Thursday, July 12, 2007

Piece of Cake

It seems with our fast paced world, everyone wants everything quick and easy, particularly when it comes to food. And yet we all want something homemade and done in the laborious old-fashioned way, without going through the trouble of doing it ourselves. Especially when it comes to desserts, we want that small piece of calorie bomb to be worth it. People are realizing that giving up the finer things in life is not the option, but rather giving in to cravings in moderation; which is the challenging part that makes savoring sweet temptations even more gratifying.

Baking cakes commercially has now expanded to homemakers and talented bakers, as opposed to the time when they were the domain of certified pastry chefs. Bangkok is also becoming a very international community and it is opening its doors to all the good things from all over the globe.

Hobby Cake Shop (Tel: 02 512 0010-1) started when a former nurse instructor, Khun Pum, decided to set her baking prowess to use, after devoting her time bringing up her twins. She baked for friends and relatives and honed her craft more and more, inspired by the compliments she got for her tasty and nicely decorated cakes. K. Pum accepted orders from a few customers who picked up the cakes from her home, where she has now made into a coffee/bake shop. To date, Hobby Cake has three branches in major malls, reaching out to sweets fanatics; with online ordering at

Hobby Cake has more than 20 types of cakes, tarts and brownies, including healthy low fat cakes, high calcium cakes as well as “eggless cakes”. All cakes are made-to-order, preferably 2 days in advance. The Double Chocolate Special (1,920 B), is what they call “richie-richie cake”; not for the figure conscious. They guarantee that no substitutes were used to make it live up to its name. To make up for this, they have a “Low Cholesterol Choco-cake” (1,160B), for those on a strict diet. “Cake-in-Cup” (4 oz yogurt-sized cup, 70-85B), designed as easy snacks or to take home, are available daily. Recently, an assortment of wedding cakes was added to their roaster.

Cakelious Bake Shop is another addition challenging the sweets market in Bangkok. Conceived a year ago by three bosom buddies, Tak, Jean and Yuki, they intend to tap both the Thai and foreign sectors; tickling their palates with a wide range of yummy cakes. Bubbly and charming, Tak candidly recalls how she first tried baking using cake mix. Her passion led her to take up baking more seriously, devoting her time developing recipes; and now ready-to-mix packs are a thing of the past. Cakelious is now a full-bloomed cake shop and catering service (Tel, 086 986 2221, order 2 days in advance).

Cakelious specializes on butter-based cakes, instead of chiffon or sponge; using high quality butter. The Banoffie Pie (2lb, 850B; cup, 85B), a buttery oreo crusted pie, layered with homemade sticky caramel and fresh sliced ripe banana, topped with vanilla whipped cream and cocoa dust, tops the lists of bestsellers. They also take pride of their fine caramel, which is freshly made daily. Another hit is the Soft Fudge Chocolate Cake, using the best Belgium Chocolate with 66% cocoa butter content; the layered cake is very buttery and chocolaty.

Also a bold move is to infuse the Thai flair to the sweets list. Cakelious’ Matoom-ginger Cake is a tangy and spicy choice; while the “Golden” is a butter-based cake batter smothered with sweet egg yolk threads replicating gold strings called foy tong. Made of sugar, egg yolk and jasmin water, foy tong is a unique Thai dessert introduced by the early Portuguese settlers.

Thirty varieties ranges from creamy cakes like: Tiramisu; Café Au Lait; and Cheesecakes to fruity flavors like: Carrot-Orange; Prune; and Apple Crumble, and nutty flavors like: Macadamia and Nutty Caramel. Prices are according to weight: 1lb - 380-480B; 2lb - 720- 800B; and 3lb - 1,140- 1,650B. For passers-by at the Paragon (ground floor) and Emporium (5th floor), wedges and cup portions are available to take home (70-120B).

Cakes always mark a celebration. The sugar-high is uplifting and apt to any occasion. Wedding are highlighted by the ceremonious cake, being scoped by the bride and groom; symbolizing purity, prosperity and fertility. Birthday cakes nestling birthday candles, on the other hand, are special treats to celebrate life. While, lavishly decorated cakes make special occasions more dramatic. It is a tradition that will stay forever. It is perfect excuse to forget about calorie counts and join in the fun!

June Sauer

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