The Beautiful Cake That I Made: Korea’s Cake Decorating Cafesby chincha on Nov 7, 2012 • 2:34 am 4 Comments
내가만든미케익 (Nae ga mandeun mi cake) is a hidden treasure not far from exit 9 of Hongik Ipgu station. Located on the third floor above a chicken restaurant and a shabu shabu place, it’s very easy to pass it by in the flood of visual information presented to you in the Hongdae area.
The name of the café roughly translates to ‘the beautiful cake that I made’. Despite the slightly misleading name, you do not make the cakes yourself. You decorate them. It is a place to let out your creative talents with cake, while taking in the view of people wandering around Hongdae below. Most people go there to design cakes for friend’s birthdays or specific events but it is worth going for no reason other than to enjoy yourself.
Upon arrival, you will be handed a menu with all the cakes offered. You choose the type and size of cake that you want, along with the flavor of your cream and even the shape of the nozzle that you want to use to apply it. A member of staff will then prepare your cake. While you wait, you can take a look around. There are lots of photos on the walls to give you cake decorating inspiration. In addition to the photographs, you will quickly realize at 내가만든미케익 that all Koreans are secretly professional cake decorators. Find a way to discreetly peer over at your fellow patrons’ creations for ideas. After about 5 minutes, your cake will be brought over to you and you will be given a very quick demonstration of two different icing techniques. Once the demonstration is over, you are left to embellish your cake as you wish.
If you want to decorate with more than flavoured cream, there is a refrigerator full of different fruits, chocolates and sweet decorations, as well as shelves full of more chocolates, candy boots, bows, ducks, icing sugar, chocolate shavings, and ribbons. There are also a variety of numbered candles and hangeul words for you to add. Most decorations are priced between 300 and 1,000 won. The price will be calculated by one of the café’s staff once you’re done, so you don’t need to worry about keeping track of what you’re using unless you’re on a strict budget. Fill your tray with decorations and get down to decorating.
Cake decoration is surprisingly fun even for those not particularly talented in this area (such as myself) and leftover cream is a godsend for covering mistakes. Once suitably happy, you can take the obligatory cake photos and pose like the proud cake decorator that you now are. Handy hint: Instagram makes everything look better.
When you’re done with the cake photoshoot and are ready to leave, just take your cake to the counter. A member of staff will add up the total cost of your cake and added decorations and put it in a box for you to take it away. We chose the smallest size and our added decorations led to this costing about 14,000. For those who want a slightly smaller project, or who cannot agree with their decorating buddies, individual cupcakes and cupcake sets are also available for decoration.
To find the café, take a left out of Hongik Ipgu station and keep going straight. You should see it right in front of you. The Hongdae café is one of many. Others can be found in Nowon, Ilsan, Suwon and Daejeon, among others. For a full list of locations, and a discount coupon, consult the Date& (데이트앤) app (Korean only).
Written and photographed by Emma Sparkes