Pineapple Cake, $41.90 for 16pcs
Backstory: Think of SunnyHills as the Prada of Taiwanese pineapple cakes. If you think that a Taiwanese pineapple cake doesn't qualify to be on this list, know that SunnyHills' is different from its oft-soggier brethren. Its PR rep tells us: "[our pastry uses] a traditional European tart recipe like how [regular] pineapple tarts are made". So yes, it's still a pineapple tart, albeit in a blockish form. The Seah Street flagship store (the Takashimaya one is less glam) is styled like a designer apartment, where you can taste complimentary tarts washed down with oolong tea. Its bakes are equally atas too, boasting ingredients such as organic pineapples from Bagua Mountain in central Taiwan, which is famous for the fruit, plus Japanese flour, New Zealand butter and eggs “from a farmer who plays classical music for his hens”.
Taste test: Each hefty bar, which according to the brand's PR rep is partially made by hand in Taiwan, is tastefully wrapped in waxed paper. We like that the pastry is evenly brown and not anaemic. The wodge of jam within is superb: it’s the most rustically chunky and succulent on this list with ambrosial sun-ripened pineapples blended with slightly sour fruit for a super refreshing jolt of acidity. SunnyHills claims its fruit is “hand cut by locals” at its pineapple factory after all. Full disclosure: this #1 choice wasn’t unanimous on our tasting panel: some declared the crust a mite parched. Indeed it could be a touch more buttery and crisp, but its slight dryness is mitigated by that bodacious jam and the pastry’s toasty, fresh-outta-the-oven fragrance. In truth, we would’ve loved to have picked a less sleek, more homespun pineapple tart as our winner. But after carefully weighing our options, the overall flavours in this confection trump its rivals. We'd even eat it outside of Chinese New Year. Caveat: skip SunnyHill's so-so limited-edition festive flavours like the apple one and only get this, okay?
Available all year round. Two outlets including #B2-27A Takashimaya, S238872. Tel: 8522-9605. Open daily 11am-9pm. www.sunnyhills.com.sg
With additional reporting by Zoey Chow
PHOTOS & FOOD STYLING: ALVIN TEO & YIP JIEYING
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