updated 24 Dec 2010, 19:27
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Mon, Jul 19, 2010
The Business Times
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Little House of Dreams
by Audrey Phoon

THEY say that those who love to bake, bake, while those who love to eat, eat - and ne'er the twain shall meet. But Audrey Lee is a different type of cookie altogether. The dessert fan loves the gamut of sweet treats and isn't content with just consuming them. She says: 'Whenever I go out and see a good dessert, I ask myself, why not try doing that?'

To that end, Lee spends about as much time creating desserts as she does chomping on them - she's the brain behind Little House of Dreams, an event caterer that specialises in all things sweet. The business was started in 2007, a couple of years after Lee paid a visit to New York's Magnolia Bakery and found it particularly inspiring. 'That's when the cupcake craze really hit me - I started researching and found out that there were so many pretty cupcake possibilities out there,' she says. 'I thought I really had to make them.'

Fast forward a few baking classes and hours spent trawling the Internet for ideas, and Little House of Dreams was built, which Lee - who has a marketing and advertising background and currently holds a day job in marketing communications - runs together with her arts-and-crafts-loving mother (she also gets a bit of help from her businessman husband, 'but only for the business side of things, because he's not a cake man').

The company, which started out offering just cupcakes and cookies, has since grown substantially and in May it began offering what it calls a 'bespoke dessert buffet', which is essentially a customisable dessert bar that offers anything from cupcakes and cookies to full-sized cakes and 'marshmallow pops' - skewered marshmallows dipped in chocolate and decorated with fondant icing. Of her decision to launch the service, Lee says: 'I often visit Amy Atlas and TomKat, two American websites that specialise in dessert arrangements, and I realised that that's not something we have in Singapore right now - mostly companies just offer normal catering services. So I thought it would be nice to offer the concept since I'm already doing sweet stuff.' It's also something, she predicts, that the local audience will eventually catch on to as people become more affluent, 'especially since Singaporeans just like to eat in general'.

Little House of Dreams' dessert buffets start from about $400 for a set-up that's enough for 20 persons, and the figure goes up 'depending on the complexity of the design required', says Lee. The price also includes things like decorative items, beverages and 'Take Ones', customised containers that allow guests to bag or box the treats home. Bookings must be made two months in advance, during which time the business will revert with the proposed design details, right down to handing over swatches of material for the colour scheme.

It's all very cute and crafty, and that seems to have hit the spot with the company's clientele. In the three months since its dessert bar concept launched, Little House of Dreams has gotten several bookings and even more enquiries, mostly from parents who are looking to organise children's parties. Says Lee: 'We are getting bookings from people requesting for themes such as The Backyardigans and Ben 10, which I had never heard of before! I had to research what they were - they turned out to be popular children's cartoons. Now, I must say, I'm quite in tune with all that stuff.'

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