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It's Cake - for Goodness Sake!
Inside Feature

It’s Cake – for Goodness Sake!

Story By Sarah Pacheco Photos By Nathalie Walker
May 15 - 21, 2011

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It’s that time of year again, that special time between May and July when the air smells just a bit sweeter, the clouds appear just a tad fluffier, and weekends are filled with a never-ending array of celebrations.

  • Andagi (70 cents apiece)
  • Chantilly cake ($61.25, half sheet)
  • Chocolate Dobash (special order price)
  • Peach Bavarian ($40.75)
  • Malasadas ($7.25 per dozen)
  • Jin Dui ($1.15 for 3 pieces)
  • Haupia cake ($40.75, quarter sheet)
  • Bakery clerk Michael Shin
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Ah, yes, all of this can only mean one thing: Cake season is upon us.

“May, June and July seem to be ‘cake season’ due to the many graduation parties, Mother’s and Father’s days and birthdays being celebrated,” says Jan Tsukazaki, Napoleon’s Bakery general manager. And what better way to start this most-delicious seasons than with a custom decorated cake from Napoleon’s Bakery?

Available in quarter sheet (24 pieces, $40.75), half sheet (48 pieces, $61.25) and full sheet (96 pieces, $96.75) sizes, Napoleon’s Bakery decorated cakes come in flavors including Chantilly, Dobash, Chocolate Chiffon, Orange Chiffon, Vanilla Chiffon, Haupia, Peach Bavarian, Guava and Dream Cake.

“Our cakes are special because they are chiffon cakes made from scratch using the best ingredients we can find,” Tsukazaki says.

A tri-flavor Neapolitan creation also can be ordered for an added charge, while the popular, limited edition Red Velvet flavor is back, but only for orders made and picked up during the month of May. Standard-size Red Velvet cakes ($18.15) and cupcakes ($2.55 each) also are available.

“We started offering the Red Velvet cake as a special flavor for Mother’s Day, and it gained in popularity so we added it to other special occasions like Valentine’s Day and Christmas,” Tsukazaki explains.

“Personally, Dobash and Chantilly are my favorites,” adds the self-proclaimed chocoholic. “But, when I have the Haupia cake, I can’t get over how good it is.”

That mouth-watering flavor can be attributed to Napoleon’s commitment to quality ingredients. For example, the haupia for Napoleon’s classic Haupia cake is made every morning using fresh coconut cream rather than coconut milk, which gives the custard a richer, creamier texture and “real” coconut flavor.

“By ‘real,’ I mean natural, much like eating fresh spoon meat coconut,” Tsukazaki says. “We cook each batch of haupia fresh here — it doesn’t come frozen or in a can from the Mainland.

“And our Chantilly icing,” she adds, “is made daily from butter, cane sugar, milk and eggs, which we cook very slowly over a long period of time to get it to the right consistency.”

Every Napoleon’s Bakery dessert is made in much the same manner — fresh every day from ingredients that include C&H cane sugar, high-quality cocoa, canola oil and fresh fruits like bananas and strawberries.

And if the price of a certain product goes up, Tsukazaki says they continue to use it to avoid sacrificing the taste and quality of a tried and true recipe.

“We made a conscious decision to use the best ingredients we can, even if it means our products cost more than the competition,” she asserts. “Our signature Napples are made with butter, which just cannot be duplicated with any margarine or butter replacement — it just wouldn’t be the same flaky, buttery product we have all come to love.”

Customers also have come to love the designs that grace the tops of each custom decorated cake.

Design options range from Standard Decoration (confetti, roses or lei) to a more elaborate Photo Cake, in which customers can upload a photo of their choice at napoleonsbakery.com and have the picture transferred to their cake. Or opt to have a combination of the two.

“Each cake design is unique to what the customer wants,” says Tsukazaki, who began her career at Napoleon’s as a pastry chef when the restaurant chain first opened in 1983. “Our cake decorators are very talented artists; they have the intrinsic artistic talent and over the years have learned to transfer their technique from paint brushes to icing and decorating bags. It takes practice, practice, practice to hone their skills.”

Once the cake is taken care of, grab a sweet party favor or two from Napoleon’s Hot N’ Fresh operations, conveniently located within select Napoleon’s locations.

“We wanted to offer hot, freshly made dessert items like malasadas and andagi that would be ideal for people to pick up and take home,” Tsukazaki explains.

The first Hot N’ Fresh opened in 2004 within the Ala Moana Napoleon’s Bakery, and soon more popped up in Ewa, Makiki and most recently Wahiawa and Koko Marina, adding local favorites like sugar and cinnamon malasadas ($7.25 per dozen), andagi (70 cents each) and jin dui ($1.15 for three pieces) to the restaurant’s already impressive resume of confectionary treats.

“Customers are saying our malasada is the best they ever had,” Tsukazaki says with pride. “Each order is made fresh, so there is a wait time, but there’s nothing like a hot malasada.

“The other favorite is the andagi, an Okinawan donut,” she adds. “It’s something you find at carnivals and special occasions, but now you can have it any time at Hot N’ Fresh.” Ah, yes, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

Napoleon’s Bakery

  • Where
    • Various locations on Oahu, including all 24 Zippy’s and ACE Express locations
  • Hours
    • Most locations open 24 hours daily
  • Website
  • Notes
    • Napoleon’s Bakery online cake ordering was launched in March 2009 to provide customers an added option of ordering decorated cakes out of the convenience of their homes. All decorated cake orders must be placed at least five days in advance.