Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No. 20... Chocolate Cake from Lana Cakes

This is one cake Yuan is never convinced that it deserved to be the "top chocolate cake". What is so great about this one then? Till now, I cannot find the answer... I am serious... People who has patronized this cake shop knows about their attitude problem... Ok, the service is not that bad, just that this stall keeps me pondering why people insist this is the best...

Ok, sitting in one secluded corner of Greenwood, this shop was said to be around for a long time. I guess so, based on its decor of the shop. I didn't take the interior as I thought it was kinda rude since I don't have the habit of asking for permission... Anyway, this is how the shop will look like...

Walking alittle closer... Sorry about the flash... I thought I was behaving pretty sneaky...

Guys, before you order the cake for any occasion, it is important to check the opening hours and days... It is extremely important as it may not open on the desired date. I am not kidding you... It is a 43% probability. Relatively high...

Alright, the cake box... nothing special...

Ah... here is the cake...

I thought the focus should be on the fudge since that is what makes the cake nice...

As usual, I always try my best to provide a cross section so that you can have a clear view of what you will be expecting... Having taken so many photos of cakes, Yuan and I have mastered the art of "tasting" the cake by looking at the photo...

The cake is relatively dry in comparison to Awfully Chocolate and Jane... and frankly speaking, there is nothing fantastic about this cake... The opinion is not just from me but 7 people... It is only nice if you eat it on its own WITHOUT comparing with other cakes. Once you set a benchmark... you will be surprised by your expectation of what I would say a good chocolate fudge cake.

Before I sign off, here is the comments from the Straits Times...
"Food fads come and go but when Singaporeans want a taste of their youth, they order a Lana cake. People have tried to decode the secret of the light chocolate sponge covered with shiny chocolate fudge. Copycats have appeared and disappeared over the years, and people have tried to replicate the fudge, but no one has manage to make it quite as well as the one-woman baking institution: Mrs Violet Kwan, 80."

YOU GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!

Anyway, the cake costs $30 for a 750g cake BUT they don't provide a cake knife and if you request for a small box to pass a slice of cake for your colleagues, 80 CENTS please...I will only give a 7 (no longer 6 after Cafe Cartel and BreadTalk) for the cake since it is alittle dry and the chocolate is not the rich kind... However, for the extra 80 cents (-0.5) and no cake knife (-0.5)... Sorry, it is only a 6/10.


Yuan's Comments

First i would say that this fudge cake has a higher cake content than fudge content. Thus maybe it is good if you like the taste of chocolate chiffon. Maybe thats what ST claims as light chocolate cake which reminds you of your childhood days. However, i don't recall paying $30 for a chocolate cake during my childhood days.

Second i beg to differ from the ST reviewers opinion that other chocolate fudge cake shops come and go. In fact, Jane cake station and awfully chocolate has been around for many years as well.

Third I think its location and attitude simply do not make business sense. It only opens 4 days a week and is located in a private estate behind NJC. I guess it is only meant for regular customers. It does not even provide knife and you have to pay for additional box. There is really little incentive to visit the shop again unless you believe in brand loyalty.

In the nutshell. I feel that this is one of the most over rated chocolate cakes around. As what Fen mentioned, it is nice if it is the first time you eat a chocolate fudge cake but once you eat more chocolate cake, you will have a second opinion. Maybe our opinions are a little biased but i cannot convinced myself why this cake is ranked above awfully. Feel free to comment.

Lana cake shop
36 Greenwood Avenue
Tel: 6466 8940 / 6466 5315

21 comments:

Iml said...

So where in singapore do you think has the most reasonably priced best chocolate cake? I simply cannot get enough of a good chocolate cake, banana cake and carrot cake.

Fen said...

Hi iml,

Actually all the chocolate fudge cakes are priced around the same. The only issue is how far are you willing to travel.

I personally prefer Choc.a.bloc for its creamy choco fudge but will go for Awfully chocolate for the convenience.

I have consolidate the 4 major players of chocolate cake in today's entry (check it out under August 08).

As for carrot cake, I have not found one that will make me crave and travel all the way down for it.

Carrot cake... I heard that Dan Ryan's is good, going to try it soon, will let you know if it is worth the trip.

Iml said...

Thank you the comment. Will check choc a bloc. Tried Lana's carrot cake. Not too bad.

Anonymous said...

me too think Lana cakes are over-rated & over-priced.

RedWine said...

Lana is good for a chocolate fudge cake with good sponge and not so sweet and cloying fudge. Awfully choc may be more moist but has an awful plastic aftertaste (acknowledged by at least 6pple). Chocabloc is way too wet and the cake doesn't spring up after biting, so Lana is still the cake for me.

Fen said...

Actually when I first ate Lana without trying Jane's, Awfully Choco and Choc.a.bloc, I really love it. However, having tried rest, I thought the sponge was alittle on the dry side.

I have to admit that Choc.a.bloc is very wet. The cake practically sank by the time I reached home and my sisters describe it as porridge... My parents and Yuan didn't like it but all 3 of my colleagues praised it.

As for sweetness, I beg to differ. Jane's is actually less sweet while Awfully allows a reduction of sugar by 5%.

Ultimately, cakes are subjected to individual's mood and taste. Thus, it is nice to hear praises for Lana :D

Redwine, thank you for your comments :)

May Chu said...

I have been a huge fan of Mrs Kwan's Chocolate Cake!

The reason was that Mrs Kwan's (Lana Cakes), Chocolate Cake was soft, light, the fudge topping was delicious, tastes just like the Hershey's Chocolate syrup, one would squeeze all over a bland vanilla ice-cream, topped off with some crushed peanuts, whipped cream and a red cherry. Yummmmmm!

Mrs Kwan started making her famous chocolate cake from her Binjai Park home, in the late 60es n early 70es, in Singapore,while her husband bred daschunds.

Mrs Kwan, at the time, would make her famous Chocolate Cake, in a locked room, alone,( the baking would be done in the kitchen of course!)... and no one was allowed to figure out how she got her famous chocolate cake to be so delicious?

Lana Cakes was always my choice when it came to birthdays and celebratory gifts.

I really miss her chocolate cake, and still dream of eating it one day!

When it's a great chocolate cake?....
I would not mind paying a higher price. It is usually well worth it.

And a great story behind the Lana Cake's - Chocolate Cake!

God Bless,

May Chu Harding
Arizona, USA

Fen said...

It is always nice to hear from Lana fans, at least it lets other readers know why their cakes have been well-received over so many years.

Thank you for sharing with us the history of Lana cakes.

Anonymous said...

I love Lana's too. As I lived in that area before, I used to drop by every Saturday after work to pick up a cake, any cake, for the weekend. Of course, it never lasted the weekend! My favourite was always the choc fudge.

And despite all I've read and heard about their attitude, I've never had a problem with them at all. It's like going to the food court... order, wait, pay, collect and go. If they're closed, they're closed.

I've tried Jane's Choc a bloc, Awfully Chocolate... still nothing comes close to Lana's.

Fen said...

Alright, different strokes for different folks... I do have some of my colleagues not liking Jane's cake station and Choc.a.bloc.

I haven't really had an extremely bad experience to warrant a complain but I do find that it is a basic for a cake shop to provide a knife.

As for opening hours, although there is nothing wrong to have more rest days than others. But if an occassion happens to fall on their closed days, then one would have to consider alternatives, which happen to me. I have already decided to get a chocolate cake for my dad 2 years ago but alas, it was closed on the actual day.

Moreover, Lana Cake Shop does not have a website and given a first timer, there is a probabilty that people may just decide to swing by but realized it is closed.

Maybe the article was worded in a negative and hostile manner but when you travel (not once) specifically for their signature chocolate cake and that it didn't impress your diners, no cake knife or that it was closed, disappointments are inevitable.

Nigella's Angel said...

Oh my goodness! A cake 'sponge' that can actually shine!

It is definitely not a cake but more like a springy chiffon kueh! LOL!

Not a fudge made with icing but pudding!

I have read many comments of their cakes but never seem to find at least one comment that can properly describe their cake like a real chocolate fudge cake. Now I know why, because it is not really a 'cake' at all! Got chocolate taste anot? I am very impatient to know!

Does it instead feel like a springy chocolate kueh to you? haha

To me, it feels like an improvised cake made of cheap ingredients.

OMG May Chu, what crazy bad food did you managed to eat during your pampered childhood days? A chocolate fudge cake is not soft and light! And the fudge from a chocolate cake is not like Hersheys chocolate syrup LOL!

As to why it is 'popular' to some people— it was initially bought by rich tai tais back in the 80s who cannot bake and cook but wanted to provide a homemade(crappy) taste to their kids and husbands way back in the 80s. Ingredients back then were substandard and cheap compared to now, just like 80s food like retro salty butter cream cakes or condensed milk mixed with Milo. But quality was cheap back then and the rich tai tais couldn't discern quality and they got used to the cake and spread the nonsense to their other rich friends who needed something home baked(crappy) to make themselves look like real housewives.

And May Chu has been very enlightening on the staff's attitude. It is because the owner lives in the rich Binjai area that is why she and her gang behaves like spoilt rich snobs and doesn't know customer service. Her shop is probably the only job she had in her life. Her estate neighbours probably bought from her because of her friends network. And they saw her as someone sent from tai tai heaven who was there just around the corner to lift their burden of making any cakes in their rich homes so they could be more outdoorsy tai tai! But too bad that lazy and negligent tai tai tat behaviour back in the 80s has spread and created a wave of a very bad image for local chocolate cakes still! If only those tai tais had learn how to bake, someone would not be selling chocolate kueh still?

Foreigners, pastry chefs and home bakers will laugh at the faux substandard chocolate 'cake' found in a certain area of Singapore. Only stupid people who cannot tell quality will keep on buying from snobs who cannot bake and use a cake mixer. Their skill and quality will always remain at the home baker level because they are egotistic and do not want to learn and are stingy on ingredients.

Professionals are just laughing. I hope no one in Singapore will be stupid and buy ugly and exorbitant chocolate fudge cakes for their birthdays anymore, one can just bake them at home. That is what smart and capable people in the west all do. They will LOL at stupid Singaporeans who actually buy whole ugly-loooking chocolate fudge cakes. It is okay to buy it in slices though as cafe desserts. Only rich and stupid people who are incapable to bake would buy simple-to-make whole chocolate fudge cakes, ugly cakes at $30 for their birthdays somemore OMG! LOL! Happy cake? No, robber's ugly cake!

Please don't ever mention Lana cakes again, they are a disgrace! Nigella Lawson the domestic goddess who has her own chocolate fudge cake recipe will laugh at them and say, "Let them eat their LJ cake/kueh!"

May Chu said...

This is for Nigella's Angel,

You bad-mouth yet you worship Singapore No Nigella Lawson, who is not a chef, but pin-up girl.
In addition, it is so characteristic of Asians like you to worship anything 'British' blindly.
You e-mail is full of bitterness at those who may be better off than you, but you do not harbor ill-will.
You certainly have very little idea of what a true fudge cake should be like, and I am not going to waste the time telling you. All you want to do use the fudge cake as an attack against those who have done well in life.

Nigella's Angel said...

May Chu,

is it so characteristic of Asians like me to worship anything 'British' blindly?

No. Tell that to the tai tais and people who have been baking and buying the Lana 'cakes' that are imitations of real chocolate fudge cake since the British worshiping days in the 80s. I am too young for that LOL

I don't care anything about people well off than me, but I am just laughing at those who are rich but yet stupid with their culinary knowledge, who have been attempting to use their so-called 'social status' and stinginess to rewrite the identity of foods, for e.g. brainwashing people's perception of chocolate fudge cake into local kueh. LOL I laugh at their ignorance. People who are rich does not necessarily mean they have done well in life ok? A good example is the Chocolate Kueh Shop. Have you even seen any foreigners buying their cakes? Hell will freeze 10 times over before that happens.

Of course I know what a true fudge cake should be like, and you don't have to waste your time telling me, it would be wrong anyway since you are an ardent fan of Lana's cakes no I mean her kueh ahhhh!

When people like Lana and their fans insult others food intelligence by making and eating fake food and proclaim it like its the very thing in the world, people like me who actually knows a thing about cooking and baking must give them a lesson on their stupidity for falling to others' food scam.

Lana Cake Shop must rename as Lana Kueh Shop.

Here, I pity you so I will let you try to make Nigella's Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe and let you know what a real Chocolate Fudge Cake tastes like looks like— http://www.nigella.com/recipe/recipe_detail.aspx?rid=250

Hope you can understand the British lingo better than you understand fake fudge.

Nigella's Angel said...

And....

in this video, Lana's chocolate fudge 'cake' has been proclaimed by an Asian and an ang moh as being inferior and "SYNTHETIC"! So there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVD_fl7MmqA

Sherrie said...

Although Nigella's Angel commented in a very coarse manner, I do agree with Nigella's Angel(on the culinary part) Fudge cakes are not meant to be light & springy. That's texture of a Steam Kueh, a Chiffon Cake or just a normal Chocolate Layered Cake. Fudge cakes are meant to be a little more moist & dense with a thick fudge coating. Hence, its call Fudge Cake because of its fudgyness.

I guess like most cases regarding food, we all have different taste buds & personal preference. Most of the time, we grew up with altered variations of what is the idea on how something taste like.

& because of that, we ultimately deem it as it is because for some its a taste that they are used too builded after time. Again, all of these, I can't stress enough that its all about personal perception.

Taste is indeed subjective. Altered to different preference, background & personal history with the food itself. Some people prefer to stick with what they know & for some, their taste change after discovering others.

As for Lana's Cake, kudos for sustaining in this competitive industry for such a long time.
& if you love sticking to your childhood classics or is a die hard fan of light springy cake, its a cake to try for :)

Anonymous said...

i have tried Lana cakes and i find it quite nice but you should try a new place where my friends just intro to me. Chocolate Origin located at changi village. I can really taste the real chocolate goodness that is so smooth and rich. Its a MUST TRY!!!!!!!!!

Fen said...

Noted and thank you for the recommendation. =)

Anonymous said...

I recommend VICKY'S CAKE CONTACT NUMBER TEL : 64664000. Was a fan of Lana's Cake iniatially, but did not like the attitude of the staff. Finally a friend recommended Vicky's Cake and I have been ordering from them for almost 20 years. Trust me you will love it.

Fen said...

Ah, heard about Vicky's but haven't really got the opportunity to try. Thanks for the shoutout.

Hungry Dog said...

Too much hype about Lana's cakes... You really should try Vicky's cakes. Which is at Henry Park. Once you've tried their chocolate fudge, you would really think that you've been wasting time and money on Lana's. Vicky's cakes' service is also something that Lana cannot compare.

Fen said...

I heard about Vicky's and I have made a mental note to try it but haven't gotten a chance to swing by. Hopefully, will get to blog about it real soon.

Thank you for the recommendation.

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