At Take THE Cake, the relatively new bakery in Queensborough, rows of chocolate tarts, scones, chicken pies and cheesecakes can put you in a sweet dilemma. How do you decide between the equally sinful slices of tiramisu, red velvet and black forest cakes?
It’s tough; thankfully pastry chef Lalit Pant recommends fresh fruit and fresh cream cake, and his most popular chocolate truffle to this reporter.
Pant's cakes have been selling like, well, hotcakes, ever since he opened the store last September. On Mother’s Day 2022 alone, Pant sold as many as 100 mango cheesecakes.
“People come all the way from White Rock, Maple Ridge and North Vancouver to buy cakes from us,” says Pant, who has 22 years of experience in baking pastries.
Pointing out the irony, his wife, Anita Pant says that before starting the bakery, they were the ones going far to buy cakes since there weren’t any options in the area.
Having worked in reputed hotels (like Taj, Grand Hyatt, Crowne Plaza, and St Paul’s) in India, U.K., Dubai, Oman, among other places, Pant is well aware that taste preferences vary among people across the world.
What goes into making Take THE Cake's cakes?
So when the Indian-born chef moved from England to Canada six years ago and saw the cultural diversity here, he set out on a mission: to bake pastries that satisfy all, no matter which country they are from.
In the chocolate truffle, for example, two different types of Belgian chocolates are used, he explains. Asians prefer sweet, so there is a slightly sweeter 53 per cent cocoa bean chocolate, and for Canadians and other cultures who don’t prefer sweet much, there is 73 per cent cocoa bean chocolate, he adds. It's a mix of both.
“This way, everyone is happy,” says Pant.
Take THE Cake is Pant's first solo business venture (previously, he worked with a catering company, and ran a bakery with a partner). And he seems to be giving it his 100 per cent. The first three months, he worked 4 a.m. to midnight everyday, with no days off in between.
It’s been almost a year and he still does the work of four people, sometimes clocking in 16 to 17 hour workdays.
“But this is his passion,” says his wife. “He is thinking about the bakery 24 hours a day,”
Take THE Cake will be expanding
With the burgeoning demand for his bakery goods, Pant has had to grow his team from two to 10 members. Soon, he says, Take THE Cake will expand to Metrotown, Langley, White Rock, and in a few years, to Toronto and Calgary, and beyond Canada, to Europe, Dubai and India.
But for now, Pant has more pressing matters to attend to: like making ice cream. He has been busy expanding his already extensive menu to include ice creams, ice cream shakes and cheesecake shakes.
About 20 new items, including double chocolate thick shake, dark chocolate brownie shake, Oreo cookie and Ferraro Rocher shake and ice cream desserts with a fruit base and a mix of caramel custard and cookie crumble, will juice up the bakery’s menu over the coming months.
You can follow Take THE Cake’s new offerings on their Instagram page to decide your pick, or head to their store at 1110 Ewen Ave. at Queens Plaza in Queensborough, and order a chocolate truffle cake like this reporter did.