Sherman's Food Adventures: Cake-Ya

Cake-Ya

If you thought that Port Moody was an unlikely place to find outstanding roti, then be prepared for more strangeness. Well, the fact that you can drive leisurely without fear of someone stealing your parking spot is probably odd enough; but hey, we're not in Richmond! Something straight out of "it should be on Robson Street", Cake-ya exists where you least expect it to be. Yes, it is a Japanese bakery/dessert shop located on the backside of the major thoroughfare (St. John's) on Clarke Street. It churns out delicious treats in an extremely non-descript storefront. There are 2 reasons I know this place exists. First, the good folks at Foodosophy told me so. Second, Guy Smiley treated me to a bunch of their Purin or Japanese pudding, which resembles a Creme Caramel; but is steamed, not baked. OMG, these cups of creamy awesomeness blew me away. The reason? I wanted to eat more of it, much more. The custard is smooth, only semi-sweet and the caramel sauce has depth with a beautiful burnt essence.

Other than the regular Custard, you can choose from Matcha, Coffee, Cheese, Black Sesame and Milk Tea. My favourites are the custard and cheese. The other flavours are indeed good, with an excellent infusion of flavours; but I'm somewhat partial to the more plain flavours. It is somewhat consistent with my love for vanilla ice cream and regular potato chips. Call me boring; but that's how I like it. The price for one Purin is $2.50 and if you get 6, it'll be somewhat cheaper at $13.99. If you do get 6, that is exactly the amount of flavours they have, so you can try them all this way.

Alas, Purin ain't the only thing going for this little bakery that could. I was hoping to try some of their freshly made Daifuku (or mochi balls stuffed with red bean paste); but they didn't have any. However, on a return visit, I was able to score some. Usually, one must call in ahead of time to reserved an order. It makes sense really. Nothing worse than leftover daifuku which will not be as soft as the day they are made. Furthermore, they cannot readily find the right sized strawberries for the daifuku. I got one each of the Strawberry Red Bean and Red Bean Chesnut. Unlike the prepackaged daifuku at T&T, the ones at here are a bit chewier. Not hard to eat by no means, it just has more elasticity to them. I personally like this over pillowy soft versions. The chunky red bean filling is sweet while not being too much so. I know this might sound strange, but I prefer the filling in the prepackaged versions because they are smoother. So, back to the original visit where I got a "Cheese Cake" and a Strawberry Cake Roll. Now I put the cheesecake in quotations because it is not the same as the North American version. With the addition of cornstarch, the cake becomes almost souffle-like. I enjoyed this particular one since it was not really all that sweet; thus I could get a nice cream cheese taste. Furthermore, the soft, creamy texture is just a delight to eat. As for the strawberry cake roll, that was another surprising treat. Simple looking, yet executed with care and delicateness, it was light to eat. The whipped cream is ever so airy and conservatively sweetened. The ripe strawberries are fresh and the cake, super soft and moist. With most Japanese food items, there is a certain delicateness and masterful attention-to-detail. This is more than evident with the products from Cake-Ya. Geez, there are some hidden gems out here in Port Moody. Wonder what we'll find next? Hmmm... Tune in tomorrow...

The Good:
- Delicately prepared treats (that are not overly reliant on sugar)
- Reasonably-priced
- The staff is super nice

The Bad:
- Well, it's in Port Moody, not exactly accessible for everyone
- Limited operating hours, it'll be closed before many can get to it
- Relatively small selection of items

Cake-ya on Urbanspoon

19 comments:

KimHo said...

I can already imagine some people (*cough*Mijune*cough*Anita*cough) jumping with anticipation on visiting this place! Now, specially considering that they made *you* go to this place, well, I think that says a lot! :D

Sherman said...

LOL Kim. I think YOU should go visit Cake-Ya! Definitely another strange location, different food phenomenon. But this time, I assure you that there is no hype. In fact, I don't even know if most people know this place exists!

holly said...

Oooh, another japanese bakery to try. The purin, fresh daifuku and strawberry roll would be a must for me. I'll definitelĂ˝ add it to my gps list of places.

Btw, have you tried Kei's Bakery on Burrard (2351 to be exact)? They have some interesting japanese/european style breads. I especially like their earl grey and matcha cream buns. You also have to be there early for the favourites as they only bake in small batches for the day.

nina said...

This is great - thanks Sherman! My parents are in Coquitlam and will love to hear about this place (my dad's dad owned a bakery in Japan). I'm sure it will bring back wonderful memories for him. Thanks for the tip!

trisha said...

hey, this place is really close to my old piercer. if i had known... i would have been celebrating new piercings with strawberry cheesecake! even the bread looks tasty... sometimes about japanese bakeries. their bread is always soft and chewy. i like a good crusty bread too but sometimes i crave japanese bread.

Anonymous said...

I read your review in the morning and went to Cake ya with my family today! Cheesecake Shortcake Daifuku we had it all. I like the fact that their items are not too sweet. My favourite thing was the Sweet Potato Tart. I also saw them baking cream puff pastry today.. should've asked if they were going to sell those. I took a sample of the pudding as well.. It wasn't as good as I thought it would. It needs to be more sugary.

Sherman said...

Yah, I guess it's personal preference. I like the purin to be less sugary since the caramel at the bottom is sugar anyways. But once again, it depends on what each individual likes!

Sherman said...

Holly, I haven't! I will try, thanks!

KimHo said...

Ah, Kei Bakery! That was the place I checked the one time we went to Bistrot Bistro but, alas, they were on holidays... And, if you thought these guys close early, the people from Kei close even earlier!

J. said...

Oh man, too bad it's so far. Steamed custards are awesome, the texture is always so smooth compared to baked versions.

Sherman said...

J, nothing is too far... LOL... Well, maybe Abbotsford... Wait, no it isn't! LOL...

trisha said...

oh, c'mon... abbotsford is just a hop away! :P

Sherman said...

Trisha, I'll prolly be out in Abby soon! Visiting my friends there...

Jenny said...

ever since I read the post on Foodosophy, I been wanting to try it out. But I don't want to drive all the way out to Port Moody just for that.

After seeing you post (I love caramelize pudding), I think a visit just for dessert is worth it. I guess now I can add the roti to my list too. Killing 2 birds with one stone won't be so bad then. :)

Sherman said...

Yah, Jenny it is worth it for the Purin alone! Not sure about Rehanah's though. It's been closed all week for some reason or another.

psylocke said...

hey shermy,
would they have gluten-free items there do you think?
I had a lot of great desserts in japan that were rice-based.

Sherman said...

Hi Nikita, I know that their mochi balls are made of rice flour. But I know that the other cakes do use wheat flour.

holly said...

I tried their home made daifuku, purin and strawberry roll. The daifuku was interesting, combined with a fresh strawberry or hand peeled chestnut. While I liked the chewy mochi texture, I thought the red beans could have been cooked a little more. I suggested they make a shave ice dessert with their adzuki beans for the summer. This would be an awesome addition.

The black sesame purin left a very nice after taste in the mouth and the strawberry roll was very light. Perfect after a roti from Rehanah's.

Next time, I want to try their mont blank (chestnut roll), earl gray purin and other tarts.

Actually, the 20 minute drive from Vancouver wasn't bad at all. Love my gps.

Robert said...

Stopped in at Cake-Ya the other day (after reading about it here) and picked up several things - all of which were enjoyed. I particularly liked the Black Seasame Okinawa shortbread cookies (just divine) and the Very Berry Roll (Strawberries, Blueberries & cream cheese) which was wonderfully delicate. This little bakery is a gem!