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Blossom founder Ruth Larwill (left) with project director Melissa Stock
Blossom founder Ruth Larwill (left) with project director Melissa Stock. MIRANDA GLASSER

The uptake on cupcakes and edible art

The moment many Reapers have been eagerly awaiting has arrived – designer cupcake outlet Blossom has well and truly opened its doors. Selling a delectable selection of twenty different beautifully iced sweet treats, the sister training café of the popular Bloom in Phnom Penh looks set to be a sugary hit in more ways than one.

Set on a prime corner spot on Street 6 opposite the Siem Reap Regional Eye Hospital and close to Sivutha Boulevard, the large air-conditioned shop is full of light thanks to the glass windows lining both walls containing display cases full of incredibly detailed shoes, handbags and flower arrangements – all made of cake by the trainees who have been working hard over the last few months.

“We are so excited,” says Blossom founder Ruth Larwill, “From not even seeing an oven to creating these beautiful cakes – we are so proud of the girls.”

The Blossom display window led some passers-by to thinking the cafe was selling shoes
The Blossom display window led some passers-by to thinking the cafe was selling shoes and handbags, like this Gucci shoe-shaped cake

She adds that in the run up to opening, many passers-by thought Blossom was a fashion store and asked if they were going to be selling shoes and handbags.

“We had to put a sign up that said these are actually made of sugar,” says project director Melissa Stock.

The display window is so enticing that even as we talk, a pair of little girls walking past the café stop and stare, pointing at the bags and shoes – much to the delight of Larwill and Stock.

Like the original Bloom, Blossom has chic, turquoise and chocolate brown furniture – from comfy sofas to armchairs where customers can while away the morning on a laptop or over a good book, with coffee and cake. Cupcake art covers the walls, and another display case on the far wall shows off more of the graduates’ work – from a five-tiered wedding-style cake adorned with large white flowers to a striped birthday cake complete with an icing sugar monkey wearing a tiny sugar hat sitting on top of the cake.

Pretty tea cup lights hang over the counter where the array of rainbow-coloured cupcakes can be seen. The apple and almond cake with cinnamon frosting is topped with a perfect miniature apple, while the white chocolate raspberry cake is adorned with a hand-painted disc with a beautiful bird design.

“Cambodian women have proved themselves to be of international standard,” says Larwill of the team of trainees. “It’s amazing. We get people from Thailand and Malaysia coming in and saying, ‘We don’t even have this yet – how come you’re doing it so well?’ And the girls love hearing that because I think Cambodians still have this reputation of being behind everybody else. So for them to see that we are as good as a place in New York, that’s such a source of pride, not just for the girls but for Siem Reap and for Cambodia.”

Edible art in all its glory: apple and blueberry crumble cupcake
Edible art in all its glory: apple and blueberry crumble cupcake, and salted caramel cupcake. MIRANDA GLASSER

“We have shops coming in wanting to be taught by the girls”, adds Stock. “It’s huge.”

Larwill says that the company can make “anything you can envisage” in sugar, and their Phnom Penh café has created all sorts of cakes including a birthday cake shaped like Doctor Who’s tardis.

Blossom also sells handmade cards, and aprons. Drinks-wise, as well as a large range of coffees, various teas including herbal tea and bubble teas – made with tapioca pearls – are available.

“Melissa has developed a chai tea and an iced tea that I think is the best in Siem Reap by far,” says Larwill.

“It’s chai from scratch,” Stock explains. “I grew up with Indian neighbours in LA and so I was used to drinking the kind where they’d just mix up the spices, as opposed to the liquid flavouring.”

A Blossom cupcake costs $1.50 for a regular or $2.75 for a large, while the cake pop truffles – a kind of fudgy cake lollipop – are $1 and the large cookies on sticks are $2.50.

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