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Sunday, September 24, 2006

85C Cake Shop, Sydney

strawberry tiramisu
Strawberry tiramisu

There’s a new cake shop in town.

Thursday night and I receive an email alert from food spy tracey who tells me "there’s a new cake shop on George Street". It doesn't take me long to find it (especially when I ask a pair of girls holding distinctive red cake boxes "Excuse me, whereabouts did you get that from?").

85 degrees cake display
Display window

85 degrees is a new era of cake decadence. Apparently it all started when a group of businessmen looked in longingly at the luxurious afternoon tea at the cafe of a five-star hotel. At that moment they vowed that such exquisite elegance would no longer be restricted to the well-heeled; it should be readily available to the masses. Give. Them. Cake!

opening day
Opening day balloons and brochures

On opening day, there are staff handing out balloons and leaflets. I soon find out there's an opening special of "buy any drink, get any cake free". What could I do? I join the queue.

85 degrees cake shop
Opening day crowds and queue

It's a queue of about 30 other cake-lovers, and passersby soon stop to gaggle at the gigantic window display of delicate treats.

cake display window

valentine chocolate cake
Valentine cake, $3.80 slice or $38 8-inch cake
"Modified Austrian traditional Sacher cake covered with
chocolate icing sugar is the best choice
for chocolate lover"

fresh fruit milk cake
Fresh milk fruit cake, $3.60 slice or $36 8-inch cake
"A mixture of fresh fruit and Hokkaido milk
perfectly produces a dessert of elegance"

strawberry tiramisu whole cake
Strawberry tiramisu, $3.80 slice or $38 8-inch cake
"With the involvement of sweet and sour strawberry mousse
in Tiramisu, it creates another charming and magical feeling
of love and romance"

coffee brule
Coffee brule, $3.60 slice or $36 8-inch cake
"A mixture of coffee sponge, vanilla brule mousse and mixed nuts
creates a kind of peculiar and exotic taste that has always been
the top priority of 85 degrees’ cakes"

85 degrees counter
Inside 85 degrees

After 25 long minutes I finally make it inside. There's a barista tamping coffee inside and about eight staff impossibly squeezed behind the narrow counter. They are preparing drinks (they also do black and green teas, fruit blasts, milk teas, Ovaltine and iced drinks), getting cakes from the display window and packing them neatly into cute cardboard carry boxes.

After much deliberation (twenty-five minutes worth, as I waited in the queue), I decide on the Hokkaido Cheese (the only Japanese cheesecake in Australia, I'm told) and the Strawberry Cardina.

Hokkaido cheese
Hokkaido cheese, $4.00 slice
"A mixture of coffee sponge, vanilla brule mousse and mixed nuts
creates a kind of peculiar and exotic taste that has always been
the top priority of 85 degrees' cakes"

The Hokkaido cheese is a light airy cheesecake that tastes more like a ricotta white chocolate mousse. Embedded on the bottom are three malteser-like pastry puffs containing white chocolate. It's a tasty concoction.

Hokkaido cheese innards

The strawberry cardina is also surprisingly light. A layer of fluffy vanilla sponge cake is wrapped around a core of cream, pastel pink in hue and interspersed with tiny dicings of fresh strawberry. A rosette of cream on top holds in place a lightly glazed half-strawberry, finished with a curled leaf made from dark chocolate.

strawberry cardina
Strawberry cardina, $4.00 slice

This again is very good. It's light but tasty and the cream doesn't leave any greasy aftertaste in the mouth.

The coffee is also very drinkable. We had the iced coffees ($2.60) and it was a good strong beverage with a fairly robust caffeine kick. No annoying swirls of cream either, just a shot of cold espresso, milk and a handful of ice.

Coffee is an important part of their service: the name "85 degrees centigrade" apparently comes from research that indicates this is the ideal temperature at which to drink coffee. It is also the optimal temperature for brewing Taiwanese green tea.

And the best news of all?

From 25 September until 8* 1 October 2006,
all sliced cakes will be $2 only.

EDIT: Limited to 2 slices per person only. Any additional slices will be at full price.
*EDIT #2: They've cut the offer period, apparently because of "unprecedented demand and limited supply". Outrageous, I say.

I'll see you in the queue.

85c coffee and cake packaging

85C Cake and Beverage Store (85 degrees)
Shop 9, 545-551 George Street
Meriton Tower, Sydney
(opposite Hungry Jacks)
28 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 9/24/2006 11:59:00 pm


  • At 9/25/2006 10:03 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    once again, thanks for the heads up. i enjoyed a napolean (although i wish i had picked the chocolate version) and an iced caramel latte. after that we got blown away by the wind yesterday.

  • At 9/25/2006 11:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oohhh i saw that place on sat night and it was packkeed! and we were up for savoury so didnt go take a look and went to Harry's >_< i should have since the cakes look good enough to b a meal too. I will defintely go next time thx!

  • At 9/25/2006 11:47 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I posted about this yesterday, but your write up was more detailed.. good stuff :)

  • At 9/25/2006 12:03 pm, Blogger Kat said…

    Oooh...is it comparable to Melbourne's Brunetti's. Cos I know lots of people who manufacture excuses to visit Melbourne just so they can have a Belgian waffle and a cake.

  • At 9/25/2006 12:37 pm, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Thanks for the tip off. We grabbed a napoleon and titamisu this morning

  • At 9/25/2006 4:09 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    I've been wanting to go and check this place out however I really dislike crowds and will probably wait till they die down.
    At least now I know that the cakes and coffee are good.

  • At 9/25/2006 4:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi AG

    I walked past and was intimidated by the queue, but now i must go have a look. Do you remember the opening hours? (sorry I couldn't access their website for some reason)

    btw, Savoy has very nice japanese cheese cake. Savoy may not be owned by Japanese ppl but then neither is 85C.

  • At 9/25/2006 4:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    i saw the queue yesterday and decided that it was just way too windy to join it. the ovaltine menu item made me smile. i wondered why they didn't have horlicks as well!

    i was also at auburn on saturday, armed with a list of the places you have blogged about. this is the first time i've left a comment but i just wanted to thank you for the huge amount of effort you put into grab your fork. its one of my regularly visited sites :D


  • At 9/25/2006 5:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh yum,that all looks so good,do you know if they're open late on weeknights?

  • At 9/25/2006 6:44 pm, Blogger Julia said…

    Why do these things always coincide with me deciding to start a (ssshhh) diet?!

  • At 9/25/2006 7:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just wanted to take this opportunity to say that I'm an avid visitor to your blog (which I discovered fairly recently). Since discovering it, I've been to many of the places you've reviewed. Heard about 85C over the weekend and went to check it out today. I didn't end up getting anything but I think I'm going to now after reading about your review!

  • At 9/26/2006 1:37 am, Blogger Tubby said…

    Oohhh! I haven't seen this place yet -thanks for informing us! I'll go try it our now that it's cheap hehehe

  • At 9/26/2006 1:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to say, this is a far overrated review for a franchise chain that makes airy, sweet "cakes" (read different types of sponge).

    I also have to say this is one of the worst places I've ever ordered coffee. It was scalding hot, they only serve it in large cups (starbucks style), and the coffee was definately stale and served by untrained people.

    don't get me wrong, its only trying to be a flashy franchise and i don't expect much from places like this, but to say its a "new era in cake decadence" makes me wonder if you have shares in the company :).

    p.s. the ideal temperature of the milk in a coffee is 65-70C. perhaps they are heating the milk to 85C as well, not just the water.

    thanks for pointing out the new place though!

    - Andrew

  • At 9/26/2006 7:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That place looks so good! Have to check it out soon.. I love cake.. they all look delicious..
    $2!! That's so good.. going to leave with a load =P

    Thanks for the tip! Love your site

  • At 9/26/2006 10:44 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    Oh cake heaven. I wonder if they will open up in Melbourne soon. If so, I'll be there lining up as well. I like the look of that Japanese cheesecake. I've tried some other Japanese cheesecakes from cake stores in Melbourne and they tasted very nice, like a mixture between a sponge cake and a cheesecake.

  • At 9/27/2006 9:55 am, Blogger case-in-point said…


    when i got there last night it was already closed, but i heard a staff tell two persistent girls that they open from 7:30 - 22:30.

    7:30 is rather early. but i'm pretty sure that's what she said.

    i also don't like light airy sponge cakes, but i'd give anything a try :-). There's always the Hokkaido cheesecake :-)

  • At 9/27/2006 10:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think that I've broken through the whole spectator/ participant barrier now. Thx Helen for taking the time to respond. Paid anor visit to 85C today but the queue was still there and, happy as I am to queue most of the time, I think that I am in a non queueing mood atm so I'll try again at a later date. I hope that I don't have to take my voucher along bec I think I've lost it....Went to the Brazilian festival on Sunday. I rather think that I was there too early. The food selection was not as great as I'd hoped it would be and some things, like the Brazilian empanada (I can't remember what they call it) were lukewarm. Sometimes its a struggle for me remind myself that a "cultural festival" should include something *other* than food. I'm going to Mel next month and Brunetti is actually on my list of Things To Do. They have a tempting website - http://www.brunetti.com.au/


  • At 9/27/2006 10:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Does anyone know if they use butter and fresh cream in their cakes.I find that asian cake shops in sydney use inferior products in their cakes and that makes them inedible to a true cake lover like myself.

  • At 9/30/2006 8:40 am, Blogger deborah said…

    i shall have to return to try the chocolate before the $2 deal is over. love a deal! heh

    as for the name 85C i believe it refers to the temperature to which coffee wshould be brewed (85-95C) to reach its best flavour. a little something i remember from a barista training course i did when i worked the cafe circuit ;)

    and i i got the whole playful nature of this post. sponge cake can make people happy you know!

  • At 3/01/2007 1:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Compared to Savoy or even St Honores, 85C is very disappointing. There is too much sugar and artificial flavouring and not enough cream. The cream and mousse taste greasy, while the cake base tastes dry.

    The "Darjeeling tea" certainly doesn't taste like darjeeling tea.

  • At 7/08/2007 11:14 pm, Blogger nefendy said…

    I found Napoleon cake suits more to Japanese/Taiwanese taste which does not like too much sugar or to sweety.
    I guess this cake can be said the most distinct taste for this cafe.

  • At 1/02/2008 12:03 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    hi, i saw ur post and i'm in sydney at the moment, i was wondering if you knew their phone numbers? do they do preorders for birthday cakes?

  • At 1/04/2008 1:51 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Peter Johnson - I tend to steer away from cream cakes at Asian bakeries as they tend to leave a greasy film on the tongue. I thought the Hokkaido cheesecake was yummy though, and I do like the green tea cake from Bread Top.

    Hi Sumple - I haven't had a chance to try their drinks. Thanks for your feedback.

    Hi Nefendy - I haven't tried their Napoleon slice. Thanks for the tip.

    Hi Ursula-Sama - I've tried searching the Web but no luck with a phone number, even on the 85C website which lists the Sydney store. I suggest you pay them a visit and ask them about birthday cakes.

  • At 1/08/2008 10:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Everyone have different taste in cake. Some bad comment about the cake from 85 was too sponge like. Well, that's what some people like it. I could not find any cake shop sale better cake than 85. The cake taste just right. Not like the usual cake in Australia, too sweet and too greasy. Maybe people have very stong taste of cake do not try in 85, or Michelle's patisserie is better choice for them. From Cindy

  • At 1/12/2008 4:40 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Cindy - I agree. 85C does serve very Taiwanese-style cakes which are characterised by a very light sponge and generous amounts of cream. As you say, some people like 85C, others may prefer Michele's :)

  • At 1/14/2009 10:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did you know they opened a store in Chatswood?

  • At 11/13/2009 6:01 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon Yes indeedy, the Chatswood store is great!

  • At 10/06/2010 2:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They have one in Kingsford, but the cake quality is quite poor there. All dry and tasteless. You wouldn't think it's the same chain!


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