Coffee Shop & Bakery Review: Sweet Cillies Cakery. If you were a frequent visitor to Lourensford -, Blaauwklippen – or Slow Markets you may have come across the lovely Priscilla De Jonge, or “Cilla”, and her tasty cheesecakes. Cilla has opened a new shop in Tokai called Sweet Cillies Cakery a must visit for those wanting a sweet treat.
I visited Sweet Cillies Cakery this week to taste some amazing cakes, take some photos and sit down to do a little interview with Cilla. I really loved the decor, light pinks, dark greys, lovely little cupcake clock – really relaxed and delicious. I munched on the Carrot Cheesecake (which was AMAZING) and a great cup of coffee while I chatted to Cilla about her life, experience and the future for her little cake shop.
How did you become a baker?
I have always baked and I love working in the kitchen. When we went overseas in 2000, we were working at Country Clubs in America and we eventually ended up in New York working at a Country Club where I tasted the desserts and I told the chef that I think I can do better. He didn’t have a space for me in the kitchen, so I went to study a part-time course at the Culinary Institute of Long Island. Studying to be a pastry chef is really hard work. Afterwards, he had space in the kitchen for me and I started working and I was the only pastry chef, obviously thrown in the deep end making wedding cakes and all kinds of stuff. We were in the States for 10 years and we came back to South Africa and I obviously had my little dream of having my own little cake shop and in 2010 I open the Sweet Cillies Cakery in Fish Hoek.
I think we were there for about 4 years, and my husband started studying again so I baked him through University. He got a job in Stellenbosch so I closed the shop when we moved to Stellenbosch. While we lived in Stellenbosch I just did markets like Lourensford Market and Blaauwklippen Market.
Who were the big influencers in your life?
Both my grandmothers were very big bakers. My grandfather actually used to call me Pudding and he probably knew. I can always remember being in the kitchen.
Do you still attend any markets?
No, I don’t have time now.
How long have you been in this new store in Tokai?
We have been open since September 2017. So it’s really new. My sister drove passed and saw this amazing corner shop, right opposite Blue Route Mall and a busy street.
What makes your baking style different?
My baking style is more like your grandmother’s baking. Obviously, I follow recipes but I like to kind of putting my own spin on it, making it more fun. I tend to enjoy the American chunky and delicious cakes rather than a delicate French pastry.
Are you the only baker here?
Yes, I am the only baker and while I was working at Blaauwklippen Market, I met Maria and her sons have a boat and fish and her husband smokes the fish and she has a deli and she makes all the savoury dishes for the Cakery.
What is the inspiration for your cakes?
I just want everything to taste really delicious. And I know that it’s not healthy, but it is obviously something that you don’t have every day. Everything in balance: imagine life without cake?
Do you create a lot of cakes for special occasions?
Yes, I do a lot of birthday cakes and wedding cakes. I don’t do wedding cake tastings, though.
Do you have the same types of cakes every day?
I make whatever I feel like making.
What are the future plans for Sweet Cillies Cakery?
We obviously want to grow bigger. My dream was always to have this place and have all these women working for me. I want this space where moms can pick up their kids and bring them to the Cakery, and while they do their homework, the women can sit with coffee, cake and a quick catchup.
So, what is your most popular cake?
The baked cheesecake is what I specialize in. No fridge cheesecakes – only baked. In Fish Hoek, the most popular ones where the New York Style Cheesecake and the Red Velvet Cheesecake. On this side, in the new Tokai shop, the popular cakes include the Brownie Cheesecake and the Carrot Cheesecake.
When we moved to Stellenbosch, I was trying to get into a market, and it was very difficult to get in if you don’t know anyone. In the end, I went to the Slow Market and was basically begging her as there was another vendor who was making cakes and I said that I will just do Cheesecake. I had about 4 Cheesecake recipes that I made and had to sit down and think about making more varieties and then it kind of snowballed from that. When Lourensford Market opened, they took me and I was there for 2 years, just doing Cheesecake and I did really well there. I then moved to Blaauwklippen Market as the market was closer to home.
How important is quality ingredients to you?
Good quality ingredients in your cakes will always taste good. I don’t use gelatine, alcohol or pork in the shop. Obviously, we are not Halaal, but our cakes don’t contain any of these ingredients. I use a lot of butter and cream cheese and prefer Ladysmith Butter and Lancewood Cream Cheese and a lot of eggs – just like your grandmother.
Tell us a bit more about your High Tea:
Because Sweet Cillies Cakery is relaxed we are going to have a down to earth High Tea, where you can bring your daughter along as well. I will be offering some lovely teas in pretty teacups, really delicious little bits of food and cake. You can bring your office here for a relaxed day out of the office or a girls day out. Our High Tea will happen on a Saturday afternoon after we close up the shop. It will give you chance to taste everything we make and to meet new people. Our first High Tea will be a tea tasting to make it a little bit more special.
About supporting the small local businesses:
If you notice, I don’t stock the usual coke, etc. we have the Juicebox, which is a little company, and our shelves are full of products made from small local business, like the Easter Biscuits, pickled onions and more. My shop stocks a lot of the products made from many of the vendors that I met at the various markets.
Sweet Cillies Cakery is located opposite Blue Route Mall and has loads of free parking behind Tokai Square and at the mall across the road.
Sweet Cillies Cakery
Address: Corner Lente and Tokai Road, Tokai
Telephone: 074 192 8547
Monday – Friday: 07:30 – 17:30
Saturday: 09:00 – 14:00
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