Sweet Talk With Jaslyn Rangson Of Jaslyn Cakes & Dew Bangsar
Many a joyful memory has transpired over Jaslyn Cakes’s baked goods—from splitting a slice of apple tart with a friend to blowing out the candles on a birthday cake. The purveyor of sweets is practically a household name in the Klang Valley, yet little is known about its founder.
See also: The Top Home Bakers In The Klang Valley
Of Thai and Malaysian Chinese descent, Jaslyn Rangson hit her thirties mere days before a photoshoot with Tatler Dining. A private person who prefers for her desserts to take centre stage, Rangson never set out to be the town’s ‘cake queen’.
According to the sweets maven: “I wanted a small and very personal cafe. All my business decisions are therefore guided by this intention.” Both branches of Jaslyn Cakes in Bangsar and Mont Kiara, as well as their sister café Dew, may be discreet, but aren’t difficult to find—simply follow the intoxicating aroma of butter and sugar down Jalan Telawi 2 and Jalan Kiara. “Finding the perfect location, a place that feels so “us”, was the largest deciding factor when opening a store,” says Rangson. “Only then was I able to visualise the space and to make plans for it. So in a sense, my team and I work backwards!”
But a place is only as good as the people in it. Firm believers in quality, Rangson and team eschew shortcuts and avoid ersatz ingredients—you won’t find any imitation butter in their pantry.
A sense of timelessness also contributes to Jaslyn Cakes’s high acclaim. Redolent of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, hybrid pastries such as cronuts (croissant-doughnuts), cruffins (croissant-muffins), and duffins (doughnut-muffins) have proliferated the market in recent years; rather than chase trends, however, Rangson focuses on serving the best version of existing cravings. One has only to try her slightly tangy vanilla bean cheesecake, salted Valrhona brownies (best paired with a tall glass of cold milk), and soft-centered scones to understand why this aim works beautifully.
See also: Lord Of The Rings: The Best Doughnuts In KL & PJ
Some of Rangson’s time-tested recipes have travelled with her across oceans. Flashback to London, 2010: Rangson began her baking adventures in a studio apartment she shared with her sister. “A lot of what we sell now is the same as what I made then,” she reveals. "The red velvet cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, banana yoghurt loaf and carrot cake have been with me since the early days."
Most kitchens see an equal measure of breakthroughs and breakdowns, but things have skewed toward the latter since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Lockdown turned our business model upside down!” laments Rangson. “We no longer have dine-in customers, while delivery service, something we have been resisting for years, is now our lifeline. We really miss the hustle and bustle of our café, the hiss of the espresso machine, the chatter of our customers, and the clinking of cutlery.”
If there’s one thing that the young baker and businesswoman has learned this year, it’s that nothing is forever. “And I take this in a positive light, as I think permanence is a much scarier thing,” confesses Rangson, who continues to have faith in the following:
I believe in good luck, good timing, family, friends, having a strong team and work culture, perseverance, gratitude, positivity and constant curiosity.
Life hasn't been a piece of cake in the past three months, but like you and I, Rangson is giving her personal best and persevering.