Some sweet things have come out of lockdown.
Before launching her own COVID cake company, pastry chef Catherine Chan's resume included Lune, Dinner by Heston and a brief stint at Vue de Monde. She is making six cakes, each with an influence from nature.
Her black forest is ringed in realistic-looking chocolate bark, and a tall, bright lemon cake has a citron glaze haloed by spring flowers. Other flavours include strawberry shortcake, Victorian bergamot (like a cup of Earl Grey in cake form) and a pandan cake wearing a shaggy coat of biscuit crumbs.
Orders are via Instagram only instagram.com/kittybakes.melb.
Jala Jala Treats
Yamatji/Noongar woman Sharon Brindley, owner of the Cooee Cafe, which has been serving native ingredient-driven dishes and drinks to the Mornington Peninsula for two years, has launched her own chocolate brand, Jala Jala Treats.
Translating to "very good" in Wajarri, Jala Jala currently consists of two white chocolate blocks infused with either Davidson plum or lemon myrtle.
But Brindley's long-term vision is to supply hotel chains and airlines with single-serve chocolates and reinvest the money into an education camp that will teach children about Indigenous history and culture.
The gluten-averse fared well in this baking-obsessed lockdown. That's partly thanks to Felix Goodwin, the Sunda chef whose gluten-free sourdough, canele, and sesame and salted duck egg babkas have become the benchmark by which all others will now be judged.
The better news? Lockdown is ending, but Goodwin and partner Elena Nguyen have been so successful they are being furnished with a permanent cafe and dessert shop at the rear corner of the Windsor Hotel on Little Collins Street, opening mid-January (equipment willing).