Even people who make a living from peddling desserts know the importance of moderation and nutrition.
Erwin Parengkuan and his wife Jana, who own The Baked Goods, a new cafe on Jalan H. Agus Salim that specializes in rich cakes and delightful cookies, introduced diabetic-friendly versions of their best-selling cookies on Wednesday.
“It was Jana’s idea,” Erwin said. “She is the creative behind The Baked Goods.”
Located in Menteng, Central Jakarta, the shop is most popular for its dark chocolate and cashew cookies, carrot cake, dark chocolate cake and cupcakes, he added.
Although not formally trained, Jana took to the kitchen to whip up dishes for their first son, who was a finicky eater as a child. She became partial to desserts and strove to make treats that were delicious but not too unhealthy.
The couple has carried this dedication to health through their culinary adventures, always opting for fresh ingredients and experimenting with new recipes.
“We use all real ingredients and no preservatives,” Erwin said. “If [the dessert] features lemon, then it is purely lemon juice.”
Along with their commitment to fresh and wholesome ingredients, The Baked Goods stands out in the dessert market with its strong Czech influence, which comes from Jana, who is half-Czech.
“Jana’s father is Javanese but her mother is Czech. She was born in Prague and moved to Jakarta when she was seven,” Erwin said. “Her grandmother was very good at making desserts — cookies and cakes. Every Christmas she would make lots of desserts for us when we went to Prague, or she would send things to Jakarta.”
Despite these annual treats, Erwin said Jana still longed for the sweet Czech specialities, so she learned the recipes from her grandmother and started making them on her own.
The Baked Goods is the only place in town to get a slice of the delicious and comforting bublanina , a traditional Czech coffee cake filled with fruit and dusted with powered sugar.
The cafe also offers fruitcake, cheesecake, pancakes, an array of coffee and a few savory dishes
Since Jana specializes in desert and Erwin enjoys cooking savory dishes, the couple regularly created multicourse meals to entertain their friends at home. Eventually, they turned their passion into a business and started an online treats company, Party at Home.
“Because we liked to party at home,” Erwin said with a smile.
Eventually, Jana’s creations impressed the grocery store Kem Chicks at Pacific Place Mall in South Jakarta and were also sold offline.
Then a friend offered the couple the space in Sabang, Menteng, and they set up shop under a new name.
“We had to change it from ‘Party at Home’ or people would think we were party planners or something,” Erwin said.
The shop is rather new, opening on Nov. 11, 2011, for luck, Jana said. But the couple is quickly finding an appreciative, sweet-toothed clientele.
And to keep them happy, Erwin and Jana are continually listening to customer feedback, as well as developing new baked goods to ensure they always save a little room at the end of their meals.
“Before we didn’t see our customers because we were either interacting with them online or they were seeing the salesperson at Kem Chicks,” Erwin said. “But now, here, we can get comments and input directly.”