In the book Swann’s Way, the unnamed narrator takes a bite of a madeleine—and a flood of memories come rushing in. The same magic happens in The Baker’s Table.
Offering cakes made from candies that were popular in the 80s and the 90s, one bite of their cakes is enough to take you back to your childhood. Haw Haw, Mik Mik, Chocomallows, Lipps, Orange Swits, and Peter’s Buterball are just some of the candies that serve as inspirations—and ingredients—for owner Jonnathan Em’s creations.
“We get a mixed crowd. We have older people coming in to get a taste of their childhood favorites, and we also get younger people who have never tasted the candies we’ve used before,” Jonnathan says. And what a great introduction these younger customers get—each cake tastes exactly like the candy it was based on, but with a grown up twist.
There are three cakes that are available everyday (the Butterball, Haw Haw, and Flat Tops cakes), some cakes that are available most days (the Milo Mousse and the Hany cake), and some cakes that are available only on specific days. The Chocomallow cake is available on Mondays, and the Orange Swits cake on Tuesdays. “We sometimes have a problem sourcing the candies,” Monika Santiago, Jonnathan’s wife and business partner, admits. “It’s so hard to find some of the candies we use in supermarkets, especially since we buy them in large quantities. For example, we use seventy Flat Tops to make a single cake. For our LaLa crinkles, we actually buy LaLa from a palengke in Bulacan!”
The effort is well worth it, though. The Butterball cake is light and fluffy, the sponge cake layers tasting of caramel. The Flat Top cake is dense and fudgy, but not overly sweet. The Flat Tops flavor comes from the icing and the filling in between its layers—think of it as a more sophisticated interpretation of the classic chocolate treat. The Haw Haw cake is spot on, with the vanilla cake, tres leches filling, and Haw Haw spiked custard and icing making for a light and dreamy cake.
The Chocomallow cake is worth planning your visit around—tall and imposing, it looks just like a giant Chocomallow biscuit. A vanilla sponge cake base is topped with chocolate ganache mixed with crushed Chocomallows and whipped marshmallow cream before being enrobed in creamy milk chocolate. “People have a hard time finishing a whole slice because it’s so big,” Jonathan reveals.
Surprisingly, the idea for making cakes out of childhood candies came as a sweet accident to the couple. When Jonnathan rented the space where The Baker’s Table now stands, his main product was Paul Calvin’s (a sister company owned by Jonnathan and his father) healthy breads and baked goods. He decided to make some cakes as filler items for the product line up. When he and Monika went shopping for ingredients, they saw a pack of Haw Haw. “I asked him to make a Haw Haw cake for me,” Monika says. “And it ended up being good, so we decided to sell it in the store.”
These days, the couple is busy with developing new cake flavors. They remain adamant about using only local candies. When Jonnathan asks our group what our favorite candies and dream cake flavors are, the answers are varied: a White Rabbit flan? Pintura cookies? Perhaps Pochi, Mango Bango, and Pom-poms cakes? One person recalls her collection of carefully folded Serg’s chocolate wrappers. Many of these candies are now discontinued, lost to time and competition from bigger foreign brands, their legacy only a lingering taste in our memory. But we know one thing—if anyone can recreate these remembered flavors, The Baker’s Table can.