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The $900 cupcake

Jeeval Tailor

Lisa Sanguedolce was on a mission. A customer had hired the owner of Toronto's Le Dolci bakery to create the most extravagant cupcake possible. So Sanguedolce gathered the fanciest ingredients she could acquire from around the world – 24-karat gold flakes, limited-edition Courvoisier cognac, sea salt from Carmargue, France, and some of the finest chocolate on the planet.

The result? An ultra-luxurious cupcake with a $900 price tag.

Sanguedolce often receives requests for grandiose custom cakes, but never has such a tall order come in such a tiny package. "This was the smallest one for that kind of price range," she says.

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The customer, whom Sanguedolce declined to name, ordered the cupcake for his wife's birthday last month. He wanted the finished product to include some of his wife's favourite items – and, most of all, he wanted to impress her. Money, it appeared, was no object.

"Getting it all right, it was kind of nerve-wracking," Sanguedolce says, noting that the cupcake required the work of two pastry chefs, a cake designer, two days of labour and many hours of consultation and planning.

So what goes into a $900 cupcake?

  • A pastry cream filling, flavoured with Krug Collection Brut Champagne (about $1,000 a bottle).
  • Buttercream frosting, made with butter from Normandy and 70-per-cent cacao chocolate from luxury Italian chocolatier Amedei, specialty coffee, French sea salt, organic cane sugar and Tahitian vanilla beans.
  • A handmade chocolate cup dusted with gold flakes and surrounded by a ring of sugar diamonds.
  • Decorative elements, such as fondant flowers, a delicate fondant branch and leaves painted with edible gold, and a cascade of champagne caviar bubbles, made using a molecular gastronomy technique.
  • And finally, a pipette of the Courvoisier cognac, to be drizzled on top before it was eaten.
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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More


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