By Eyu Kai Jie

Michelin Guide - 4 July 2019

Chocoholics can indulge in the sweeter side of life to celebrate World Chocolate Day, which falls on 7 July.

Joanne Harris, author of award-winning novel Chocolat, once said: “Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or torturous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.” Every page of the classic novel spares no effort in its descriptions of chocolate, ferrying readers into a spiritual wonderland with nothing else but the sugary delight. 

Chocolate, which originates from seeds that nestle in the pods of cacao trees, comes in different varieties, from dark, milk and white. These chocolates have varying ratios of cacao, cacao butter and milk. More recently, there has been much buzz over ruby chocolates, which are made from ruby cocoa beans and have a distinctive fruity flavour. 

To mark World Chocolate Day, we highlight a variety of dining establishments to get your chocolate fix.

1. Lana Cake Shop

 

Violet Kwan, the founder of the legendary Lana Cake Shop, first learnt the now-famous recipe of the classic chocolate fudge cake from her sister-in-law Lani in 1964. Receiving nothing but praise for her fudge cake, Kwan initially sold the home-made cake from her Hillcrest Park home, but later decided to open up Lana Cake Shop in 1975 in the neighbouring Greenwood Avenue. Named after Lani, the shop continues to operate till today and has established a loyal and unwavering fanbase in the local community. However, the decision made by Kwan to step down from the business in 2016 left customers stricken with worry for the future of Lana Cake Shop. They breathed a sigh of relief when her son Jason Kwan chose to leave his banking career in Tokyo to take over the business last year, allowing his mother to enjoy her well-deserved retirement.

Since taking over, the younger Kwan has made distinct improvements to the signature fudge cake along with a makeover of the entire shop, presenting a contemporary atmosphere for customers to enjoy. However, the taste of the chocolate fudge cake still remains. The cake features a chiffon-like sponge covered with a glossy layer of luscious chocolate fudge.

Mrs Kwan discusses the history of her famously popular chocolate cake and where the brand is headed under the direction of her son, Jason.

STORY BY KAREN FONG

PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANZ NAVARRETE

Published on August 9, 2019, Updated on August 9, 2019

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Michelin Guide - 04 July 2019

1. Lana Cake Shop 

Violet Kwan, the founder of the legendary Lana Cake Shop, first learnt the now-famous recipe of the classic chocolate fudge cake from her sister-in-law Lani in 1964. Receiving nothing but praise for her fudge cake, Kwan initially sold the home-made cake from her Hillcrest Park home, but later decided to open up Lana Cake Shop in 1975 in the neighbouring Greenwood Avenue. Named after Lani, the shop continues to operate till today and has established a loyal and unwavering fanbase in the local community. However, the decision made by Kwan to step down from the business in 2016 left customers stricken with worry for the future of Lana Cake Shop. They breathed a sigh of relief when her son Jason Kwan chose to leave his banking career in Tokyo to take over the business last year, allowing his mother to enjoy her well-deserved retirement. 

Since taking over, the younger Kwan has made distinct improvements to the signature fudge cake along with a makeover of the entire shop, presenting a contemporary atmosphere for customers to enjoy. However, the taste of the chocolate fudge cake still remains. The cake features a chiffon-like sponge covered with a glossy layer of luscious chocolate fudge. 

8 Days - 04 April 2019

By Florence Fong, Annette Tan, Yip Jieying

Lana Cakes (Ranked #1)

We’re mighty pleased that Mrs Kwan’s son Jason has taken over the business and put the life and quality back into their beloved chocolate cakes. Over the last five years, we’d found ourselves consistently disappointed every time we tasted them. They were either dry, lacked the flavour of good chocolate, or were skimpy on the frosting. “Well, my mum was getting on in years, and she was tired,” replies Jason simply when we tell him the cakes are much better now than before. However, he adds that the signature bake’s recipe remains the same — all I’ve changed is the operational process so the quality is more consistent, and the source of certain ingredients. For example, the cocoa powder now is different from what my mum used years ago — back then there were only the few usual brands available, like Van Houten and Cadbury. Today, there are so many options. I did a taste test of about 20 different types of cocoa powder and we now use a blend of two kinds for our cake,” he shares. 

He remains tightlipped about the other ingredients, including whether the fudge contains melted couverture chocolate or not — “if I reveal everything, the magic of the cake would be lost,” he reasons. Anyhow, now that Mrs Kwan’s son is at the helm, the cakes are back on top and are even available for order online, with island-wide delivery. Welcome back, Lana!

The Straits Times - 6 March 2019

By Tan Hsueh Yun

Mrs Violet Kwan's son, Jason, has quietly taken over the business, learning the ropes, updating the processes, revamping the branding and tweaking cake recipes.

When Mrs Violet Kwan put up the storied Lana Cake Shop for sale in 2016, she was adamant about finding "the right person" to take over the business.

That person has turned out to be her son Jason Kwan, 53, who gave up his job as a banker in Tokyo to move back to Singapore. It has been 18 months and he said he is finally ready to talk about why he decided to continue his mother's business in Greenwood Avenue.

He said: "If I had come out and said I'd taken over, the only question people would ask is whether the cake is as good. It was never about me taking over.

"I wanted customers to see that there was a seamless transition. I've talked to customers who are happy that I've taken over. The encouragement, feedback and goodwill have been amazing."

The Straits Times - 6 March 2016

By Kenneth Goh

Nothing beats a Lana chocolate fudge cake.

 

It came up tops in a blind taste test conducted by The Sunday Times to find the best chocolate fudge cake in Singapore.

The panel, comprising Alysia Chan, executive sous chef of American smokehouse Meatsmith in Telok Ayer Street, Straits Times food editor Tan Hsueh Yun and food critic Wong Ah Yoke, sampled 10 chocolate fudge cakes from 10 stores across Singapore.

"The cake's layers are fluffy and light, without an oily taste. The smooth and glossy frosting has a stronger chocolate flavour with a hint of salt and the cake has distinct layers and a homespun look."