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Richmond cake maker creates unique 3D pet jelly cakes that look real

Vivi Li hopes to bring more diversity to the city’s dessert market
Vivi Li, a Richmond resident, can create 3D jelly cake that looks like people's pets.

Have you ever thought about creating a cake that looks just like your pet? A Richmond cake maker can make it happen.

Vivi Li, a Richmond resident, is making cakes that people can't find in many other places. The cakes are made of jelly with delicate 3D paintings injected by hand.

Li started making 3D jelly cakes as a hobby in 2018 and soon found they were very popular among her family and friends. She then started posting her work on her Instagram account Qingscake, which gained more than 4,000 followers. 

"This cake is originally from Malaysia. Because they have the humid and hot weather, they created a cake that has a refreshing taste and is cold," said Li.

“I like drawing, stitching, to capture the beauty. When I came across the 3D jelly cake six years ago, it grabbed my attention. It’s so pretty and unique."

She later found out the cake is also low in sugar and calories, so she started researching how to make them, taking online courses and starting with floral patterns.

Making jelly cakes with pictures and patterns is a complicated process.

She needs to make the base of the jelly cake first, and then she injects food colour into the cake using special needles to create the 3D patterns.

“I have to imagine how it looks like when it’s upside down in my mind because I need to [paint] it upside down,” said Li. 

“And jelly cake is very fragile so if I make a mistake, it will leave a mark on the jelly and there is no way I can modify it. So there is only one chance and I need to do it right.”

Li hand-pipes more than 1,000 injections into each cake to create the pattern. The process can take two to five hours.

After getting requests from friends, Li started making pet design cakes using the same techniques, turning pet photos into 3D cakes.

Li said sometimes it can be ”bittersweet“ for the pet owners because the cake looks so much like their pets.

“They were so happy when they received it because it looked just like their dog or cat," Li said.

"But when they got home and had to cut it, they always came back to me and said they couldn’t bear to do it, so some cut off the four corners and kept the pet part of the cake in the fridge.”

As demand for her cakes has grown, Li is now planning to start her own business and move from her home kitchen to a commercial kitchen.

She'd like to see her cakes for sale in Richmond coffee shops so more people can enjoy them.

The cakes will cost from $20 to $300 depending on the size and style, according to Li, who also plans to offer 3D jelly cake courses.

Li said every cake is a piece of art for her and she enjoys the creative process. 

“I want to make sure all my cakes look pretty and unique so when people receive it, they are happy," Li said. 

"I love to see their reaction when I show them [the final product].”

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