Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Cake and Bread House’ – a tasty local entrepreneurial success story

‘Cake and Bread House’ – a tasty local entrepreneurial success story

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Thea Vouch Eng has a passion for designing and decorating cakes, opening The Cake and Bread House in Phnom Penh in 2016. Neang Sopheap

‘Cake and Bread House’ – a tasty local entrepreneurial success story

Ambitious women bakers are taking their passion and skills once confined to cramped kitchens to the market place — creating an entrepreneurial culture along the way.

Hobbies have been turned into lucrative food industries, with skills put into baking aromatic fresh cakes and pastries, while persistency has made them successful entrepreneurs.

In Cambodia, two sisters are shaking up the industry with their baking skills and business foresight after setting up a cake empire from humble beginnings.

The industrious siblings have nurtured their passion into a profitable business after launching “The Cake and Bread House” on Phnom Penh’s Kampuchea Krom Boulevard in 2016.

In no time the business has swelled to a chain of six outlets, employing some 60 Cambodians.

Their cakes are baked for birthdays, weddings and other social events – and are even attracting demand from provinces such as Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pandan leaf with coconut flavour cakes are hot sellers. Neang Sopheap

“I opened the cake shop because I love to design and decorate cakes. Initially, I watched YouTube to learn to bake and decorate cakes, but that was not so useful.

“I wanted more practical experience. So in 2016 my sister and I went to Bangkok to learn more about baking cakes,” younger sister Thea Vouch Eng, 28, told The Post.

The Eng sisters are part of a flourishing baking industry worldwide, where more young female entrepreneurs are exploring ways to launch their own brands and become financially independent.

According to the international Food and Wine website in March 2018, 85 per cent of baking and pastry students at the Culinary Institute of America were women compared to 50 per cent of the entire enrolment.

Statistics in Cambodia also reveal another telling story.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prices start from $5 per cake. Neang Sopheap

According to the Exploring the Opportunities for Women-owned SMEs in Cambodia report from International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank, the bulk of such businesses are operated by women.

“The reality is that women own the majority of businesses in the country [61 per cent], significantly higher than in many Asean countries,” said the 2019 report.

Now young female Cambodians are beginning to challenge the once male-dominated profession, and entrepreneurs like Vouch Eng are not only breaking the “glass ceiling” but also amplifying female empowerment.

“I don’t like working for others; I like to have my own business. Before starting the cake business, we had a small stall that sold coffee and green tea,” she said.

In the competitive cake and pastry business, The Cake and Bread House has anchored itself by baking to suit local taste buds – even fending off rivalry from popular foreign brands.

Of the four flavours available, which include chocolate, strawberry and durian, pandan leaf with coconut is a particularly hot seller.

“We have all sizes of cakes. The biggest cake we ever made for a customer was around 30kg.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Cake and Bread House now has six outlets across the capital. Neang Sopheap

“I focus on taste, decoration and price, but most important is taste – they are delicious.

Our prices are also affordable, starting from $5 [per cake],” Vouch Eng said.

The rising demand for cakes and pastries fuelled by improving household incomes, a boom in social media use and online trading are all helping businesses like Vouch Eng’s to bloom.

“Currently, cakes are getting increasingly more popular among Cambodians compared to10 years ago.

Almost 90 per cent of my sales are birthday cakes.“I always go live on Facebook, and around 50 per cent of my customers have come to know my cake shops through Facebook.

“Livelihoods have improved and more social events like birthday parties are happening. When there is a cake, any celebration is a hugely more enjoyable experience,” Vouch Eng said.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.