If you’ve been craving luxurious European desserts with a modern, Asian-inspired flair, Aurora’s Sweet General is undoubtedly the bakery for you. Revitalizing the area’s pastry scene by infusing age-old French techniques with innovative flavors — bursting with notes of bright yuzu or rich with the depth of oolong — their variety of cakes, pastries, and baked goods are truly a sweet tooth’s paradise.
Although striving to bring a taste of East Asia into the refined, sophisticated world of patisserie-making, Sweet General is unapologetically in touch with their Asian roots. Nestled in between a Korean fried chicken and Bento Box joint in a food court at the Park to Shop Asian supermarket, it’s clear that Sweet General is leading a culinary revolution: elevating traditional Asian flavors to levels of delectability never before even considered.
And, in fact, Sweet General is part of a growing movement in the area: stretching the horizons or bending the boundaries, if you will, of Asian cuisine. With various restaurants now in the area experimenting with culinary techniques, decor, and presentation to deliver beloved Asian cuisine via a new means, Sweet General certainly isn’t alone in their concept — but that’s not to say they aren’t unique. It takes a certain formula to do this right — one that involves talented chefs, innovative presentation, and a noble concept — one that Sweet General has clearly perfected.
The first pastry that we sampled was their Matcha Crepe Cake, a precisely-engineered feat of deliciousness featuring 40 paper-thin crepes held together with alternating layers of a housemade matcha buttercream. Visually speaking, it’s like this cake came straight from DaVinci’s kitchen, the mesmerizingly thin layers and refined green color truly a treat for the eyes. The crepes themselves are the textbook version of the French staple: pillowy and light, with a slight chew and delicate mouthfeel. There’s also this very comforting, yet subtle flavor of vanilla and caramelized butter — both indicators of the precision and attention to details that have gone into this pastry.
Perhaps even more show-stopping than these melt-in-your-mouth crepes, though, might be their matcha buttercream. It’s clear that Sweet General prioritizes using the highest quality ingredients and their matcha is no exception. Although the flavor is difficult to truly convey, the matcha possesses this very refined richness and depth that falls somewhere between an earthy astringence and smooth sweetness. Paired with their housemade buttercream that has just the right amount of sugar to enhance the matcha without being overbearingly sweet, there’s just no denying that this Japanese tea and French pastry aren’t a match made in heaven.
The next pastry that will truly bring your palate to life is their Durian Cup Cake, featuring layers of Durian-flavored sponge cake and buttercream served in a cup form. If you’re not familiar, Durian is a Southeast Asian fruit with a very rancid smell and is aptly dubbed the ‘World’s Smelliest Fruit’. Even being banned in certain public places like the Singapore metro system, Durian has undoubtedly earned a very notorious reputation — but with Sweet General’s take on it, you might just learn to love it.
The cake’s presentation, although not as eye-catching as the crepe cake, is visually appealing nonetheless with the caramelized edges of the sponge cake creating an inviting contrast against the off-white buttercream. Interestingly, the Durian smell is quite muted with the other ingredients, giving off a tropical aroma somewhere along the lines of a banana-pineapple hybrid. It tastes exactly like it smells, surprisingly enough, with a very pleasant sweetness and richness counteracting those rancid undertones. The sponge cake and buttercream are expectedly light and pillowly, with just the right amount of sweetness to let the Durian come front and center stage without driving away hesitant customers. The cup form adds another dimension of uniqueness to this perfectly imperfect Durian dessert — a new flavor that Sweet General ensures you’ll fall in love with.
Although the two pastries we’ve sampled are certainly a tough opening act to follow, Sweet General once again delivers with their Peach Oolong Crepe Cake, made with alternating layers of soft crepes and a fruity, floral buttercream. Like the Matcha Crepe Cake, this pastry features those same paper-thin, lighter-than-air crepes in all their glory. The real star of the show here, though, is undeniably that buttercream with sweet, fruity undertones from the peach and a richer, floral flavor from the oolong tea.
While oolong tea itself is a popular drink enjoyed across Eastern Asia, Sweet General’s expert pairing with peach truly showcases that they understand the flavor profiles of their ingredients. The earthy depth from the oolong is met with this vibrant punch from the peach, making for a buttercream that is bursting with flavor. Although that distinct tea flavor is a little lost within the sweetness, the fluffy texture and appealing presentation still make for an enjoyable dessert.
Sweet General combines traditional Asian flair with an upscale approach, reinventing French classics with their evidently genius culinary innovation. Perfect for a birthday treat or those occasional sweet tooth cravings, Sweet General is a bakery that speaks to the immense potential of fusion cuisine like no other.
Sweet General is located at 4334 E New York St Unit 118. Learn more by calling 630-340-5339 or visiting their Instagram page.
Aryav Bothra is a food critic for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl