Walk down the memory trail with old-fashioned buttercream cakes

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KUALA LUMPUR: Old-fashioned buttercream cakes are a walk down memory lane.

Those born before the 1990s would have tasted the authentic old-fashioned buttercream cakes decorated with various floral designs and childhood favorite cartoons on a special day or birthday celebrations.

Back then, cakes were a hit when they were mostly made with a light sponge and decorated with lots of colored creams.

Every visit to the pastry shop has never been a disappointment. Flipping through a photo album while choosing a cake design in your favorite cartoon characters with buttercream, was a joyful and memorable experience.

The era of those precious moments is long gone, but a 60-year-old bakery in Pudu attracts a constant stream of repeat customers who prefer the original taste of its old-fashioned buttercream cakes.

Located in the center of Jalan Sungai Besi, Chen Tiang Cake House has been the home of over 30 types of vintage cakes and pastries since its inception in 1961, with its old-fashioned word exterior against a yellow sign and an original even older sign above.

The pastry shop, which is operated by the second and third generations of the Han family, has received much praise from internet users with its old-fashioned buttercream cakes, a nostalgic treat for many city dwellers.

According to the third generation of the family, Lois Lim, 21, Chen Tiang Cake House was founded by his grandfather, Han Yooi Kang with just a small kiosk in a “Kopitiam” before expanding into the current store which is located right next door. several years later.

“Then my grandmother, Wang Ying, 76, joined the group 10 years after she married him at the age of 25. Since then she has been working here until now.

“Everyone who is part of Chen Tiang Cake House today has been with us from the very beginning. The person behind who made every item on the shelf, the recipe that had been passed down from the founder, and even the machinery and equipment have remained the same for 60 years.

“I would say our secret to keeping our business going until today is loyalty (staff and customers),” she recently told Bernama.

According to Lim, his loyal customers are mostly elderly Chinese or Malaysian citizens of Pudu, who know that all of the ingredients used in the bakery are halal certified.

However, there has been a recent surge in demand for its cakes from young entrepreneurs, who have switched to the hybrid business approach, which is a combination of online and offline experience.

Cut into rectangles, most of the cakes at Chen Tiang Cake House are impeccably designed with a delicious buttercream filling and appear to have the famous’ 90s flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

In the 60s, each slice of buttercream cake was sold for 20 sen, and over the years the price only increased to RM3, the lowest in the Klang Valley.

“Apart from cakes we also have several other daily fresh baked items such as cream puffs, Portuguese egg tarts and tuna rolls starting at RM 2.50 each.

“We are completely pork-free and all of the ingredients are sourced from halal certified suppliers to bake and prepare each of the bread and pastries,” Lim said.

Their old-fashioned display case is hard to miss with an open display of their baked goodies, featuring display cases of bread, cakes, donuts, and even cabbage.

The one thing you can’t take your eyes off here is definitely the vintage-looking cakes in their fridge with various designs that haven’t changed over the years, decked out in a colorful and fabulous buttercream.

“In addition to traditional sponge cake and later cakes, we also make vegetarian egg-free cakes for those who want to consume egg-free cakes.

“It’s not easy to last up to 60 years (taking into account various crises including Covid-19) but with the support of loyal customers we take great pride in retaining the old school features and feel “Vintage” even if it is not the case now. many old pastries like this still survive.

“Although there are varieties of modern cakes available and they have become a trend for parties or celebrations, or to feed their social media, we have always received positive feedback for our signature vintage cakes because it is difficult to get them in bakeries these days, ”Lim said, adding that the bakery operates daily from 8 am to 5 pm.

For Ahmad Fateh Abdullah, 23, a loyal customer of Chen Tiang Cake House for the past seven years, visiting the bakery has been an immersive experience for him.

“I used to buy their bread at school for breakfast or tea time. When there are occasions at school or birthday parties, we will prefer Chen Tiang Cake House bakeries because the cakes are not too sweet and the buttercream and sponge cake are just nice and airy. .

“Bakeries are such happy places in my book. Not only do they hand out sweet treats, but it’s also a hub for great food.

“We know they use halal ingredients to bake their cakes and pastries, so I won’t have to be ‘was-was’ (questionable) when consuming their food,” he said.

Meanwhile, another vintage bakery, ‘Australian Bakery Since 1970’, has taken a different approach by offering new menus to customers in addition to keeping their Halal certified cakes, pies and cream puffs.

Popular among the locals of Seapark, nearby Petaling Jaya, the bakery, which has been in operation since 1970, is still there until today, welcoming customers, thanks to the hard work of Chan Kah Heng, 68.

According to Chan, the bakery was one of the oldest bakeries in town and still retains the nostalgic bakery aroma among customers who grew up in the 1970s, although the premises and kitchen have been renovated with modern features.

“When I started Australian Bakery with my father, I had just finished school. My father, who was a bread distributor around Kuala Lumpur, used his car and van for his business and owned a store called “Rex Bakery” in Old Klang Road in the 1960s.

“I frequently skipped school to help my father run his bread business and it was around this time that we met several renowned bakers to learn from the best before deciding to open a pastry shop and bakery. “, did he declare.

He said the buttercream cake is a bestseller and popular among his customers who have made special orders for birthdays and anniversary celebrations.

“It is encouraging to note that there has been a constant demand for our personalized vintage cakes until today,” he added.

“However, as the market evolves, we continue to evolve by studying market demand based on consumer preferences for cakes and pastries, as well as producing new menus and modern cake decorations without ruling out our signature menu.

“As such, we also produce modern cakes such as Red Velvet, Onde-Onde cake, Japanese sponge cake, durian cake and mini cake, which are decorated according to current consumer tastes”, a- he declared.

According to Chan, “Australian Bakery since 1970” opened a second outlet in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar in May this year, which is currently run by his eldest son, Philip Chan. A total of 250 types of cakes and breads are sold at the two outlets.

Chan said he owed his success to repeat customers who have supported the bakery for two generations since its inception 50 years ago.

“All of our breads and cakes are baked fresh every day. Food unsold during the day will be donated to the needy such as charity houses.

“One of our recipes for success is the use of fresh ingredients. For example, a whole durian is used for our durian cake which is not mixed with any artificial colors or flavors.

“Most of the cakes sold in the market are mixed with artificial sweeteners and flavors. Our cakes are made with real fruit.

Meanwhile, Philip said that back in the 1970s, each slice of the buttercream cake was sold for 20 sen.

“Today, despite the 40% annual increase in the prices of ingredients such as flour, cooking oil and butter, we are still able to keep our prices as low as possible. The last time we reviewed our price was January 1 of this year. We only increased the price by 10 percent, ”he said, adding that his buttercream cake is now priced at RM 3.50 per slice.

Philip is convinced that there is still a demand for vintage buttercream cakes as these traditional cakes are not readily available in modern bakeries today.

While modern menus are popular among the younger generation, there are still some people who prefer vintage buttercream cakes, he said, noting that the taste, smell and texture of foods can. be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back childhood memories to many.Bernama


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