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Nougat Pancake, Pearl Nougat, and Nougat Cake – Taipei’s Top Three Cakes

Nougat Pancake, Pearl Nougat, and Nougat Cake – Taipei’s Top Three CakesTo highlight “Taipei Cakes”, the pastry industry participated in a competition at the 2015 Taiwan Culinary Exhibition (2015台灣烘焙美食展). The teams and pastry chefs racked their brains thinking of ways to perfectly combine flour dough with nougat. To create innovative new pastries that are both delicious and attractive, each participant spent more than half a year just for testing.

The creation of “Taipei Cakes” involves integrating confectionary culture with generational trends to forge a perfect link between traditional and contemporary concepts. Consequently, the participating groups pulled out all of the stops in interpreting pastries according to their own inspirations and backgrounds. At the 2015 Taiwan Culinary Exhibition, Yuhuahsin (御華興) won first prize in the “Taipei Cakes” competition. Their Nougat Pancake won the favor of the judges and the highest honor in the competition.

The “Nougat Mille-feuille” combines peanut nougat candy with mille-feuille and a chocolate coating.Crispy and Tasty Nougat Pancakes

Miss Su, who is the third generation owner of this old shop, said that her grandfather founded the shop in 1946 to sell traditional pancakes. She also said that the pancake batter is evenly clamped on both sides during baking, and this method of making pancakes has been preserved up until the present day. As pancakes represent entrepreneurial spirit, they are one of the shop's traditional items and used as the exterior wrapping for “Taipei Cakes.”

Nougat candy was originally very popular with tourists from mainland China, and has been offered in various flavors, such as almond, macadamia nut, and walnut There was a concern that mixing pancake batter with nougat would be too sweet. After some experimentation, it was decided to substitute trehalose for granulated sugar. As a result, the cost of sugar increased six-fold. In addition, when nougat is exposed to heat it becomes soft and even runny. Therefore, the nougat was wrapped in pancake to allow some of the moist steam from the nougat to be absorbed.

Yuhuahsin’s Taipei Cakes are shaped like egg rolls, and the ingredients combine the fragrance of flour, the crispiness of corn meal, and the mellow and savory taste of milk in a manner that preserves the flavor of “Taipei Cakes”, as well as their moderately firm texture. However, pancakes can only be rolled up when hot; therefore, they require a lot of effort, and their added saltiness makes the flavor of “Taipei Cakes” even more diverse.

Skillfully Adding Pearl Milk Tea Ingredients to Increase Flavor

“Pearl Nougat” created by the second place winner in the “Taipei Cakes” competition, Kuo Yuan Ye (郭元益), caused the judges eyes to light up. Kuo Yuan Ye has been in business for 149 years, and General Manager Lee Kuntsung (李坤聰) points out that if you trace the development of pastries in Taiwan you will find that early on they were used for worshipping gods. It was the newly arrived immigrants to Taiwan who prayed to the gods and sought spiritual solace. As a result, there is a close relationship between pastries and the history of Taipei.

The second prize winner, “Pearl Nougat,” incorporates pearl milk tea ingredients to create a whole new flavor.It takes a lot of careful thought to create a new product that combines the spirit of tradition with today’s creative spirit. As foreign tourists are very interested in trying Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶), after multiple discussions it was decided to use pearl milk tea ingredients as the foundation and as popular elements to combine with Kuo Yuan Ye’s traditional characteristics. The result was “Pearl Nougat.” This combination can encourage foreigners unfamiliar with traditional Taiwanese food culture to try Taipei Cakes and gain an understanding of traditional Taiwanese food culture.

The shape of Pearl Nougat is reminiscent of the traditional Green Bean Cake (綠豆糕). However, due to the pearl milk tea ingredients, the texture is completely different. New Zealand butter is used to make a fresh whipped protein-based stuffing, and this is the main material in nougat candy. The melt-in-your-mouth nougat candy is wrapped inside a spongy crust to create a completely new product.

The size of the third prize “Nougat Cake” makes it easy to pick up and eat at any time.The Image of Fresh Lingers in People’s Minds

Florida Bakery (福利麵包)’s “Nougat Cake” was the third prize winner with a fresh and neat wafer-like appearance. A Florida Bakery employee pointed out that in line with Taipei City’s clean image and to cater to Taipei City residents’ busy schedules, it was decided that first and foremost that these cakes would have to be properly packaged, clean and sanitary. They would also have to be of proper size, so that they could be picked up and enjoyed at any time.

The team put a lot of thought into the filling and decided to add pungent black pepper commonly used in everyday life. During testing they choked on the black pepper many times before successfully producing a nougat cake with a rich and creamy flavor, which is not significantly different from that of regular nougat cakes. However, there is a faint spicy aftertaste with a lot of personality. In addition to adding black pepper, the master chef with 20 years of experience, Wu Huai-ling (吳懷陵), also tried other flavors such as curry powder, sea salt, prickly ash, and chili pepper in the spirit of innovation.

One participant’s flange cheese cake, entitled “Nougat Mille-feuille,” also won acc laim. Peanut noug at candy was combined with mille-feuille and coated in chocolate in anticipation of winning over younger snack lovers. Another participant created “Taiwanese Mango Nougat Candy” with a very flattering color scheme, earning bonus points for the delicious Taiwanese mango flavor.

Resembling an egg roll, the “Nougat Pancake” won first prize in the “Taipei Cakes” competition