term used to describe layers of thin pancake, slathered with fresh cream, and stacked high to create volume. The crepes themselves are made using flour, eggs, sugar, and milk. While in French, mille means a thousand, mille crepe cake layers can vary from 30 to a hundred layers depending on the recipe and the chef.

Shortcake

When fresh fruits of any kind are in season, one of the most common dessert suggestions is for them to be made into a shortcake. Shortcakes originally referred to any cake that was high in fat, also known as shortening. As time passed, shortcakes started to be made with a biscuit-like cake or scone that is split and filled with fruits as well as sweetened fresh cream. Shortcakes have a slightly flakey texture and are perfect for highlighting the freshness of fruits!

part from cakes made using conventional ingredients, there are gluten-free and vegan cakes available in cake shops as well.

Gluten-free Cake 

Gluten is a protein found in the flours used for cake-making. It gives cakes their structure and moist texture. Gluten-free cakes, as their name suggests, are made without gluten and ideal for people who are allergic to them. Since standard flour cannot be used, bakeries in Singapore offering gluten-free cakes often bake theirs using alternatives such as rice or tapioca flour.

Vegan Cake

Vegan cakes, on the other hand, do not contain any animal product, and this means that eggs are not used in the baking process. Most people think of vegan cakes as drier, denser, and harder as a result of the lack of whipped eggs to provide air and structure - however, that’s not the case at all! Vegan cakes can also be made light and airy by ensuring that the temperature of the oven is kept even to help the cake rise, and sifting the flour from a height to aerate the cake. 

If you've never had the chance to try vegan cakes, then you should have a taste of Zee & Elle’s decadent Vegan Double Chocolate Cake. Layered with creamy chocolate buttercream, this cake is fudgy, moist, and may just change your mindset about vegan cakes. Furthermore, vegan cakes are not as hard to find as before. You can simply make your order online, and opt for either self-collection or delivery

While sponge and cheesecakes can be enjoyed on their own, they are usually layered with frostings and fruits to create beautiful birthday or wedding cakes for special occasions. Most of our creations are made using delightfully airy sponge cake with rich and creamy frosting. We also offer unique flavours of mousse cakes, cheesecakes, and vegan cakes for you to indulge your sweet tooth in.

Cake Frostings To Make You Sing For Joy 

There is nothing like frosting to top off a cake and take it from delicious to heavenly. Contrary to popular belief,  frostings do not overwhelm the taste of the cake. Instead, good frostings should complement the taste and texture. But with so many different types of frostings available, it is no simple matter to decide on one for your next cake. Fret not, as we’ve got you covered with some of the common frostings used in cake shops across the island!

1. Fresh Cream

It is no secret that fresh cream or whipped cream goes hand-in-hand with almost every sweet treat in the world. Besides providing the perfect finishing touch for cakes, fresh cream also provides a sense of balance to the desserts by complementing the overall taste - making them a more enjoyable indulgence to sink your teeth into. Fresh cream is light in consistency and sweetness; when combined with fresh fruits, it gives the cake a hint of richness without overpowering the citrusy taste of the fresh fruit.

2. Buttercream

Buttercream is the most common type of cake frosting and is made by mixing fat, usually butter, with sugar. Sometimes eggs or milk are added to give a smoother and creamier texture. There are different distinct types of buttercream:

  • Simple Buttercream

Otherwise known as American buttercream, this is one of the most common buttercream used on cakes. It is made with butter, confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar), eggs, and milk for a lighter and airier mixture. 

  • Decorator’s Buttercream

Often used to create decorative flourishes such as flowers and curlicues on birthday or wedding cakes, decorator’s buttercream is made using vegetable shortening instead of butter. This is because butter melts easily at room temperature, and as such, is not ideal for creating decorative pieces. What decorator’s buttercream lacks in lightness and flavour, it makes up for in stability, allowing bakers to create the most amazing cake embellishments for different occasions.

  • Fresh Buttercream

Do not be fooled by its rich taste, as fresh buttercream is extremely light in texture. It is made by adding boiling syrup into beaten yolks. This mixture is then whipped into a foaming consistency before softened butter is added.

  • Swiss Buttercream

Also known as Swiss meringue buttercream, this cream is stable and not overly sweet. Unlike the American or fresh buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream is made from whipping cooked egg whites with sugar until it forms stiff peaks. After which, butter is slowly added together with flavouring to create this extraordinarily creamy and smooth texture. Because cooked egg whites and sugar is used to create Swiss buttercream, it does not form a crust and thus is relatively stable. It is also a pale ivory colour, making it perfect for adding colours. 

As such, here at Zee & Elle, we also use Swiss meringue buttercream for some of our elaborately decorated birthday and wedding cakes. 

3. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is made in a way that’s similar to buttercream frosting, except that the butter component is replaced with cream cheese - cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, eggs, and milk are used to give off a rich, tangy but sweet taste. While cream cheese frosting tastes great on its own, it’s no secret that it pairs deliciously well with red velvet cakes too.

4. Chocolate Ganache

Ganache is made using two simple ingredients: chocolate and heavy cream. This frosting is used as beautiful coatings for cakes, fillings for layered cakes, and toppings for brownies. When more chocolate is used than cream, the ganache hardens into a coating, creating a slightly crunchy texture that is found on the top layer of chocolate brownies. On the other hand, chocolate ganache fillings are made when more cream is added to complete a decadent chocolate cake.

5. Glaze

Glaze is one of the simplest frostings. It is the result of powdered sugar combined with a liquid to form a thin consistency. Glazes are usually poured or drizzled on cakes and cookies, to form a shiny hard crust. Aside from powdered sugar, melted chocolate can also be used as a glaze to create a beautiful mirror-glazed cake.

6. Icing

Royal icing is a hard and brittle icing that’s often used for decorating cakes. While you can make them from scratch using powdered sugar, egg whites, and liquids, most bakers prefer using meringue powder instead. Most of the time royal icing is tinted with food colouring to create a glaze or detailed decorating. 

Our all-time favourites are fresh cream, simple buttercream, and cream cheese. While the frosting ingredients are similar and straightforward, using the right amounts of each can make all the difference for a mouth-watering cake. For all lovers of unique-tasting and rich frosting, our Guava Lychee cake is layered with guava-infused fresh cream and topped off with lychee bits that are sure to leave you wanting more. 

Part II: Cakes For Different Occasions 

Through the years, beautiful cakes have always been a part of celebrations. Be it a three-tier wedding cake, or a decadent chocolate cake complete with glowing candles, here are some of the special occasions that are best celebrated with a cake! 

Birthday

No birthday is complete without a cake, and there’s also no denying that this is the first occasion that comes to mind when we think of cakes. Birthday cakes with candles are symbolic and used to make the years lived by the person being celebrated. Initially, this tradition is believed to have started hundreds of years ago with the ancient Greeks. The ancient Greeks baked round cakes to offer them up to Artemis, goddess of the moon, as a tribute. They decorated it with lighted candles to make the cake shine as bright as the moon. 

To this day, most birthday cakes are still round, however, you can find square- and rectangular-shaped cakes as well. From themed cakes to deliciously simple ones, visit our online cake shop to check out our wide selection of beautiful birthday cakes and order them online for delivery, just in time to celebrate the birthday of a loved one.

Wedding

Wedding cakes are known to be celebratory creations decorated with flowers. Not only are they easy on the eyes, but they also have to match the theme of the wedding, and be absolutely delicious. 

But there’s more to wedding cakes than meets the slice. The first wedding cake was a result of traditions to encourage the bride’s fertility. In ancient Rome, grains of wheat represented fertility and were thrown at newlyweds to ensure fruitfulness, whereas, in ancient Greece, loaves of grains symbolised prosperity and fertility. As weddings evolved and times changed, wheat was eventually baked into cakes and evolved into multi-tiered wedding cakes that take centre stage today. 

The tradition has also extended to include wedding anniversaries. While most brides in other parts of the world save their wedding cake to be eaten on their anniversary, couples in Singapore often relive the memories of their special day with a new cake instead. Though there are fewer tiers in wedding anniversary cakes than the cake on the actual day, you can personalise the cake designs, or choose from our range of beautifully decorated artisanal cakes! 

Christmas

Tis’ the season to be jolly, and nothing makes us happier than filling our bellies with Christmas treats like gingerbread and Yule log cake. Coined by the French as bûche de Noël, the log cake can be traced back to Europe’s Iron Age. As the bitter winter came to an end, people would burn logs to celebrate the end of the season and usher good luck for the upcoming new year. While it is not known how this tradition of burning logs morphed into baking a cake, the Yule log cake is a staple and symbol of Christmas festivities to this day.

This dessert has many variations, but it almost always involves a sponge cake rolled into a log shape. The cake is then covered with thick chocolate ganache frosting, and decorated with different sugared pieces. In recent years, the log cake has taken on other variations such as being shaped to look like chimney houses, trains, and even a tree stump!

Gender Reveal Parties

When gender reveal parties first came out, many thought they were just a fad. However, as time passed, they became a ritual for most pregnant couples. Due to the cake's essentiality for any occasion, the act of revealing your baby’s gender through cake is elegant, simple, and definitely easier to clean up as compared to popping confetti-filled balloons.

Be it a budget-friendly party, or a private one with just your closest friends and family (adhering to the rules of social gatherings in Singapore, of course), there’s no denying that a cake is an ideal choice. Most gender reveal cakes are colourful, and have abstract designs so as not to give away the baby’s gender immediately. However, when you cut into it, the colour within will reveal your baby’s gender - for instance, layers of pink-coloured fresh cream between your sponge cake indicate a girl.

No matter the gender, a party should be held in anticipation of your little bundle of joy. Hence, to have a memorable and jubilant celebration of this day, you can visit our online cake shop in Singapore to order or customise your gender reveal cake from us!

Wedding/Party Favours

Aside from cakes for all the special occasions listed above, there are also other sweet treats that you can offer to guests attending your wedding or birthdays. When it comes to parties and weddings, there’s nothing better than offering your nearest and dearest an edible treat as a way of saying thank you. In this section, we share some of the common edible favours you can get for your guests next time you throw a party!

  • Individual tarts

Mini boxes of tarts are known to be a sure-hit at a wedding. You can choose to glaze them according to the theme of your wedding, or even incorporate a range of flavours such as chocolate, strawberry, lemon, or cheese and let your guests choose the one they’d love to take home.

  • Doughnuts

While you exchange vows and slip on your wedding band, your guests can indulge in a tasty ring of their own - doughnuts! Doughnuts are a thoughtful gift for filling the bellies of your guests especially if your solemnisation takes place early in the morning. Besides weddings, doughnuts are also the perfect treat for kids at birthday parties. Apart from the usual chocolate, rainbow-sprinkled doughnuts, you can always customise it based on your child’s preferences. For instance, if she loves unicorns, you can always request unicorn-themed doughnuts to surprise your daughter and her friends! 

  • Cookies

Whether it is the shape, flavour, or frosting, you can always personalise cookies based on the theme of your party.

  • Bundle of Assorted Sweet Treats 

It’s a milestone and tradition for most Chinese parents to celebrate their baby with a full month party. Parents often order bundles of sweet treats containing ang ku kuehs, red eggs, and cakes to be delivered to their friends as well as families. In recent years, while ang ku kuehs and red eggs are still a staple in full month gift boxes, many cake shops in Singapore are now offering a modern take on full month bundles with tarts, macarons, and cupcakes. Celebrate this joyous occasion with our range of full-month gift bundles that are sure to delight. 

While homemade cookies and chocolates are common go-to’s, pulling such a big batch of baked goods on your own can seem like a daunting task. Opting for store-bought edible favours like doughnuts, brownies, and tarts can feel just as special with a customised tag. Check out our online store for the range of sweet treats that we have and reach out to us to let us know how we can make your day extra special. 

Tips To Ordering Your Cake Online 

Have party plans but no time to get out of the house and  shop for a cake? Don’t fret as you can always order one from our online cake shop in Singapore, and have it delivered to you, in time for your party!

With the convenience of delivery, many consumers in Singapore are choosing to buy their cakes and desserts online instead of going down to the stores. Aside from convenience, ordering online also gives customers the advantage of customising their orders. Here are some simple steps you can follow to make ordering online a piece of cake:

  1. Pick a flavour - With so many cake flavours available, it can be hard to settle on one. So, before you start browsing online, you can decide between light and citrusy flavours, or a luxuriously decadent chocolate one. 
  2. Choose the design of the cake - The design of the cake is extremely important especially if you’re looking to purchase a customised cake. A useful tip for you would be to send the cake shop visual references and colours so that they can refer to and come up with a design that you want. 
  3. Read the cake description - The ingredients that go into baking a cake are just as important as the flavours and design. For instance, if your loved one is vegan then you narrow your search down to vegan cakes only. 
  4. Plan an accurate timeline - Having a timeline helps you make sure that your food is ready in time. Too early and your cake may not be as fresh as when you first received it, and if it’s too late, you may end up with nothing to celebrate with. While you can choose to drive to the store and pick up these baked goods on your own, it may take a few trips, or you have to drive to multiple locations just to pick everything up. Plus, you should never underestimate the time you need to set up the party! 

Ordering online gives you the reassurance you need for a party to go smoothly - from the moment you send in your order to the cake arriving right at your doorstep. 

Overall, there’s nothing quite like cake to celebrate the milestones in life, or simply to indulge in after a hard week at work. As one of the more renowned cake shops in Singapore with over 140 5-star reviews on Google, Zee & Elle makes their cakes made from scratch using fresh ingredients such as eggs, sugar, fruits, and thus have less trans-fat. Furthermore, not only do they make soft sponge and buttercream cakes, but they also have baked goods suitable for vegan and diabetics! 

Easy on the eyes, light on the palette, and absolutely wholesome, you can explore our diverse range of delectable desserts that are perfect for any occasion. 

From birthdays, wedding anniversaries, to your baby’s full-month celebration, let our delightfully baked goods be a part of the milestones in your life. Schedule a delivery at your convenience when you order your cakes online with us!

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