From colorful macarons and chocolate gems to decorative cakes, Go Cakes is a one-stop shop for custom and pre-made sweet treats, offering beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind desserts for a variety of special occasions. Founded by Stephanie Fong and Ariel Ip, it started out as an online business in 2015 before opening its San Marino storefront in 2017. In Chinese, the word for “cake” is dangao (pronounced dan-go), so Fong and Ip named their shop Go Cakes which they felt reflected the cheerful, spirited vibe of their store.
Fong grew up in Macau and is a self-taught baker—her education consisted of traveling around the world to learn various baking and decorating techniques from experts in places like China and England.
“After moving to the United States, I discovered that what customers wanted here was different than what customers wanted back in Asia,” Fong said. “So I put my own twist on some of my favorite Asian sweet treats.”
One of the most popular items on the menu is the GoPuffy, a small cake that features three layers in one bite—caramel sauce, crème brulee and fluffy cheesecake—and can be served warm or cold. Every weekend Fong bakes 200 of them and recommends calling in advance to reserve because they have a tendency to sell out fast. Her honeycomb candy is also in high demand, featuring a toffee-like texture and caramel flavor.
“When we put the honeycomb candy in our cakes, you have the crunchiness combined with the creaminess of the frosting and airiness of the cake,” Ip said. “A lot of customers like our cakes because they’re so light, and with a lot of people caring more about being healthy and consuming less sugar these days, we try to create a sense of balance. Our cakes aren’t too sweet, but we layer flavors in order to make them fun and enjoyable.”
In addition to custom cakes for all types of occasions, Fong makes macarons in eight different flavors. Among the most popular offerings are Earl Grey, Orange Passion, Lemon and Raspberry, in addition to Party Rock—a birthday cake-inspired macaron featuring rainbow-colored sprinkles. Customers can also order lattes, espresso, cappuccino, Americano and Matcha lattes to enjoy with their sweet treats.
This month, Go Cakes is adding a new treat to its menu. In a collaboration with Beijing Yogurt, Fong and Ip will offer small yogurt cakes with three different toppings to choose from: cornflakes, Fruit Loops and Oreos.
“Everything we create is inspired by things we come across in our daily lives,” Ip explained. “When we thought of yogurt, the first thing that came to mind was American cereal. We figured that yogurt with cereal would be a fun combination and this cake will also be very Instagram-friendly.”
Ip, who handles the business and design side of things, is an architect and photographer who amassed a large Instagram as a result of her adventures as a foodie. She also designed the interior of the store, which includes removable wood shelves in one of the walls that can be moved around to accommodate the various cake displays.
“I started shooting food and met a lot of restaurant owners, and that’s when I began to think of ways to combine my passion for photography and food with my background as an architect,” Ip said. “When designing our store, we kept one wall empty because we want to collaborate with local artists and provide a space where they can share their work with the community.”
When guests enter the store, they are greeted by a hanging display of rainbow-colored plastic table covers that Fong cut up and tied together to create a whimsical art piece. It has become a hit and now serves as the background for many of their customers’ in-store photos.
Fong and Ip also offer various classes and on July 20 have an expert coming in to teach participants how to make latte art. The duo can create tailor-made workshops for those interested in hosting a private party or special event, providing all of the supplies and ingredients for activities such as cupcake and cake decorating.
Go Cakes is open during the week by appointment only for custom cake consultations, but the bakery is open on the weekend for guests that want to drop in and enjoy sweet treats or browse the retail area, which sells a variety of fun items such as birthday candles, decorations, cards and party favors—making Go Cakes the ultimate one-stop shop for all your party planning needs.
“I love seeing our customers enjoy our cakes and have a good time,” Ip said. “It’s always nice seeing how excited they are when they come back, and meeting them inspires us. As a small, women-owned business, we appreciate the support of the community.”
“One of our customers ordered her daughter’s first birthday cake from us—now she is three-years-old and I have made her birthday cake every year,” Fong added. “I have customers come back for their baby shower cakes after I made their wedding cakes. I love that I get to be a part of customers’ lives and watch them grow. And seeing people enjoy our desserts is what makes me the happiest.”
Go Cakes is located at 2322 Huntington Drive in San Marino. It is open Monday – Friday by appointment only, Saturday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, and is closed on Monday. For more information, call (626) 234-2067 or visit go-cakes.com.
Go Cakes Business Spotlight appeared in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review on 7.5.19. Support Local Business.