Asian Inspiration

You might find innovative cake design in the unlikliest of places...but after careful consideration, it might make more sense than you think. In metropolitan Kansas City, Bo Ling's has offered high-quality Chinese cuisine for 30 years. And in recent months, they have begun offering cake, both on their dine-in menu and for custom orders such as wedding or birthday cakes.

Owner Theresa Ng has been thinking about incorporating cake into the menu for quite some time. "When I go to Hong Kong, or anywhere in China, I"m craving that fruity, light cake," she says. "And I always wished we could have that here at home in Kansas City." Thao Le, a family friend, has been doing cakes for about 20 years. She has done many birthday and other cakes for the family, so it seemed like the perfect fit to partner with her, Ng says. Le is Vietnamese, so she is used to the same Asian style of cake, which is lighter than American cakes and not as sweet.

Le creates cakes in the Bo Ling's kitchen both for custom orders and for the restaurant's menu. Not only can customers order a slice of cake for dessert from the menu, but for parties of six or more who make a reservation 24 hours in advance, they can also order a full, decorated cake for dessert, which is perfect for large parties who come in for a celebration meal such as for a birthday. Ng has enjoyed the customer reaction to having cake on the menu. "Serving cake gets a much different reaction than serving something like flan or cheesecake," she says. "Cake just makes people happy."

The Asian style of cake is much lighter and more similar to an American sponge cake, and the buttercream (Le uses her own custom recipe) is lighter and not as sweet. The overall cake is not as filing as a traditional American cake. However, Le's cake design style is very much American, so customers get the American look with an Asian flavor and texture.

The cake business is still new for Bo Ling's, so the next step will be the fall bridal shows. Customers can call or order cakes online, and they can pick up the cake at any of their six locations, or Bo Ling's can deliver and provide setup. Take a look at some of the latest cake designs at www.bolings.com.