Gingerbread cookies may be a traditionally English snack, but the spice was introduced to the West through Asia. Ruth and Ruby Olvido, who are ethnically Filipino, wanted to capitalize on that fact. The sisters are the founders of Ginger Cakettes, a start-up bakery that opened in January of 2012.
"We were sitting around and realized that ginger comes from China. So we thought of our ethnicity and brainstormed on what other flavors have Asian origins," Ruby, who takes care of the business side of things, says.
The concept is simple: gingerbread men with an Filipino twist. On their current menu: ube, red bean, macapuno (a Philippine variety of coconut that is soft and jelly-like) and green tea pandan.
"We're full Filipino," Ruby says. "These are all ingredients we grew up with and are familiar with using."
They've also recently added dark chocolate and gluten-free versions to the menu for good measure -- and due to popular demand.
Ginger is at the base of each cookie and instead of a traditional ginger snap, the sisters have opted for a moister madeleine-like base. All the ingredients are organic and each cookie has 80 to 90 calories.
"I personally don't like really sweet desserts," Ruth says. "It took a while to find the right combination, but our ingredients are organic, low in sugar and we use vegetables to make the food coloring." Ruth, the younger of the two, is the baker of the company.
The bakery is currently based online but is making regular appearances at the Eagle Rock farmers market and the upcoming 626 Night Market.
"We don't sleep," Ruth jokes. Both sisters have day jobs and the cookie-making process, all done in their home kitchen, pushes their hours well into the night. Prep work takes five hours and the actual baking and packaging takes up roughly three.
"Our gingerbreads are definitely something different," Ruth says. "Now it's all about getting the word out there." Exactly.
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