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Nestled in a cosy neighbourhood facing rows of old terrace houses in Seksyen 4 is Cake Jalan Tiung. A rather hidden gem, this decade-old bakery cafe has made its name in the Shah Alam food scene as a go-to place for delightful cakes.

Most notable is its Salted Caramel and Chocolate cake that’s a fan favourite and house signature. A simple treat, but this cake holds the history of Cake Jalan Tiung in each bite. 

It’s been a part of their offerings since the brand first started as a home-based business in 2014. 

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

Back then, Shafinaz would frequently bake for family and friends. It was a hobby she learnt from her mother as a child and nurtured even after joining the workforce, and getting married to Hidzad.

Then this hobby turned into a part-time venture, with Shafinaz baking cakes for customers outside of her day job. Customers would order a few days in advance and then pick up the treats when ready.

It wasn’t really in Shafinaz and Hidzad’s plans to scale it up into a full-fledged business. But their small taste of entrepreneurship led to bigger life epiphanies. 

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

“I think after working in banking over some time, we gradually came to the realisation that the money was good but it wasn’t something we particularly enjoyed doing and would want to do for the rest of our working lives if we had the choice,” the couple shared.

“We started to lose motivation to keep doing the things required to continuously climb the corporate ladder for the benefit of a large company.” 

So they decided to give the baking venture a real shot by opening their first outlet in a 900 sq ft shop lot in Seksyen 9.  

It went from a year to ten

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

Shafinaz and Hidzad quit their banking careers and initially decided to give their business a go for a year. Only afterwards would they decide to continue, or go back into the corporate world.

But they haven’t looked back since.

It seemed like a good idea to them at the time as it combined both of their interests and skills. Shafinaz with baking, and Hidzad with his appreciation for cafe culture, having worked at a few cafes on weekends before this.

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

Cake Jalan Tiung began as a bakery cafe, with a focus on cakes and smaller baked goods like cookies, brownies, and coffee. And ideally, that’s how they would have liked it to remain.

However, as time progressed, it became increasingly difficult to keep up with the rising cost of ingredients. “We might be earning the same or a bit more but it wasn’t enough to keep up. We needed new items on the menu to increase our revenue,” Shafinaz shared.

So Cake Jalan Tiung expanded its offerings to include a savoury menu. 

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

When you visit the bakery cafe now, you can find hot meals such as Egg and Dendeng Croissant that’s made with homemade spicy dendeng

Much to their surprise, Cake Jalan Tiung became quite a hit with the locals in the area. So much so that they eventually had trouble accommodating the crowds of guests.

That’s when they knew it was time to expand the brand by opening a new outlet.

Adapting to market trends

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

The second Cake Jalan Tiung store opened in 2020 in Seksyen 4.

Being on the ground floor helped bring in traffic from customers since it’s more visible and OKU-friendly. 

Over time, its first outlet became less feasible and sales stagnated. There wasn’t enough parking for customers as many of the spots were taken up by food trucks. And the team found customers were more reluctant to take the stairs up to their first-floor Seksyen 9 store. 

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

Hence, they made the financially strategic move of closing it down to focus fully on the newer and bigger place.

Delivery also became a bigger part of the business and customers wanted a bit of everything from one space alone—a place where you can have a meal, sip on coffee, and enjoy a good dessert. 

This is why for Ramadan this year, they’re offering traditional Malay moreh dishes like lempeng and bubur candil sumsum alongside the usual cakes.

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

At the same time, Shafinaz and Hidzad had to focus more efforts on marketing the brand. 

“I think it’s much tougher to grow a brand on these platforms organically as potential customer reach seems to be limited,” they shared. Not to mention that the social media algorithm constantly changes.

Now the millennials are following the steps of many others by joining the TikTok space to spread word of their cafe.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

In the 10 years of running Cake Jalan Tiung, both co-founders have picked up quite a number of lessons along the way. One of the biggest is that a good team is made up of people with good character. 

“Almost all the skills needed to do a job here can be taught. We have had quite a number of people who had never baked professionally or had an education in it, and do very well working as part of the team,” they shared. 

What actually matters is their attitude towards learning and how they adapt to function well in a group.

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

As for growth, Shafinaz shared that they’ve been exploring other locations to expand Cake Jalan Tiung. But each time they would end up not going through with it.

“I think deep in our hearts our motivation has always been to run a simple artisanal bakery cafe. This concept runs through in the choice of location, the ambience, and community around it,” she stated.

They do hope to someday open an out-of-state outlet, preferably in a smaller city such as Kuantan. 

But even if not, the couple are content with this “small bakery” that has allowed them to follow the lifestyle they sought after.

Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung
  • Learn more about Cake Jalan Tiung here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Cake Jalan Tiung

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)