CNA Luxury : People
Aaron de Silva
18 October 2021
In the first episode of CNA Luxury's podcast series Next Gen, Jason Kwan reveals how he gave up a high flying banking career in Tokyo to take over Lana Cakes from his mum, and what he plans to do with the business in the future.
CNA Luxury's Next Gen Interviews - S1E1: The Story behind Singapore's Lana Cakes and their chocolate fudge cakes
Lana Cakes started as a home-based business in 1964 before moving to a shophouse on Greenwood Avenue in 1975, where is still stands today. CNA Luxury's Aaron de Silva speaks to Jason Kwan who shares what it was like taking over the business from his mother, Violet, and continuing its legacy
The Finder - For Global Citizens
July 7, 2021
Chocolate cake is pure indulgence and we've got a list of awesome places for you to get some of the best chocolate cakes in Singapore:
1. Lana Cake Shop (Lana Cakes)
When talking about the best chocolate cakes in Singapore, Lana Cake Shop instantly comes to mind. Founded by Mrs Violet Kwan in 1964 who then retired in 2016, everyone’s all-time-favourite Lana’s Chocolate Fudge Cake ($55 for 1150g) is moist, smooth and not overpowering. Its highlight? A thick, shiny fudge that envelopes the whole cake. It even has a nostalgic flavour to many Singaporeans.
The sole outlet of Lana Cakes in Greenwood Avenue has been in business for over five decades and is still the place to go to satisfy your chocolate cake cravings. In fact, many say you will not look at chocolate cakes the same way again once you have tried a piece. Want one? Start placing your orders, stat. You need to place your orders at least a week in advance and it’s almost impossible to buy one through walk-in.
June 10, 2021
Talk about one of the best classic Chocolate Cakes in Singapore, and Lana Cakes which has been around since the 1960s will certainly come to mind.
“Baked in small batches, and frosted by hand”, all cakes sold at Lana Cakes continue to be made in-house on the premises at Greenwood Avenue.
Now you do not need to travel to Bukit Timah to pick up the bakes as the signature Chocolate Cake (from $55 for 1.2kg) can be delivered to you via Oddle Eats (the only platform that Lana Cakes uses for delivery service).
The classic soft, moist and feather-light chiffon cake is covered with signature chocolate fudge, and you would realise there is a lot more fudge in the cake now (requested by many customers over the years).
Old school (which brings back good memories)
and still fudgy delicious.
May 21, 2021
Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has been going through a rough patch lately.
Sad about the recent news: One local business which has come forward to offer their support is Lana Cakes.
The younger Kwan said he was "filled with sadness" and was "disappointed" about the recent news of negative treatment of TTSH staff was facing.
To show their appreciation to the frontline workers, the 56-year old came up with the idea to deliver some cakes to workers in the hospital.
"These [healthcare workers] are the people who are so dedicated, they've sacrificed a lot to go through last year, and they continue to do so," he said
Kwan added that sometimes, the smallest gestures count: "It doesn't need to be a big gesture, sometimes the little things do work too."
March 28, 2021
When you talk about the “best chocolate cake in Singapore”, the name “Lana Cakes” will usually surface.
The family-owned and operated business started with Mrs Violet Kwan, and her son has taken over the business.
Getting the cake is not the easiest process, as the shop is located at Greenwood Avenue Bukit Timah.
And you cannot buy a single slice, but the entire cake in which the standard size and serve about 12 to 16 slices. If you dine alone, there’s a lot of chocolate cake.
But you see, people grow up eating her chocolate cake and this has been part of many birthday celebrations across the years.
While some have commented it is not quite the same as before, I still like this classic cake which has this rich fudge layer, very deep-chocolatey flavour with moist and soft chiffon cake layer. Old school (which brings back good memories) and still delicious.
25 December 2020
Since 1964, Lana Cakes has served generations of Singaporeans who have grown up indulging in the well-loved chocolate cake, right up till 2016 when owner Mrs Violet Kwan decided it was time to retire. Admiringly, her beloved son left his banking career in Tokyo and returned to continue her legacy.
Lana Cakes goes beyond being a home-grown name and brand. The beautiful lilac purple piping on the brown chocolate fudge cakes, the traces of purple in the smaller boxes and ribbons and colour accents, are all hints of Violet herself.
Insightfully, continuing Lana Cakes’ legacy is not easy. Loyal customers who have grown up with these cakes at every other celebration have an etching memory of the nostalgic flavours. Jason shared that he now has to “make sure the cakes now are as good or actually even better than what people remember of how Lana Cakes taste like”.
There is much honesty and pertinacity in this second generation of maintaining the legacy by making the cakes indistinguishable and in fact, better.
"Lana Cakes is still the same. The recipe hasn’t changed. This is my mum’s legacy. I wanted to make sure I get it right.”
Jason Kwan, Owner of Lana Cakes
Take our word for it, he truly has gotten it right.
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.
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
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 Sunday Times - 28 February 2016
Keep Lana Cake Artisanal:
Made in small batches and frosted by hand
For as long as I can remember, I have celebrated my birthday with a moist and glossy chocolate fudge cake from Lana Cake Shop in Bukit Timah.
Mrs Violet Kwan's famous chocolate cake has taken centrestage at the tables of many birthday parties and celebratory events, filling the tummies of thousands of Singaporeans. Her cakes take many Singaporeans back to a time when photographs were captured on film and eating cake at a party was the highlight.
Perhaps Lana chocolate cakes are so coveted because they are not widely available.
Lana Cakes is a legacy and Mrs Kwan a legend.
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."
The New Nation - The Sunday Monitor (May 20, 1984)
"Eating with Violet Oon"
Mrs Violet Kwan, whose light-as-air chocolate chiffon cake with the gelatine-like chocolate topping has won her many fans and spawned many imitations throughout the kitchens of Singapore.
Other cake shops have also tried to copy her formula but to gourmets there's nothing like the real thing - and it's found in Mrs Violet Kwan's Lana Cake Shop at 36 Greenwood Avenue in the private housing estate of Hillcrest.