Find yourself in the sweet dessert emporium of Southeast Asia with these confections that are inspired by ingredients and recipes from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines
Indulge in these sweet treats that draw inspiration from various Southeast Asian influences. Our recommendations are so tasty, they will steal the spotlight from your mains!
1. Ondeh Ondeh Cake by Baker’s Brew
With customised cakes for any occasion as well as baking classes tailored to amateurs and aficionados, Baker’s Brew is the ultimate sanctuary for cake lovers and baking enthusiasts. Launched in 2017, this studio-café concept, nestled in the heart of town, will whisk you away with its delectable offerings.
Drawing inspiration from ondeh ondeh, Indonesian rice cake balls with gula melaka filling, the Ondeh Ondeh Cake is Baker’s Brew’s best-selling item. Think: soft double layers of pandan sponge sandwiching a layer of gula melaka and desiccated coconut. The cake is frosted with coconut buttercream, then topped with toasted pieces of coconut, coconut cookies and actual orbs of ondeh ondeh. Part of the classic cake selection, a slice of this locally inspired cake is priced reasonably at $7.50.
For more information, visit bakersbrew.com/cafe.
2. Pandan Coconut by Tarte by Cheryl Koh
Helmed by Cheryl Koh, a pastry chef at the three Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Amis, Tarte by Cheryl Koh is an incredible spin-off by the same group. Just a year after its launch in 2015, Koh was awarded the title of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef in the 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Like its name suggests, the store specialises in tarts but what sets her apart from her contemporaries is her impeccable palette and ability to marry flavours from all around the world.
A must-try is the Pandan Coconut tart, flavoured with pandan leaf so commonly seen in Southeast Asia’s sweet and savoury dishes. Pandan almost always comes with an accompaniment of coconut as it does here in the form of a rich coconut jam. Decorated with flakes of roasted desiccated coconut and fragrant pandan coconut cream, this $8 tart features a buttery almond pastry crust that melts in your mouth.
For more information, visit tarte.com.sg.
3. Pingo Petit Gateaux by Whisk & Paddle
Have your cake and eat it too as Whisk & Paddle brings you homemade desserts and pastries from éclairs and cakes to waffles and ice cream. Located by Punggol waterway, the café promises treats that are free from preservatives, artificial colouring and flavouring.
For those with an inclination for the sour, the Pingo Petit Gateaux is a soft pineapple calamansi mousse atop a crumbly round sablé. It’s a play on the classic petit gâteau (meaning “small cake” in French), typically a chocolate mousse cake. In this version, Whisk & Paddle uses calamansi, also known as Philippine lime, that you’d commonly find in food and beverages around the region. Priced at $7.80 each, the Pingo Petit Gateaux steals the limelight with its tangy punch.
For more information, visit whiskandpaddle.com.sg.
4. Kopi Gao Tiramisu by KURA Singapore
A combination of founders’ names, Koojee Chong and Rachel Chong, KURA also means “a storehouse for treasure” in Japanese. Masters at the art of brewing traditional tea and coffee, the two pastry chefs also plate treats inspired by local flavours for the perfect afternoon tea break.
Like the rich cups of coffee that you get from the kopitiam, KURA Singapore’s Kopi Gao Tiramisu is familiarity in a bite. The coffee is infused into mascarpone mousse piled onto finger biscuits soaked in traditionally brewed kopi, then finished with a dust of cocoa powder. Priced at $8, the Kopi Gao Tiramisu is a more robust-flavoured version of the popular Italian dessert.
For more information, visit kura.sg.
5. Pulut Hitam by Sinpopo Restaurant
Located in a conserved Katong shophouse, Sinpopo Restaurant is known for contemporary renditions of traditional recipes with dishes ranging from Nonya Kiam Chye Arg to its popular Har Jeong Kai Burger. Likewise, its desserts take a leaf out of the same book.
A mouth-watering riff on the traditional pulut hitam, Sinpopo Restaurant’s Pulut Hitam cake is made with all the key ingredients of this famous Indonesian dessert, including glutinous rice and palm sugar. Priced at $7.90 per slice, this confection comprises layers of black glutinous rice cake coated with toasted coconut flakes. To go with each slice is a generous scoop of black glutinous rice coconut cream infused with gula melaka.
For more information, visit sinpopo.com.