Sweet Ambition

Learn how to make your favorite desserts so you don’t have to share

As most would agree, Vietnamese food is some of the most delicious in the world. From foreigner favorite bun thit nuong, to iconic pho bo, to crowd pleasing appetizer goi cuon, to the joys of a fresh, crispy banh xeo: the list is endless. One thing lacking in the country’s culinary pantheon, however, is cake.

As in most Asian nations, when it comes to dessert, the Vietnamese like to keep things light, be it with a che or a banh dau xanh, rather than finish with the type of weighty, chocolate and butter laden treats preferred by Westerners. However, founders of Kayke Didier Tayoro and Joel Zorrilla are hoping to change all that.

A professional pastry chef trained in France, Tayoro has more than a decade of experience creating delectable treats in some of the world’s most demanding kitchens. This includes at home in France, four years working for Le Pain Quotidien in London, as well as restaurants in New Zealand and more than five years working for Maison Marou here in Vietnam.

In January, spotting a gap in the market, Tayoro joined forces with Zorrilla, a passionate foodie from Ecuador who has been eating and blogging his way around the world for some years. In February they launched Kayke—Saigon’s newest bakery and culinary school that is developing a strong focus on workshops for both the everyday amateur as well as the aspiring pastry chef.

Despite having launched less than six months ago, the duo’s workshops have already proved popular. Among the first to launch was a vegan baking workshop, which Zorrilla says reflects the fact that Kayke’s best sellers are its vegan treats: the Kayke Vegan Donut Bites and Kayke Vegan Macaroons.

Mirror, Mirror on the Cake

Since then Tayoro and Zorrilla have also run a Berry Scones and Raw Chocolate Cake workshop—which Zorrilla says was a big hit. Most recently, however, the team added a Cake Mirror Glazing workshop, which Oi had the privilege to attend.

Currently Kayke is run out of Tayoro’s kitchen, and so to hold their events they team up with Audrey Pravata at Cuisine Cuisine, who allows the duo to rent her luxuriously appointed professional kitchen. Normally used for Audrey’s highend culinary classes, the kitchen is a fine setting for an evening of baking fun.

On the evening we attended we were joined by a select few other amateur bakers, including one already devoted client and her daughter, who have pledged to attend all of Kayke’s classes and it was soon easy to see why.

The well-structured class began with an hour of cake sponge 101, during which Tayoro ran all participants through the fine art of creating a winning cake foundation: from mixing and pouring the best batter to perfect oven temperatures and baking times.

This was then followed by a complementary glass of French wine—a feature of all Kayke’s workshops—before the group moved on to part two: show-stopping mirror glazing. A tricky technique for even seasoned bakers, results may not be perfect first time, however all participants left with a feeling that it is at least possible—if only with a little practice.

Team Bakes

Currently, Zorrilla says the firm is doing well in terms of sales of its baked goods—with newly launched Marketoi. com featuring three of its baked treats for online orders, while customers can—and frequently do—order through the Kayke Facebook page (www.facebook.com/KAYKESGN).

Workshops, however, are an area that Zorrilla is very keen to expand. One idea is to provide on-going classes for students at Ho Chi Minh City’s many international schools who may be keen to take up a career in pastry. With no formal cooking schools in the city, the duo hope to fill the gap for those teenagers perhaps wishing to pursue culinary studies in Europe.

The corporate world is also a potential target, with Zorrilla having spotted a gap in the burgeoning teambuilding market that is currently flourishing among companies throughout the city. Similar to the Mirror Glazing workshop, Zorrilla says these are likely to be half-day events where Tayoro will focus on bakes that need a team to work together to create great cakes.

As vegans continue to be some of Kayke’s most loyal and devoted customers, Zorrilla says they plan to run many more workshops focused on plant based baking methods while gluten free baking—something that is increasingly rising in popularity in Saigon—is also on the agenda.

Those keen on attending a Kayke workshop can keep an eye on the bakery’s Facebook page, were Zorrilla says he and Tayoro will keep followers well-briefed on all upcoming events, as well as new product launches.

Classes currently cost VND800,000 per person and can accommodate up to 10 people. The duo is also planning on a bigger kitchen to accommodate pastry delivery orders. The cake business, it would seem, is booming.

Images by Vy Lam

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