Update (Oct 5): Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop will stay open after all. According to Cheng, his son will continue the legacy.
Way before mille crêpes made their way to Malaysia, there was the pandan layer cake. Among a row of rickety pre-war shophouses by the Klang railway station is Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop, an old school bakery that churns out desiccated coconut-dusted pandan layer cakes that have appeared in many a Klang kid’s birthday party. According to a feature by the Malay Mail, it was Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop’s owner Cheng Yew Ho who invented the pandan layer cake about 35 years ago, using a sturdier cake base to hold the dense jelly-like pandan filling (made from fresh pandan juice, santan and hoen kwe flour). Due to popular demand, Cheng also opened the iconic Golden Bake bakeries in SS2 and Klang.
Nearly four decades on, 69-year old Cheng contemplates retirement (without a willing successor in sight); the end of an era has come as Regent Pandan Layer Cake Shop will be closing shop at the end of the year. According to Cheng, reliable staff are hard to come by, and none of his children are willing to take over the business at Jalan Raya Timur.
We used to pop in every now and then for a slice or two of pandan layer cake for tea (or when the occasion calls, splash out on a 1kg cake). The small bakery houses a few cake display refrigerators; a wooden glass-fronted cabinet with an array of butter cakes, Swiss rolls and marble cakes; a metal rack where freshly baked goods are cooled; a table where cakes are measured (using a metal ruler, we kid you not) and sliced; and a small baking section at the back where one can see Cheng at work through the glass windows.
While it was possible to stroll in and buy pandan layer cakes (or yam layer cakes, or corn layer cakes), that’s no longer the case. After Malay Mail’s feature on the shop’s imminent closure was published, the little bakery has been inundated with phone orders and walk-in customers hoping to get a piece of layer cake. When we dropped by to pick up our order, they informed us that they’re no longer taking orders for any of the layer cakes.
If you’re one of the lucky few who managed to successfully place an order, we hope you’ll issue us an invitation for tea. If you couldn’t get an order in, note that the other cakes such as walnut cake, fruit cake, marble cake or butter cakes are still available. Do visit the institution for a freshly baked loaf and give Cheng a fitting farewell.
But not all is lost. If it’s the layer cakes that you’re after, check out Golden Bake Cake House (there are three of them, all operated by Cheng’s sons; located at Jalan Tengku Diauddin, Jalan Meru and Kampung Jawa) for your fix in the future.