Melbourne’s Monarch Cakes celebrates 90 year...

Melbourne’s Monarch Cakes celebrates 90 years

Much-loved Melbourne cake shop, Monarch Cakes, is celebrating its 90th anniversary throughout 2024 by reproducing throwback recipes from different decades.

Nikki Laski, the daughter of Monarch Cakes‘ 85-year-old owner Gideon Markham, told Broadsheet she has spent the past few months sifting through the bakery’s old recipe books and photos in search of inspiration for the cake shop’s 90th anniversary later this year.

As part of this, the Monarch Cakes team plan on reviving past recipes that have fallen off the menu.

The cake shop was originally founded by Pearl Levine, a Polish and Jewish immigrant. She opened her first bakery, Monaco Cake Shop, in Carlton in 1931, and three years later moved the business to St Kilda so as to be better able to cater to the Eastern European Jewish migrants in the area. It was here the business was re-branded as Monarch Cakes.

According to Broadsheet, Pearl kept the business in the family until her death, and continued to use the same recipes she had brought with her from Poland the entire time.

Current owner Gideon Markham, a Polish Holocaust survivor, migrated to Australia in 1963 and bought the shop in 1996.

Nikki said when you have cakes that really bring back memories for so many different ethnic groups, it’s an honour to be a part of it.

“For many people they can’t get these anywhere. It’s something their grandmother made when they were a child,” she told Broadsheet.

This includes Monarch’s famous kooglhoupf – a sweet ring-shaped, cake-like bread with dark chocolate and almond meal swirled through the pastry. Then there’s also the Polish baked cheesecakes that are made using a recipe that’s more than 100-years-old.

Despite reaching a momentous milestone, Nikki said the Monarch Team are still making plans for the future.

“We’re here for the long haul,” she said.

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