A new storefront in the Ballard neighborhood is serving up New York-style cheesecake with a Southeast Asian flair.
Hood Famous Bakeshop specializes in Filipino treats – namely, a signature purple cheesecake made with ube, a sweet yam used in many traditional desserts from the Philippines.
"I was born there and spent about six years there and I remember a lot of the flavors and baking with my mom,” said owner Chera Amlag. "Being born there and growing up here, this is actually a really good representation of who I am."
She first came up with the idea a couple of years ago, while devising the dessert portion of a pop-up restaurant menu.
"I love cheesecake, so I said I'm going to put my favorite thing that I grew up with as a child in a cheesecake. And it just kind of took off from there,” she said.
After much admitted trial and error, Amlag served her first batch and they were almost instantly famous. People started asking for special orders and Instagramming the cakes, then local stores and restaurants began carrying them.
All the while, Amlag was making every single dessert by herself.
"Probably tens of thousands by now,” she said, laughing. " I always tell people if I can do this, anybody can."
After almost two years, she was able to hire some help. And she had officially opened her first bakery and storefront in Ballard.
In addition to the signature ube cheesecake, she’ll also offer flavors like white chocolate guava, coconut pandan and Vietnamese coffee.
"It's rooted in a sense of home and feeling like you're going into a very neighborly bakery,” Amlag said.
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