With a solid reputation and an iconic cake that has been famous in Jakarta since the 1980s, The Mandarin Cake Shop remains a big name in the pastry and dessert scene today.
It was early 1980, just before the year’s holiday season, and scores of people were queuing up outside one of the most popular pastry shops in town to secure a package or two of the most talked about treat to take to their family and loved ones. The American chocolate cake from The Mandarin Cake Shop at Mandarin Oriental Jakarta has been popular among dessert enthusiasts since not long after it was launched, and the now-legendary cake marked the start of an era that would see The Mandarin Cake Shop as the city’s go-to pastry shop for high quality pastries, cakes and every dessert in between.
In the present day, The Mandarin Cake Shop offers freshly baked pastries, cakes and a large variety of savoury delicacies; all crafted by the experienced team of talented and passionate pastry chefs. The pastry shop also comes with a show kitchen easily accessible from the hotel’s lobby, as well as the adjacent all-day dining venue, Cinnamon, ensuring every visit to the shop, whether it’s a simple pick-up or drop-off of a custom-made order, delivers an engaging experience like no other.
We had the privilege to sit down with Executive Pastry Chef Remi Martinazzo as the humble chef talked about The Mandarin Cake Shop’s current favourite selections, what it takes to be a successful pastry chef, and shared a delectable recipe of his own.
E: How long have you been with Mandarin Oriental Jakarta and how did you end up here?
A: I’ve been with Mandarin Oriental Jakarta for a year and three months now, and it’s my first experience in Indonesia. I started out in renowned patisseries, such as Patisserie Frederic Cassel in France, before moving to London, where I worked for several five-star establishments, including the 2-Michelin star restaurant Sketch and The Connaught. I picked up this interesting opportunity as a pastry chef to discover different flavours and different ways to enjoy food, and naturally I took the offer to relocate here.
E: Presentation is just as important as taste when it comes to dessert. What inspires you to stay creative?
A: I believe every chef gets his own personal styling based on his background, experiences, or personality. My current creations are mostly inspired by these factors, as well as my adventures since I arrived in Jakarta. To stay progressive, we also look at competitors or other chefs and try to mix and match these influences.
E: What can guests expect to find at The Mandarin Cake Shop that they won’t find anywhere else?
A: The entire range of products – from our cakes to pralines and cookies – is exclusive to our kitchen and you won’t find them anywhere else. As you may know, our cake shop has been on the map since the 80s, and originality is our strongest suit, which is why we constantly challenge ourselves to be better than we were yesterday.
E: Among the current products, what is your one favourite that you’d say is the crème-de-la-crème of the pastry shop?
A: The creations made with exotic coconut and pandan. For me, these are very refreshing with very distinct flavours.
E: Can you tell us a little bit about the goodies we’re going to enjoy today?
A: We have the cappuccino tart, which is ganache infused with fresh coffee and fresh chocolate. The next is our variation of red velvet. I discovered there’s a big interest in red velvet cupcakes in the city, so I decided to make ours with a little twist – a fruitcake with a layer of sponge cream and raspberry.
E: I understand you’ll be sharing a recipe with us as well?
A: Yes, I’m very happy to share the recipe for our chocolate and coconut tart, which is sea salt-infused tart with chocolate mousse and 75% dark chocolate cream.
E: In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful pastry chef?
A: Cooking or baking in general, I think, is more than just a job. It starts with passion nurtured by self-discipline and curiosity, able to learn from anyone and anything to improve. You also have to be able to adjust your own style in accordance with recent trends and changes.
Chocolate & Coconut Tart
Chocolate Sweet Paste
• 125g icing sugar
• 250g butter
• 375g flour
• 35g whole egg
• 30g cocoa powder
1. Cream the butter and icing sugar together in a bowl until well combined, then beat in the whole egg, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
2. Mix in the flour and cocoa powder until the mixture comes together as a ball of dough.
3. Tip the pastry onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth.
4. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. Alternatively, freeze for use at a later date.
5. Roll the dough, cutting a disc bigger than your case ring and line the tart case. Store in the fridge for 30 minutes then trim the edge of the tart.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 160C. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Chocolate and Coconut Cream
• 50g milk
• 150g coconut milk
• 30g caster sugar
• 75g egg yolk
• 190g dark chocolate
1. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk.
2. Place the bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water, stir gently until thick.
3. Combine with the melted chocolate, and then pour into the baked tart case to set.
4. Store in the fridge until set.
• 7g gold gelatine
• 250g coconut milk
• 30g caster sugar
• 250g whipped cream
• 250g desiccated coconut
1. Soak the gelatine in cold water, keep in the fridge for 15 minutes.
2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar and 20 percent of the coconut milk, bring to boil. Drain the gelatine and add the warm mixture. Stir well; add the rest of the coconut milk.
3. Whip the cream smoothly.
4. Stir the coconut milk mixture into the whipped cream.
5. Mould immediately, store in your freezer until fully frozen.
6. Unmold and roll in the desiccated coconut, then place on the tart.
Sea Salt Chocolate
• 200g dark chocolate (70%)
• 5g crushed sea salt
1. Melt and temper the chocolate to 30-31C.
2. Crush the sea slat flakes using a soup spoon and add to the tempered chocolate.
3. Spread finely on baking paper then when it starts setting, cut into squares or any other shape and keep in the fridge until fully set.
4. Use to decorate the coconut mousse.
* The chocolate and coconut tart is an exclusive recipe especially for Exquisite Taste readers.