HomePlacesKouklet Brazilian Bakehouse in Philadelphia, PA

Kouklet Brazilian Bakehouse in Philadelphia, PA

(This article appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)

Mardhory Santos-Cepeda, Owner

Company Mission

Our mission is to transport people to Brazilian culture with each bite of our pastries.

Signature Product

Our signature pastry is our Bolo de Rolo, which translates to “cake roll.” This is made of thin layers of buttery and soft cake filled with different fillings. Native to the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, this pastry is not an easy one to make, because each cake layer is only millimeters thick, and the temperature needs to be carefully controlled to keep it moist enough for rolling. Guava is the most traditional filling, the one you would find in Brazil (I also import my guavas straight from Brazil), but I like to play a little with the flavors, making a variety of fillings like vegan carrot and chocolate; passion fruit; orange and caramelized milk; and double chocolate. These cake rolls are perfect for breakfast, dessert, or any time of day – all you need is a cup of coffee or tea.

Production Tip

Honestly, I don’t really try to speed up production. It makes a difference to be patient with the process of each element in each pastry, but I do meticulously plan my production week. It is the key to have a smooth work day in the kitchen, not waste time or ingredients. We first plan the menu and then each day of the week before we start our week. We also always look for tools that will save time keeping the process as artisanal as possible. A great example is how we were able to go from making 10 cake rolls per day to 20 with a biscuit frame, a tool that helps you to spread an even layer of cake batter on a sheet pan that is 4mm thick. This is a little bit thicker than the traditional layers from Brazil, but there is a purpose to this. Making it this way balances the cake flavor with the filling tastes.

Equipment ‘Must-Haves’

The immersion blender is my number one must-have equipment. You’re able to achieve the smoothest ganache texture, blend out lumps from sauces and brigadeiros, mix cake batter, and so much more. Another piece of equipment that I really love is my insulated proofer. It allows for consistency in your bread, especially if you make sweet sourdough breads. It keeps the right temperature no matter what the temperature is outside the proofer. Lastly, a dough sheeter. I don’t make a lot of laminated dough, but I use it to roll out around 40 pounds of tart and cookie dough per week. Imagine doing it all by hand?

Secret of Success

Connect with your community, guests and other business owners. I started my business right in the beginning of the pandemic and having the help of so many other business owners really saved me. Also, I tried not to just make pastries for salability. Each pastry and bread I make has a story behind it, maybe a memory from my childhood, or influence from relationships I had.

Future Goals

There is so much going on, but right now I’m focusing on building a strong team that at some point will be able to take over the bakehouse so I can go on to my next adventure. I want to open a savory place inspired by my father, whom I lost during the pandemic. He was my biggest supporter (perhaps tied with my husband). I owe him everything.

Visit www.kouklet.com/ for more info

Pastry Arts Magazine is the new resource for pastry & baking professionals designed to inspire, educate and connect the pastry community as an informational conduit spotlighting the trade.