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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

More eateries offering mille crepes cakes

Some bakeries put their own spin on it, with fruit, chocolate, peanut butter and even durian in between the layers.
January 16, 2013
By: Eunice Quek
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More eateries offering mille crepes cakes The cake is made with at least 20 paper-thin French pancakes layered with fresh pastry cream.

A cake made with thin pancake layers is catching on in Singapore.

Called mille crepe - mille means thousand in French - the cake is made with at least 20 paper-thin French pancakes layered with fresh pastry cream.

The cakes, which must be served chilled, are burnished with a gold sheen of caramelised sugar on top.

Some bakeries put their own spin on it, with fruit, chocolate, peanut butter and even durian in between the layers.

The first shop to sell these cakes in Singapore seven years ago was Classic Cakes in Sunset Way.

Baker Charles Quek's inspiration came from his girlfriend, who had tried the cake at Lady M Confections in New York.

The patisserie is credited by The New York Times in a 2005 article for creating the cake. It also says that Lady M had trademarked the name Mille Crepes.

Since then, the delicately lush dessert has become popular in France and Japan as well.

And now in Singapore, at least four more outlets have picked up on the trend over the past six months.

They include First Love Patisserie (above) at Ion Orchard's Food Hall, Doutor Coffee at Marina Bay Financial Centre and Paris Baguette at Wisma Atria.

Jakarta-based First Love, which opened three weeks ago, makes its mille crepe cakes using a recipe from a Hokkaido chef.

One of its owners, Mr Jonathan Ng, says: "Each cake has at least 20 layers and we felt that it's time to bring in a different type of cake for Singaporeans to try.

Many people have already tried chocolate or strawberry cakes, so we hope that customers will try mille crepe cakes for the first time at First Love."

So far, only two flavours are available, but the company is looking to introduce more in the coming months.

At Wisma Atria, Korean cafe Paris Baguette's take on the mille crepe cake ups the ante by incorporating light sponge cake layers in addition to crepes.

Burger chain Everything With Fries sticks to the traditional vanilla cream-layered cake.

Yet, with the new entrants, older players are still seeing brisk business. Singapore-based Humble Beginnings, which makes the cakes in Malaysia, started its online business here in 2007. Besides mille crepe cakes, it also sells cheese and sponge cakes.

A spokesman for the company says: "Interest has been picking up via word of mouth and to a smaller extent, via the social media. Both markets in Singapore and Malaysia are doing exceptionally well."

Classic Cakes' mille crepe cakes are still the faourite among fans that SundayLife! spoke to.

Mr Quek says: "It's great to know that more Singaporeans are enjoying mille crepes. Competition is always good as it gives diners more choice and spurs all of us to do better.

"We are always looking at trying out new flavours to suit Singapore palates."

His two shops offer four flavours - Original, Apple, Durian and Chocolate Chip - and the cake tops are caramelised only when customers come to collect their cakes. He bakes an average of six cakes a day.

On trying a mille crepe cake from Classic Cakes for the first time a few months ago, housewife Germaine Ong, 49, says: "I didn't expect to like the cake when my daughter bought it for me.

"When I think of layered cake, I think of kueh lapis, so I was a bit concerned about the cream. But I like that the cake isn't too sweet and the crepes are so thin."

Marketing executive Ena Lee, 25, a fan of the cakes, has tried the layered delights from Humble Beginnings, Classic Cakes and First Love Patisserie.

She says: "I've tried making the cake on my own, with ice cream instead, but it really isn't easy. I love the mille crepe cakes from Classic Cakes and Humble Beginnings as they are not too sweet. They are also impeccably made with thin crepes and just enough cream.

"Singaporeans generally like crepes so the combination with cream is very pleasant. I also like that they have a caramel crust.

"The cakes are very nice for celebrations. Everyone is always intrigued by all the layers."

euniceq@sph.com.sg

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