Most Singaporeans would be familiar with Awfully Chocolate. The homegrown chocolatier started out with just one chocolate cake — the All Chocolate Cake — in 1998.
“I loved chocolate as a child, so I wanted to create a simple chocolate cake one could eat every day, dark and chocolatey but not too creamy and sweet,” said Lyn Lee, who left her job as a lawyer to pursue her passion for cake.
The All Chocolate Cake was a hit and from a small shop in Katong, Awfully Chocolate has expanded to a brand encompassing restaurants, dessert cafes, and takeout stores which offer an extensive array of chocolate and non-chocolate bakes, sweet and savoury pastries, desserts, beverages, and a wide range of artisanal chocolate bars and cookies.
You can even find Awfully Chocolate in China — 26 stores spread across six cities, to be exact.
More than two decades after Lee launched her All Chocolate Cake from her humble Katong shop, she is still moved by how Singaporeans embraced the very first cake she put out in 1998.
Lee recalled how detractors back then scoffed at the idea of a shop which sold only one type of cake. But her customers proved them wrong.
“We used to have aunties from Jurong take a bus for one-and-a-half hours to reach us, complain about how far away we were, then they bought up half the shop in one go to eat and give to all their friends and family.”
“I truly thank such customers, because they are amazing and saw us through those early years when naysayers were convinced we could not succeed,” she added.
Make a S’more like Awfully Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate S’more
“I chose this plated dessert because while we make our own marshmallow from scratch, you can simplify it by melting- ready-made marshmallows. Just use our ice cream and cookies to get that awesome Awfully Chocolatey flavour,” said Lee.
- Awfully Chocolate Hei ice cream
- Dark chocolate cookie crumbs
To make your marshmallow, you need:
- Water (1 cup)
- Gelatin or agar (25g)
- Sugar (2 cups)
- Salt (1⁄2 tsp)
- Corn syrup (1⁄2 cup)
- Vanilla extract or essence (¾ - 1 tbsp)
- Square baking mould: 5.5cm (L) x 5.5cm (B) x 4.5cm (H)
- Propane torch
Directions for making the marshmallow:
- Place the gelatin or/ agar into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Be careful not to touch the sides of the bowl
- In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt
- Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook till it reaches 120 degrees
- Immediately remove the saucepan once it reaches 120 degrees
- Start whisking the mixture and drizzle in the corn syrup as you stir
- Stop whisking when the mixture becomes thick and has cooled down
- Add in the 1 tbsp of vanilla extract or essence before transferring it into a piping bag
Directions for the S’mores :
- Scoop out 30g of Hei ice cream and mix in the dark chocolate cookie crumbs
- Roll them into the small balls and freeze them
- Fill half the square baking mould with the marshmallow mixture
- Place the ice cream balls in the mould and fill the rest of the mould with the marshmallow.
- Place the moulds in the freezer for at least an one hour before serving
- To serve, remove the s'mores from the mould and place them on a heat resistant plate
- Use the propane torch to caramelize the marshmallow coating
What makes good chocolate?
With over two decades of experience producing chocolate products, Lee knows a thing or two about good chocolate.
“We are probably the only bakery and chocolatier that gets its cocoa and chocolate made to its own specifications, right down to the kind of cacao bean.”
And you can tell the difference — for instance, in the chocolate’s mouthfeel.
“Good quality chocolate has a smooth velvety texture when it melts in your mouth and this is due to the higher amount of natural cocoa butter as well as the absence of any emulsifiers or preservatives. You’ll find this in all the chocolate we use.”
The downside of having no artificial additives is, of course, a shorter shelf life as compared to commercial chocolates. It’s a good thing, said Lee. Good chocolate cake is meant to be eaten fresh, after all.
And in case you’re wondering, more and more Singaporeans are demanding good chocolate.
Lee pointed out that she has seen an increase in the number of local artisanal chocolate brands offering quality chocolate. In addition, many companies — including Awfully Chocolate — offer an Asian twist to their products, like the Pisang Mas bananas in the Chocolate Banana Cake.
Still very much a labour of love
It’s quite clear that Lee’s passion for chocolate cake has led her very far in the past 23 years, selling cake out of a small shop to leading a passionate and diverse team of people who love chocolate.
However, it’s not always smooth-sailing. Producing premium artisanal chocolate desserts has its challenges like manpower issues and the constant push for automation, she said.
Despite these hurdles, Lee is still resolved to produce quality handcrafted chocolate. Trying to balance between relying on less manpower for certain parts of the production process while remaining innovative is “still very much a work in progress”.
“Passion to us means to not be afraid to be contrarian when you have a good product or ideas, even if they are challenged and challenging to execute!”
About Made With Passion
A joint initiative by the Singapore Brand Office and the Singapore Tourism Board and supported by Enterprise Singapore, Made with Passion is a national marketing initiative to promote consumer awareness and appreciation for our local lifestyle brands by showcasing the many facets of passion that go into creating the products we enjoy today. It hopes to encourage other brand owners and Singaporeans to pursue their own dreams to turn their passions into a reality for a better Singapore.
Awfully Chocolate is one of the 48 local brands that are part of Made With Passion.
Top image courtesy of Awfully Chocolate. Thanks to this sponsored article by the Singapore Brand Office, this writer has a newfound appreciation for chocolate.