Even before December hits, the excitement and anticipation for the arrival of Christmas is huge. There are many reasons people look forward to the holiday; in Korea, most people are quick to make reservations for Christmas cakes! Pleasing to the eyes and palate, Christmas cakes in Korea are exquisitely designed and decorated. To enjoy a Korean Christmas, don’t forget to purchase your very own Christmas cake from any of the locations along the Seoul Christmas Cake Road!
Pastry Boutique, the bakery at The Shilla, prepares two outstanding cakes in the form of Enchanted Forest and White Holiday. Enchanted Forest is a snow-white cake topped with mini-cakes of chestnut and chocolate cream in the shape of trees, creating a sweet forest you’ll be anxious to delve into. In comparison, the entirety of White Holiday is shaped like a Christmas tree with snowy boughs. One look and you’ll see why this cake is extremely popular year after year. Outside of the special Christmas cakes, Pastry Boutique is also famous for their dacquoise, a French dessert. Be sure to pick up one or two when you visit!
These days many people are making the choice to stay single, focusing on their own happiness. This Christmas, celebrate you by purchasing a single-serving cake! Café Confections by Four Seasons has come out with adorable Christmas ornament cakes. The colorful orbs are made of seasonal fruit fillings covered in a white chocolate shell and set atop a chocolate hazelnut cookie. Grand InterContinental has also joined in the singles’ style with their YOLO cakes. The cake comes in three flavors to choose from, including Apple & Chamomile Log Cake, a cheese mousse cake with green apple puree and chamomile tea; Golden Cappuccino Log Cake, a coffee scented mascarpone cheese mousse; and Rumba, a French-style chocolate mousse cake. Charlotte aux fraises, a strawberry and whipped cream cake, is also quite popular, and can be purchased as a set along with a bottle of French champagne.
Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul’s brand-name bakery Mont St. Clair will help make your Christmas sweeter. The bakery is the brainchild of world famous pastry chef, Hironobu Tsujiguchi. The first Korean branch opened in 2014 at Banyan Tree and then spread to the Main Branch, COEX Branch, and Pangyo Branch of Hyundai Department Store. A stand-alone shop in Itaewon was recently renewed and has been the center of attention for dessert lovers. This year’s special Christmas cake is the Chocolat Bergamot, a chocolate mousse based cake with the sweet taste of milk tea crème brulee. Mont St. Clair’s signature items, C’est la vie and whipped cream cake, have also been decorated for Christmas.
Dore Dore is a famous dessert shop well known for their unique designs and colorful visuals. The shop also gives each cake a name as special as their image, such as the Thank You Cake, Good Mood Cake, and Precious Cake. There are a number of branches throughout Seoul, making it easy to find. If you’re on a café tour through the city, be sure to put Dore Dore in your itinerary!
This year, Dore Dore has prepared three Christmas cakes in their classic cute style. Twinkle Twinkle Cake is a strawberry shortcake made with fresh whipped cream made from 100% milk. The mouthwatering blend of sweet strawberries and smooth cream has been a favorite for years. Dore Dore Yule Log is based off the classic French Christmas dessert, offering a deep, rich chocolaty taste. Lastly, Funny Cake is a miniature version of the bakery’s beloved rainbow cake, Good Mood Cake. The layers are spaced with various jams and sauces, including raspberry, blueberry, strawberry, citron, and ganache. Each shop also has a selection of additional cakes that are sure to draw the eye!
Gyeongnidan-gil Road, a sloped street in Itaewon, is lined with sweet cafés from the bottom to the top. Located at the peak is Frank’s, a hidden dessert shop! Frank’s is famous for recreating cakes that have appeared in movies and books. As fantastic as the cakes are to look at, cakes are meant to be eaten and those at Frank’s do not disappoint. With a camera in one hand and a fork in the other, feast on these delectable cakes.
Frank’s signature cake is a recreation of Mendl’s Cake from the Wes Anderson film “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Frank’s takes note of each detail, even going as far as matching the cake packaging. Each layer of this three-tier creampuff cake has a different choux cream filling among chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Only ten of these fantastic towers are made each day, making it extremely special. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones able to get Mendl’s Cake, Frank’s also has special Christmas cakes. Choose from the Strawberry Attack nestled in a red basket, the strong sweet chocolate sheet cake of Frank’s Winterland, or the beautifully gradated Merry Square Layered.
Fritz Coffee is famous among coffee-lovers in Seoul. The café serves high-quality coffee and freshly baked breads, drawing in crowds. Fritz Coffee is involved in every step of the coffee-making process, from purchasing fresh beans to roasting, grinding, and brewing. Upon the arrival of Christmas season, the sweet scent of Stollen blends in with the usual coffee aroma at Fritz.
Fritz’s Stollen is perfect for a gift, coming prepared in its very own tin printed with the Fritz seal mascot. The tin serves to keep the bread fresh, as Stollen is meant to be eaten in slices over a long period of days. Fritz’s Stollen gives off a buttery scent and a piece of marzipan is hidden at the center. The sweet, strong taste goes great with a coffee, warm mulled wine or hot toddy.
The organic European-style breads at May Bell Bakery have become well known across the nation. They are so popular that people will travel great distances for them, and items often sell out before noon. Choose from the extensive menu, including baguettes, buns, focaccia, whole-wheat bread, and French sourdough loafs. If you’re not sure what to get, we recommend breads with dried fruit, as they add a bit of sweetness to the strong bread flavor.
Stollen from May Bell Bakery seems rather simple, but the dried fruits that go into the bread are aged in rum for over one year, making this Stollen actually quite precious. Some people will even make a reservation for a loaf of Stollen a year in advance! After trying a slice of May Bell Bakery’s Stollen, you’ll understand why it’s so popular. The thick bread is full of various dried fruits for a new taste with each bite. With plain packaging to match the unassuming Stollen, the size is just right for a small family gathering or group of friends.
* This column was last updated in December 2017, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details from the official websites before visiting.