Pastry Profiles: Hazelnut Cake, Swiss Haus Bakery, Philadelphia

Swiss Cake Haus

We are now going to discuss the experience of eating the Swiss Haus's signature sweet, "The Original Hazelnut Cake".

This is a very special cake, for a few reasons.

First, it's the bakery's signature dessert. As they beautifully put it on their website, 

Ok, here is the deal. This cake is what the entire Swiss Haus Bakery fuss is all about. This century old recipe that was brought over from Europe to Philadelphia over 85 years ago. It has three layers of hazelnut sponge cake filled with vanilla butter cream, covered in Swiss Chocolate Shavings.

Swiss Cake House

Upon my first visit, I was assured that this was the thing to get--a recipe that hasn't changed for over 80 years, because it doesn't need to. It's just that good. Well, that fascinated me. Especially because the flavor combination (not to mention that it has sponge cake, which I consider a featherweight of the dessert world) might not have been my first choice had it not been suggested.

Swiss Cake House

The cake is offered in a few sizes: small bites for about $3 (maybe a little more or less--lay off me, I was concerned with the cake), and larger cakes for larger prices. 

So what is this cake like? It's a nostalgic and highly pleasant sweet--especially enjoyable when you've heard the tale of how long the cake has been made (it always tastes better with a backstory, doesn't it?). Airy and sophisticated, the light sponge cake was deliciously coated with a light whipped frosting on all sides. While a little more chocolate couldn't have hurt, it's clear to see why the bakery has been making it for 80 years without pause. If you find yourself in the area, do yourself a favor and grab a taste of history.

35 S. 19th Street, Philadelphia; online here.