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In pursuit of pineapples' passion

Seen in every airport, Taiwan specialty stores and gift shops, pineapple cakes have long been the quintessential dessert of the Taiwanese culture. The traditional treat has a crumby skin and a very sweet paste with a faint pineapple flavor.

But in recent years, a richer textured pineapple cake with actual pineapple bits in the paste and a splash of sour citrus flavor has quickly risen to popularity. They are dubbed the “New Generation Pineapple Cakes.”

Former graphic designers Chang Che-Shuo (張哲碩) and Leslie Tsai (蔡寶燕) came to an epiphany in their mid-30s. Realizing their dissatisfaction with their life, they quit their jobs and redirected their lives toward a sweeter option — pineapple cakes. They started their own brand of pineapple cakes together, called Golden Time Dessert (小暮時光, www.facebook.com/goldentimefan).

“After turning 34, the former designer that I was made the biggest decision in my life — to start a dessert business from scratch. I would say my mother influenced me greatly in this decision, teaching me how to make delicious pineapple cakes,” said Chang.

The decision was the easiest thing the pair did. The journey toward sweet success, they soon discovered, was bitter and tedious.

“Next, came a series of repetitions with everything, trial and error making the pineapple cakes, asking people to take samples, making adjustments. It took me an entire year to finally grasp the right ratio of pastry skin to paste for Golden Time Dessert,” he added.

Adding a sprinkle of visual aesthetics to their product, Tsai designed the cakes' paper wrapping and box packaging in line with the ideas behind their dessert.

“I feel that when we're having dessert, it doesn't matter what you're feeling that day, you'll always feel better and feel happy after something sweet. That warm content, blissful feeling is what our product aims for. A mother's warmth. A gift,” Tsai concluded. ■

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Feast of performing art unfolds
Beautiful and elegant packaging designed by Leslie Tsai, coupled with delicious pineapple cakes by Chang Che-Shuo make for the perfect dessert. (Courtesy of Leslie Tsai)

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