Maple & Market

There are some places that you really want to like. I’d been an occasional reader of Sarah’s Loft for about a year prior to her setting up Maple & Market, and the cakes baked by Sarah always looked so pretty. Her style, like her blog layout, is incredibly minimalistic and very Japanese-influenced. I believe she went on trips to Japan to hone her baking skills as well.

Maple & Market isn’t located in an extremely convenient location for me, but the opportunity to visit it arose when we happened to be having lunch at the nearby Old Airport Road hawker centre. Its chic exterior stood out in stark contrast against the surrounding heartland area, and throughout the couple hours we spent at the cafe we saw numerous passers-by eye the cafe curiously.

Pleasant and cosy interior.

Let’s start with the good: The interior of the cafe, though capable of handling a dine-in crowd of 12 at best, had a clean yet rustic and homely vibe to it. Staff were pleasant and well-informed, and didn’t hesitate at all with their answers when we quizzed them on the key components of each cake. It’s a perfect setting to fritter the afternoon away. If you can secure a seat, yes.

Popcorn caramel cake, $6.50 per slice.

I could barely mask my excitement at seeing the signature popcorn caramel cake on display. What a visually stunning piece of work. This was a vanilla cake covered with caramel cheese frosting, then topped with a drizzle of caramel and of course, caramel popcorn.

We attacked it with our forks and what followed was a period of prolonged silence where all of us tried to think of something polite to say. “I like the frosting!” chirped S, one of the nicest people I know. We nodded in agreement – the frosting was creamy, buttery and really quite delicious.

The cake, on the other hand, was unexpectedly dense. I’d thought it would have the airiness of Japanese cakes – y’know, all chiffony and stuff – but instead found myself eating what resembled a waterlogged, vanilla flavoured huat kueh. In terms of taste it wasn’t bad, but texture-wise it was heavy and sticky. Actually you can kinda tell from the cross-section of the cake pictured above. Also the popcorn was from Garrett’s, and they were lao hong (soggy). I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t.

Blossom, $5.50 per slice.

We also had the Blossom, which was a rose cake frosted with raspberry cream cheese. In between the cake layers there are bits of raspberry and caramelised pistachios.

The rose water lent a wonderfully light floral scent to the cake, and the raspberry cream cheese frosting was excellent. However, the texture of the cake itself suffered from the same flaw as that of the popcorn caramel cake, save that this huat kueh was rose flavoured .

Cake loaves on offer.

We had flavoured iced teas to go with our cakes, so no reviews on the coffee here. Their brews are from Nylon Coffee Roasters.

I really wanted to recommend this place, but in all honesty this was quite a disappointing experience. Other reviews on Maple & Market are largely positive though, which makes me hesitant to write off this place as a no-go. I’m such a wuss. Hopefully my next encounter with Maple & Market will be a better one.

Maple & Market
34 Cassia Crescent
#01-82
Singapore 390034

Opening hours: Noon to 8 pm, Monday; Noon to 9 pm, Wednesday to Friday; 10.30 am to 10 pm, weekends. Closed on Tuesdays.
Tel. no.: 6348 8068

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