Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Senior Editor Liz Parker was recently able to talk to Chef Manami, Lady M Confections, about its new Sesame Ti Kuan Yin Tea Mille Crêpes Cake, as well as flavor trends in bakery.

Liz Parker: How did you come up with the flavor inspiration for the new cake? 

Chef Manami: When I first joined Lady M in 2004 there was only one boutique location in the Upper East Side and I moved to Asia to aid in Lady M’s growth as a brand. I found inspiration for many of our cake flavors during my time in Asia and had the opportunity to train and educate our pastry team while sourcing high-quality local ingredients to curate innovative offerings for our consumers across the globe.

The Sesame Ti Kuan Yin Tea Mille Crêpes was inspired from the Ti Kuan Yin tea which is an extremely popular variety of oolong tea. We wanted to create a well-balanced cake that incorporated a high-quality tea, like Ti Kuan Yin, with the sesame dessert flavor that is common in Asian desserts.

The Sesame Ti Kuan Yin Tea Mille Crêpes features 20 alternating handmade layers of delicate and nutty black sesame cream, paper-thin French crêpes, and floral Ti Kuan Yin oolong tea whipped cream. Ti Kuan Yin is a highly sought after variety of oolong tea renowned for its delicate floral aroma, often referred to as the ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’. Each cake is elegantly finished with a black sesame glaze and topped with roasted sesame seeds from Japan.

LP: Does Lady M keep its pulse on trends? How does it choose flavors for its cakes?

CM: My goal is to always create timeless, elegant, and delicious cakes that incorporate the flavors we encounter daily. My inspiration for new flavors comes from my experiences of exploring new places, foods, desserts, flowers, spices, fruits, and vegetables to create unique offerings for our guests. For example, I was inspired to make the Rose Mille Crêpes Cake after eating rose lychee macarons in Paris coupled with a memory of rose petals from a candle-making workshop.

When choosing flavors for our cakes, we strive to find unique and elegant ways to fuse flavors from different cultures. An example of this pairing is the combination of French crepes with popular Japanese flavors such as rose and chestnuts to create a delectable cake—seen in Rose and Marron Mille Crêpes Cakes.

LP: What flavor trends do you think will be popular in 2023?

CM: We are most excited about the continued curiosity our guests have when it comes to trying international foods and sweets, especially the younger generations. 

LP: Any new products coming up for the brand in 2023?

CM: We just recently launched our Sesame Ti Kuan Yin Tea Mille Crêpes and are continuously creating and innovating to offer our guests new, unique flavors. We've had the same core recipes for over 20 years and always ensure that new flavors are a true representation of our brand. New flavors are on the horizon, like a new cake featuring tropical fruit for a fresh and flavorful dessert experience!