Los Angeles Times

Family bakery still rises in the yeast

LOS ANGELES - The cakes kept coming out too small, too dry, too dense. Friends and relatives complained that Youlen Chan's baking was not like his father's.

As a newly minted graduate of the American Institute of Baking taking over his family's business, Youlen had no choice but to try again.

By the time he took charge in 1979, Phoenix Bakery had become a Chinatown institution, and his father's strawberry cake - two sponge rounds separated by a generous helping of strawberries, coated in lightly sweet cream frosting - was the bakery's star product.

"The cake was good, but it wasn't 'Phoenix cake,'" Youlen said of his early efforts. "It wasn't like his."

It took Youlen, now 62, more than a year to finally figure out his dad's recipe. His father, Lun Chan, left no blueprint beyond a list of ingredients. It was a struggle that would seem familiar to any of the descendants of Phoenix Bakery's original founders: uphold the

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times8 min read
Rudy Ray Moore's Legacy Was Personal For Eddie Murphy And Others With 'Dolemite Is My Name'
Rudy Ray Moore and his singular brand of comedy captured Eddie Murphy's imagination from a young age. It started when Murphy's brother, Charlie, came home raving about the wild new "Dolemite" film he'd seen. "The first thing I remember is my brother
Los Angeles Times4 min readPolitics
Commentary: Turkey's Kurdish Crisis Is A Crisis Of Democracy
President Donald Trump is wrong. Kurds have not been natural enemies of Turks, fighting for hundreds of years. In fact, Kurdish lords were allied with the Ottoman rulers against Iran in the early 16th century, and that military and cultural connectio
Los Angeles Times5 min read
Is Lewis Capaldi — A Brit With A Canyon-sized Voice And An Ugly-cry Smash — The New Adele?
BOSTON - Lewis Capaldi is the ugly-cry balladeer of 2019. Standing onstage recently at the Royale nightclub here, the singer from Glasgow with the rough-edged voice delivered only a few lines of his chart-topping "Someone You Loved" before nearly eve