You’re hard pressed to grow up in Vancouver and not have experienced one of these Chinese bakery-style cakes. Whether at a birthday party or other celebration, as a Chinese kid growing up, we seem to all have had one of these cakes at one point in time. Filled and topped with assorted fruit such as strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, honeydew, and kiwi, the cake is capped off with a slightly sweet cream frosting and structured with a fluffy light sponge.
Nowadays, anytime I have the privilege of treating myself to a slice it’s an instant flavour burst of nostalgia. We visit Pine House Bakery and witness the making of one of these classic cakes. We talk to the head baker about where he learned these techniques for baking. And also discuss why these cakes seem to be the standard at Chinese bakeries all around Greater Vancouver and where the origins of the cake came from.
An ode to their late grandmother, Aling Mary’s is a Filipino bake shop operating out of Surrey and Vancouver. We stop by their flagship location in Surrey and hear from the family about the history and origins of their bakery which has been operating in the lower mainland since 1996. Baked fresh and swooped up early mornings daily is their pandesal bread. A fluffy and versatile Filipino bun that can be eaten plain with a bit of butter or also spruced up and filled like a sandwich with your choice of meat or even eggs. However, the highlight of dessert and staying on theme to this episode, the family shares their special Ube Cake with us. A bright and deep purple, this cake is a total eye catcher and has the taste to match. We talk about the prominence of ube in Filipino flavours and also talk about the rise in popularity of Filipino food and why it’s taken this long to be part of the culinary conversation in Vancouver.
Everybody's not so favourite paper weight,
the classic fruit cake.
To cap off the series we make our way to Panaderia Latina Bakery on Vancouver’s Joyce street. In the culmination of all our Chinese baked goods that we examined throughout the series, we take a look at their Latin counterparts. We experience a spread of colourful Concha buns, to savoury Empanadas, sugar dusted Pan de Muertos, and a decadent Dulce de Leche Cake. We celebrate the diversity of flavours we are so lucky to be able to experience in Greater Vancouver and reminisce about all the human stories we were able to share and experience throughout the series.