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Nely’s Passion Heart: A Homey Cafe With Signature Cake Flavours Like Cempedak Crumble & Onde-Onde That Locals Recommend

Passion Heart Cafe in Penang

Penang’s longest cake cafe ChinaHouse is where the chic and the artsy gather among the galore of cakes. But Nely’s Passion Heart – formerly Passion Heart Cafe tucked along Jalan Muntri – is an enclave of comfort and nostalgia, where locals always head back to for a dose of familiarity and homeliness.

From childhood classics such as banana loaf and chocolate moist cake to hearty slices of uniquely local favourites like durian cheesecake and cempedak crumble, this cafe has more and some to make you forget about the calories – and remember the taste of sweet reminiscence.

Comforting cake cafe in George Town

Passion Heart - nely's

Over the past 11 years, Passion Heart Cafe went from being somewhat of a hidden gem to a much-loved cake house with a stream of loyal customers. Locals frequent the establishment when their sweet cravings hit, while regulars drop by during celebrations that call for a whole delightful cake and tourists make mental notes to return to whenever they’re visiting the island.

Passion Heart - interior

Now renamed as
Nely’s Passion Heart, the cake house has relocated to an alley of Jalan A.S Mansoor, and is still the place to go whenever one is looking for some repose in the form of chit-chats over tea and next-level sweet treats.

Everything about the decade-old Nely’s Passion Heart cake cafe is comfortingly old-school and distinctly Penang – from the intricately mosaic floors to the brightly yellow-coloured walls and the grand swaths of stained glass on the windows.

Passion Heart - cakes

But of course, the main appeal of the cafe is the refrigerated case filled with beautiful works of layered cakes and tarts that draw on the familiar, old-fashioned, and nostalgic flavour combinations.

As simple as the sight may be, the cakes are a wonder to behold – all charmingly frosted, piped and primmed in classically simple decorations. We advise that you visit with growling stomachs as you’ll be remiss to only munch on a slice here.

Local flavours & generous portions

Passion Heart - dessert

With just too many options to pass up, we went all out and ordered a feast for ourselves – and yet, we still had to hold back the temptation to order more. Fortunately we did, as our orders arrived in impressively behemoth slices.

While a huge part of the appeal comes from the visual appeal of the cakes, one bite in and it’s clear that the aesthetics aren’t just empty promises. Here, the quality of the ingredients used, the knowledge one has in baking and the taste of the finished product is what built the name and the reputation of the cafe – in other words, the unwavering passion and immense heart in the cakes themselves.

Passion Heart - cempedak cake

If you’re a Penang kia and you have never had their ridiculously delicious Cempedak Cake, first of all, shame on you. And second, head over to the cafe to indulge in the finest and most flavourful hunk of Cempedak Cake (RM15/slice) you’ll ever taste in your life.

We went for the Cempedak Crumble (RM19/slice), an ungodly delicious take on something akin to a tart with a dense cake as a base, stuffed with exquisitely sweet chunks of cempedak, and laced with morsels of crumbles.

Passion Heart - onde cake

Their Onde-onde cake (RM18/slice) is as equally outstanding – the shredded bits of coconut gives a gratifying crisp to bite down on in the midst of the velvety pandan cake layers, which further exaggerates the the milky coconut notes and caramelly ones of the gula melaka.

Riding on the “childhood local favourite” train, we tried the Banana Crumble (RM15/slice) next. Its dense and fragrant banana body strewn with muscly walnuts and a dark chocolate-coated supple crumble crowning its top, makes the treat eye-poppingly good.

Passion Heart - mango cheesecake

We’ll have to say, the real coup here are their cheesecakes. They run the gamut, from durian-flavoured and pomelo-infused to flavours like strawberry rose and Oreo. Our choice, the Mango Cheesecake (RM20/slice), was a brawny slice with a ridiculous amount of fresh and plump mango chunks atop a lush cheesecake. One messy bite and we were to the moon.

Passion Heart - blackforest cake

Tummies full of sweets but not quite ready to stop, we moved on to the Black Forest (RM20/slice) that looked like a complete work of art on a plate.

The ultra-aerated yet rich layers of chocolate cake are held together by lightly whipped cream, bejewelled with full cherries and soaked in red wine that bleeds between each layer. The mellow sweetness of the cream and the slight tang of the cherries and booze underscores the cocoa perfectly – truly impeccable.

Passion Heart - coffee

The cafe also offers full meals as well as refreshments on their menu, all of which make for great accompaniment to the stand-out cakes.

Fulfil your decadent dreams at Nely’s Passion Heart

Penang is blessed with cake houses and bakeries that sprinkle the island like powdered sugar on cakes – and trust us when we say that Nely’s Passion Heart is the crème de la crème of all that the island has to offer when it comes to cakes.

So whether you’re hooked by the aroma wafting from the cafe and popping by on a whim, or a loyal customer craving for one of their hearty slices, this cafe is a quintessential cake heaven with treats that taste full of passion and heart.

Address: 23 Jalan A.S Mansoor, George Town, Penang
Opening hours: Thu – Mon 11.30am-9pm (Closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)
Contact: 016-443 1336

For more food features, here’s The Ais, ice cream parlour in Penang with unique handcrafted flavours and Chulia Street Night Hawker with decades-old stalls in Penang.

Photography by Jia-Ju. 

Cover image adapted from:The Smart Local Malaysia