Salt Lake City is rich with an assortment of places to satisfy your sweet tooth. These featured dessert virtuosos present innovative ways to concoct all things whipped, sprinkled and glazed—some even mastering vegan and gluten-free options. With key sweet, salty and umami elements, City Cakes, Doki Doki, Fillings and Emulsions and Normal Ice Cream feature items that will skip stones across your palate.
SLC: 249 E. 400 S. • M–Th.: 12–10p I F–Sat. 12–11p I Sun.: 12–8p 385.229.4339
SLUG: What are Japanese crepe cakes and why does Doki Doki have a passion for them?
Doki Doki: Japanese crepe cakes are similar to other type of crepe cakes, which contain multi-layers of crepe with fillings in between. Often, the filling is whipped cream. The difference between Japanese crepe cakes and other crepe cakes is the crepe itself. With a different batter recipe, the crepe is ultra-thin. It’s often called paper-thin. Then the flavor of the cake depends on the fresh, homemade whipped cream. At Doki Doki, we like to introduce as many Asian desserts to our customers as possible. Japanese crepe cake is popular and well-known. It has a lighter taste than regular cake, but very flavorful and delicious. It is also a challenge to make, since it is very delicate. Each cake has to be carefully handcrafted. That’s what we do at Doki Doki—we take on the challenge to make delicate but delicious desserts.
SLUG: What are all the Japanese crepe cake flavors you offer? What kind of topping options do customers ordering a custom cake have?
Doki Doki: We have five flavors: Matcha Green Tea, Mango, Strawberry, Chocolate and Tiramisu. We usually use lots of fresh fruit as toppings for custom cakes. However, depending on our customers’ preferences, we can make adjustments. For example, we had an order of Chocolate Crepe Cake for a kid’s birthday party. We used all-time-favorite candies as toppings, such as chocolate chips, Kit-Kat, M&M, etc.
SLUG: What do you think makes The Pink Blush crepe so popular?
Doki Doki: The Pink Blush crepe is one of the most popular because it is the perfect combination of fresh fruit and a sweet treat. Inside the crepe, you have fresh-cut strawberry slices, house whipped cream and a slice of real NY Cheesecake. To boost the flavor, we also use Nutella sauce, all swirled together in each bite. It would taste like fresh strawberry cheesecake inside a light and thin crepe. Of course, let’s not forget about that chocolate-ice-cream scoop on top.
SLUG: How did you master the “rolled ice cream” technique?
Doki Doki: It takes lots of practice and patience to finally master the rolled ice cream technique. It is all about timing. As we are doing the ice cream, we are racing against the machine. If we are too slow, the ice cream will be too frozen, almost impossible to scrape off the machine and [will] taste very icy. [Since] the machine is very fast, it can go down to negative 20 celsius in less than three minutes. We use lots of speed to catch up, then use strength to scrape the ice cream off the machine into rolls. It looks very easy and satisfying, but it is hard and tiring. However, we are very happy every time we make perfect ice cream rolls and see our customers enjoying the process, plus the food. We consider our hard work well paid-off.
SLUG: What inspires your selective choices in the teas you offer?
Doki Doki: Nowadays, there are so many tea flavors offered on the market. However, many use artificial flavors. At Doki Doki, we commit ourselves to make teas without any powder or artificial flavorings. We only use real loose-leaf teas, either imported or sold by our suppliers in the States. We brew our teas fresh at the store and use all real cream if customers want to order milk teas. Therefore, we have only five choices: Green, Oolong, Black, Thai and Matcha.
SLUG: An avocado smoothie sounds amazing! Tell us more about your smoothie and foam tea process.
Doki Doki: The Avocado smoothie is one of our signature smoothies. Using a secret recipe from Vietnamese smoothies, we use real avocado and cream to create a perfectly refreshing smoothie. There is NO flavor powder or extra sugar added. It tastes very creamy and thick, sweet but not too sweet [add] some boba in for texture, and we promise you’ll have a very fun drink.
Cream foam tea is the newest trend of tea drinks in Asia. Cream foam on top of tea is served as the same role as whipped cream on top of Frappuccino. However, it is critical to get some foam for every sip of tea. The secret ingredient in the foam is the sea salt. With this very light, salty taste, it helps reducing the bitterness of tea and [has] a more refreshing taste.
SLUG: Your unlimited topping bar seems to be pretty popular—what determines what toppings you offer?
Doki Doki: We offer popular toppings that usually go well with desserts like chocolate chips, graham crackers, Reese’s Bites, etc. We also consider some healthy toppings … such as coconut and almond … Our topping bar also includes sour worms, gummy bears and sprinkles. We add on or switch out new seasonal toppings.
SLUG: Your entire staff takes part in creating the desserts. What does this entail?
Doki Doki: At Doki Doki, each dessert or drink is handmade to order. Therefore, every single member of our staff knows how to make any desserts or drinks we offer. We take turns in the kitchen to prep for the day, making batters, mixing ice cream bases, brewing teas, making house-whipped cream and cream cheese fillings. And when orders come in, we also take turns making the finished dessert itself. We also try our best to make every ingredient ourselves, from whipped cream to cream cheese filling to cookie dough—we all make it fresh in the kitchen at the store.
SLUG: What part of your team builds the menu?
Doki Doki: Our entire staff builds the menu together. We sit down and talk about what should be the next best flavor we can offer. We do a lot of tasting days for each of our products. We also come up with the names together, something fun and memorable for our customers. We value ideas from each member of our team. Therefore, Doki Doki’s menu is the result of teamwork. Also, we are changing our menu, adding on new things and renaming lots of products to create a more fun experience for our customers.
SLUG: What plans might you have for expansion?
Doki Doki: Right now, we are focusing on improving our products and services. We are asking feedback from our customers, and really use it to make better desserts. We haven’t had any plans for expansion yet. But it is not impossible in the future.
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” –Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly