Sponge cake is a common pastry which can be a bit chewy or not even make a dent on your teeth, yet alone your jawbone. Chinese bakeries tend to use egg whites to make the difference. According to Raymond Chen, owner of Maxin, the pastries have less butter and sugar as well.
I visited one of three Maxin bakeries located in downtown Flushing at 136-76 Roosevelt Avenue. This particular bakery, known as Maxin’s Café, is the largest of the three and where all the baking occurs. Chen originally opened a bakery on 41st Rd, near the corner of Main Street. That was in the year 2003. However, that location expanded to become a fast food Chinese restaurant featuring dim sum. More about that in a later article!
Rush hour is the best time to see the lines of people. In the morning, it’s a basic grab and go from the constantly stocked shelves of both savory and sweet pastries, many of which are inside of or topping a bun.
Hot and savory steamed buns rest an oven-like stand. Here you have a choice of: roast pork, pork and vegetable, chicken, Chinese sausage, red bean or just plain. Baked buns are also available and if you want something heated up…no problem.
I first indulged in both the roast pork and chicken steamed buns. They were tasty and had enough “filling”. However, I prefer the baked ones as I find them less “doughy”.
One of the biggest sellers is a box of almond cookies that are not the large ones with the almond in the middle. Instead these “egg white” cookies are small with a sugar glaze and chopped almonds on the top.
My taste buds were quite surprised when I introduced my teeth and tongue to the cheesecake. There are two kinds. One rests inside a sponge cake bun that has a hint of lemon. The other was a square of a whole cake, sponge at bottom, lemon flavor. Quite creamy, too.
I normally nix a Napoleon. It was the combination of the flakey pastry and cream done their way that had me eating it layer by layer.
Being steps away from the entrance to the #7 line, Chen told me breakfast grabbing tends to be a cup of coffee and a sandwich. Not only do they make buns, white bread and whole wheat bread is baked in these kitchens. Quick sandwich of perhaps scrambled egg and tomato, or turkey to take to work. A bun and pastry for lunch. Another line forms in the pm as people stop in for a variety of pastries to take home for dessert.
Sponge cakes come in whole or thick slices with various flavors such as banana and chocolate chestnut. Red bean pastries are always available.
A glass case holds another group of pastries where you can purchase a whole cake. Here is where you get your drinks of various flavored teas and smoothies. With the Lunar New Year approaching on February 8, expect some special cakes made from sweet rice, that come in four flavors which can be either sweet or savory.
The other locations are: 134-24 40th Rd. and 37-02 Main Street. Oh, I must not forget the square of chocolate cake to go. Another unexpected and satisfying to a chocoholic. Went perfect with a glass of Ronnybrook Farm milk!!