Fans of Phnom Penh’s Bloom café, purveyor of ‘edible art’ in the form of beautifully designed cupcakes, will be delighted to hear that its sister café Blossom opens in Siem Reap on September 2.
Like its big-city counterpart, Blossom is a training café and, when Insider visited, trainees were busy learning how to create icing sugar ‘wrapping paper and ribbon’ for gift-shaped cakes. They were also working on tiny sugar butterflies and intricate hand-painted flowers.
“The girls do three months training,” says Australian owner Ruth Larwill, “But I feel like it’s a bit like learning to type – you know where the keys are but you get faster and better and better. So they’ll increase their skills over the next year or two. We’ve bought six girls up from Phnom Penh to train them.”
Larwill says she made the decision to expand to Siem Reap to create more job opportunities for Khmers.
“Cambodia needs more jobs,” she says. “We just figured we’d keep going as long as there’s demand from the public.”
Blossom will sell cupcakes in 24 mouthwatering flavours. Larwill says the most popular flavours in Phnom Penh, where a big part of the customer base is Khmer, are red velvet-topped numbers with a cream cheese frosting, and chocolate hazelnut. And if cupcakes aren’t your thing, the bakery will also sell tarts and cookies.
According to Larwill, a lot of people who think they don’t like chocolate simply haven’t tried the good stuff. The Phnom Penh patisserie uses only the best quality ingredients, and Blossom will do the same.
“Now there are so many Khmer coming back from having lived overseas and when they try it, they all really like it,” she says. “We use Belgian chocolate, proper cake flour and excellent local free-range eggs.”
Never one to shirk from responsibility, Insider duly tried a caramel macadamia tart with vanilla cream cheese icing, which came complete with an impossibly realistic-looking pink sugar flower on top.
Verdict: sugary deliciousness.
The miniature tart is almost too pretty to eat, and this is something that makes Larwill chuckle.
“Well that’s our saying,” she smiles, “‘Too beautiful to eat, but too delicious to resist.’ You can’t stop yourself.”
The final look of the café remains a mystery but project director Melissa Stock promises something “beautiful, clean and fresh”.
Vintage-style, mismatched upside-down cups and saucers which actually turn out to be lights, are the only hint of what is to come. The display cakes will be made in August by the trainees as part of their exam assessments
“Right now the girls are working on some of the pieces they’re going to use for graduation, and they’re doing all different tier cakes – each student will have a different one,” says Stock. “And then we have shoes that they’re working on, and handbags.”
The duo expects a lot of trade from tourists in Siem Reap looking for a sugar hit after a day out at Angkor Wat.
“We think it will be quite a nice little afternoon event after you’ve done the temples,” Larwill says.
Blossom will be open from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but from January next year it will also open on Saturdays.