Baker Juda Liu explained her intentions behind the decoration of the welcome cake she prepared for American lifestyle icon Martha Stewart after it earned mixed reception from Filipinos.
The creation, which Stewart described as “photographic,” is a white sponge cake with buttercream filling and lemon meringue icing topped with silver dragées and edible photographs of the home cooking advocate.
Liu, owner of the Pasteleria Costa Brava bakeshop, said that she decided to give Stewart a “simple but heartfelt” cake as a welcome gesture, being a longtime fan.
“The cakes I make are as simple as my personality,” she shared in an interview with a local lifestyle website.
“I did not want to give her something like a heavy fondant cake, although I also do that, that is not my forte. I made the cake light and simple. I am not going to give Martha something I paid someone to make, only to create something that I am not,” Liu added.
She also dismissed the criticisms and reiterated that she made the cake from the heart.
“I made the cake as a kind gesture, something I know Martha will appreciate,” Liu said.
Stewart, who is in the Philippines for a talk sponsored by ABS-CBN News Channel, took a picture of the specialized cake, posted it on her Instagram and remarked that it was a “thoughtful” gesture.
Unfortunately, not everyone shared Stewart’s sentiments, particularly some of Liu’s fellow Filipinos.
An Instagram user commented that it looked “cheap and embarrassing” and a Twitter user, who claimed to be a cake decorator, wrote that it was “insulting” to people like her.
This is insulting to cake decorators like me. Parang scrapbook. https://t.co/4GZ3swFFZ1
— Shirley (@lrigeulb) August 19, 2019
Former tour guide and cultural activist Carlos Celdran also aired his disappointment and commented that it was a “scary cake.”
Another Instagram user, however, claimed that it looked “beautiful, sweet and home-y.”
“I would definitely share this with the whole family,” she added on the comments section of a post resharing the specialized cake.
This is not the first time that Liu’s bakeshop created a cake with similar design.
For the birthday of United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, the local bakeshop produced a cake featuring different pictures of the envoy in collage-style.
Pasteleria Costa Brava is famous for their distinctive caramel cake, which has been consistently listed as one of the “best in the metro” by lifestyle and food publications.
A local lifestyle website mentioned that it “has the right balance of everything,” from the cake’s “delicately fluffy” texture to its “decadent, sweet, and creamy” icing.
“The decorations may not be as polished nor intricate as other cakes, but it has its own charm. The caramel flavor manages to be the perfect balance between indulgently bold but not overpowering—perfect for both sweets lovers and not-so-diehard dessert fans,” it noted.
“What puts it narrowly but clearly ahead of its competition is its ratio of cake to icing—there’s just enough of both in every bite,” the website continued.
The bakeshop, which has been around for decades, prides itself in using healthy sugar made from the sap of a palm and does not use preservatives in its creations.
What Martha Stewart is known for
Stewart, often referred to as “America’s famous homemaker,” is known for advocating home-cooked meals and crafting pursuits such as do-it-yourself projects.
She is recognized as a domestic lifestyle innovator who champions cooking, sewing, housekeeping and gardening endeavors, among others.
Stewart has a range of home-cooked recipes, do-it-yourself craft ideas and household-related hacks uploaded on her website.
She has been also called by a British online newspaper as “the hearth-goddess of the American home” and the ideal suburban neighbor that women, particularly mothers, would supposedly love to have.
“For millions of American women, Martha Stewart was the neighbour they dreamed of: the kind who drops by with a glue-gun and a smile, helps them bake a wedding cake or make that ugly old sofa look pretty,” The Independent noted.
“She was a role model in other ways: in her magazines and television shows, Martha would wax lyrical about the family and the sanctity of the home,” it continued.