If you need to step up your birthday-cake game, then get something made by Hartsyard. Pastry chef Andrew Bowden will produce something that's traffic-stopping and stunning. I recently placed an order for a party and the resulting creation was so good-looking, it probably deserved star management and its own agent.
The restaurant does custom orders on request – and in fact, Will and I are still grief-struck that we ever finished the spectacular banana cake Andrew made for Will's birthday last year (there were surprise flavour cameos of lemon, caramel, popcorn and coffee in there, too). If I could invent a time machine just so we could reclaim any crumb or frosted shred of that multi-layered treat, I would – it was the best cake we'd ever had.
The one for my birthday has earned a rightful place in the memory bank, too. I asked for something light and fruit-reliant and Andrew fashioned that wispy idea into something impressive: interlacing layers of meringue, raspberry mousse, passionfruit curd and vanilla sponge, all grounded in this addictive layer of hazelnut crunch. All I'd done was turned a year older, but having a slice of this felt like an award for some kind of lifetime achievement.
Hartsyard, 33 Enmore Road, Newtown NSW (02) 8068 1473, hartsyard.com.au