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.
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.