My expat friends and I were on a never ending search for good bakeries in China. Whenever we heard about a new one, especially a foreign one, we had to try it. Every time it was disappointing. Even the most expensive and highly touted cakes missed the mark.
This is to be expected though because China isn’t known for baking and convection ovens and cream aren’t exactly cheap. To give an idea of how bad the cakes are, we recently attended a wedding in China where the couple had a gorgeous tiered wedding cake from a famous bakery. My two-year-old, whose favorite word is “cake,” spit it out and left the rest of the slice untouched.
To put a spin on things, my Chinese friends in America always try to find good cake in America. They find American cake too sweet and too dense. I can understand that, I’m not a big fan of overly sweet cakes either. At least I thought I understood it.
A Chinese bakery recently opened up here and finally everyone has good Chinese cake. My Chinese friends are extatic and all recent birthday celebrations have included this Chinese cake. Finally, in America where there is easy access to the best ovens and amazing cream and butter and other bakers to learn from, there is lightly sweetened Chinese cake.
This is where I am lost. This cake is also awful. Everyone seems to love it though. So much so that they are spending insane amounts of money on this horrible cake.
The cake itself is spongy, yet soggy. It’s like biting into a memory foam mattress that dissolves with water. It also has a bit of a sour taste. To top it off, it has an oily icing that reminds me of eating finger paint. At first I thought the cake had just gone bad since we were at an outside party. Time and again, this cake is so bad that I can’t get it down and have to rinse out my mouth after coming in contact with it. Somehow, Chinese people love it.
My conclusion, Chinese cake isn’t bad due to limitation of skill or resources, it is bad because it is catered to Chinese tastes. They like their cake so let them have it. I will never try to find a decent bakery in China again.