Around 5pm on most nights of the week, you can see people loitering on a Melbourne side street, hopefully looking at the front of a store.
They are there for the cake. The $ 12 cake made famous through word of mouth is a luscious, bright light on the confinement experience of many Melburnians. If you live within 3 miles of Luther’s Scoops in Brunswick, you’ve really won the blocking radius lottery.
At the moment, the cake is a mixture of rhubarb and custard, but it changes with the seasons.
The man behind the cake who has driven this part of the world crazy is 27-year-old Christian Williams, who has an impressive resume despite his relatively young age. He has worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Europe, including Heston Blumenthal’s famous Fat Duck.
And now luckily for the people of Melbourne, he’s making these ethereal cakes (by hand, as the unassuming little shop has no room for commercial equipment) in limited batches Tuesday through Saturday. You can only make a few, and there are rarely more left after 5pm (which is when they come out of the oven hot).
It is demanding with its ingredients. The perfect cream patissiere is generously sprinkled with vanilla. The rhubarb comes from a farm near Geelong. The buttery and flaky pastry, which has been perfected after years of working in the best kitchens in the world, is a triumph.
Williams, who is originally from Wellington and started working in kitchens when she was 16, is one of the few people who has thrived during the pandemic.
“Before this, I was working in [croissant bakery] Luna ”, he explains.
“I was a bit fed up with the stressful restaurant environment and didn’t see myself progressing to owning my own restaurant. I just didn’t want that lifestyle.
“What I always liked was making ice cream. I worked a lot in London. I ran the pastry section in one of the restaurants for six months and they let me play with the flavors. I loved the freedom of it. So I did some internships in ice cream parlors to see how it works. By then I decided that I wanted to open an ice cream parlor. I decided to go to Melbourne to be a little closer to home … and I think Melbourne is a receptive setting. “
It started by selling its ice creams in Melbourne markets. And they weren’t ordinary ice cream. Dedication to quality seasonal ingredients combined with Williams’ culinary expertise meant they were an instant hit. Flavors slightly to the left of center such as cinnamon roll, Earl Gray chocolate, banoffee pie, and blueberries, lemon, and sour cream surprised and delighted the palates.
When Covid arrived, retail rental prices plummeted and he saw his opportunity to give the business a home.
“It was harrowing,” he admits.
“If it weren’t for the virus, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I was lucky enough to be on Job Keeper and that gave me some money to get started, and I found this shop at a really good price, which is what made it possible. “
“Everything was born out of uncertainty. It had just started in Lune before the first confinement. I didn’t know what would happen, and I thought I should give it a try. “
Now she’s there six days a week making ice cream and cakes and tending the store front, and she only has a couple of part-time employees to help out every now and then.
The internet is rife with five-star reviews on Luther’s Scoops. As one reviewer on Facebook said “dynamite, hands down the best ice cream I’ve ever had … what is this witchcraft?”
The cakes were presented when he expected a quiet winter, and he would give her an offering for the colder months. He thought he would make a couple of cakes a week. Now earn 150.
“I started by making an apple pie,” he says.
“I found an orchard in Templestowe with more than 300 different varieties of apples. They had these really cool heritage-style apples that were great to work with. ”
When the season ended a few months ago, he opted for rhubarb and custard. It is said on the street that his next combo will be blackberries and custard.
And the advice is, if you want to avoid loitering in the front of the store at 5:00 p.m. M. Looking like a sugar addict, you can text him on Instagram and shamelessly book one.
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