Get holiday sweets to stay or to go, three sinful ways.
Pre-Order Holiday Cakes, Vegan Style, at PLANT
Mipa Lee’s PLANT is renowned as one of Seoul’s best havens for vegans in search of a cruelty-free meal. But also, let’s face it, her teensy cafe is a fabulous place for heavenly desserts no matter what your eating politics or dietary restrictions may be. Lee is constantly rotating her desserts on offer and experimenting with new vegan cakes, cookies, muffins and more. Many of her baked goods are nut-free and/or gluten-free in addition to being vegan, catering to those with all sorts of dessert-restricting allergies.
Christmas in Korea is big on cake and the dessert happens to be PLANT’s forte. Vegan or not, PLANT’s seasonal pumpkin gingerbread cookie cream cake, boozy fruit cake, and ginger cranberry bundt cake—even in their names alone—outshine any holiday cake that comes in a certain, inescapable blue and white box. Skip the spongy milk cakes this year. Pre-order a cake from PLANT, which, in addition to its seasonal cakes offers its regular cakes (chocolate peanut butter, mocha layer cake, banana apple, red velvet) for order this time of year.
Orders tend to pile up for PLANT this time of year. Throughout the month of December, plan on ordering your cake about a full week in advance.
1F, 63-15, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Christmas Cheesecake from C27
C27 Cheesecake and Coffee is a four-story cafe near Garosugil specializing in twenty-seven flavors of New York cheesecake. Their specialities include plain, red velvet, tiramisu, raspberry and M&M cheesecakes. The tiramisu has a rich coffee-infused flavor, the M&M disappoints because the cake’s moisture ruins the integrity of the KitKat crust, and the white chocolate raspberry has the most American taste. Now to the strange part, C27 serves their cheesecakes with shredded cheddar and parmesan cheese. Don’t worry, it’s on the side.
The massive cafe’s interior design is sleekly artificial, which could turn off those looking for a small, intimate cafe. But, C27 has arcade boxes with hundreds of free-to-play games, which makes it a fun date spot—there probably isn’t a classier place to play arcade games. When a cheesecake craving attacks, it’s hard to find better in Seoul. It’s not cheap, a slice is 9,800 won, and a coffee is 4,200 won, but it’s a quality slice.
As for taking a slice of C27 home for the holidays, they offer cheesecake “jars” : a Pinterest-friendly mason jar filled with the layered cheesecake of your choice. Yes, the jar is for keeps. Cheesecake jars are 9,800 and work well as gifts or just for a couch-bound dessert.
Address: 545-12 Sinsa-Dong
Tarts to Stay or to Go at Aux Petits Verres
Treat yourself to tarts this tinsley time of year. This tiny French dessert shop opened by celebrity chef Park Jun Woo (Master Chef Korea, Olive Show etc.) tucked away in Chaebudong by Gyungbokgung, serves one of Seoul’s most delectable lemon and chocolate tarts. Opt to sit and enjoy the tarts with your fellow holiday reveler, or take some home or for a holiday party. Tart takeout is not a problem here.
Their most famous lemon tart (7,000 won) bursts with the bold and surprisingly sour taste of lemon that is perfectly balanced by the crunchy crust. For those opposed to citrus flavors, go for the chocolate or the raspberry chocolate tart and spend the whole day savoring the lingering deep taste of dark chocolate (7,500 – 8,500 won). Aux Petits Verres also serves a variety of European teas and coffee in addition to Belgian beer and French wine throughout the day. Treat yourself on a cold winter days and make your way down to Aux Petits Verres for a little sugar therapy with wine.
Address: 19 Chebu-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul