|Banana-Mango Yogurt Cake|
Let sleeping dogs lie - or in this case, dormant blogs. Sage bit of advice though it is, I'm about to completely ignore it.
It's been quiet hereabouts for the past six weeks and for no reason other than I've had nothing terribly interesting to offer. When I started this blog, I resolved never to toss out some random scrap of a post for the sake of filling a blank screen. So, there have been a few months featuring just a single entry as well as my first zero-post period last November, during our big move to the Philippines. That hiatus resulted in plunging statistics and lost visitors, but that's the way the unattended porridge burns. When I was ready again, I simply scraped the pot clean and started anew. But six months later, another goose egg is about to be laid and this time, I'm not OK with it. Faced with a posting gap that I fear could turn into a blogging sinkhole, I've decided to suspend my moratorium on placeholder posts.
I thought it might be difficult to go against my own rules, but it turned out to be a piece of cake . . . several whole cakes, as a matter of fact.
Cakes I Have Known
In my last post, I noted that serving cake means it's a party; judging from what follows, I've been partying very well. I didn't realize how many fabulous cakes there have been in my recent past until I reviewed my photo files. Rather than consign them to eternal digital code purgatory where their frosted glory will languish unseen, I offer this tangled gallery of les gâteaux délicieux.
Grocery Store Cakes
For years, my birthday cake of choice has been a white-frosted vanilla 'bar' cake from SuperTarget. A small rectangle sliced from an industrial-sized sheet cake kept frozen in the store's bakery freezer, it boasts a half-inch layer of shortening and sugar (a.k.a. icing) tinted in the most garish primary colors. How I miss that cake! Bakery buffs may sniff, but I have a soft spot for grocery store cakes, like the German Chocolate my in-laws served for my birthday last year, and the Black Forest confection that made an appearance at a family reunion this past February.
|German Chocolate (left) and Black Forest cakes|
Sometimes, I'm content just to stare at fantastically decorated cakes, such as these amazing creations from Marta's Cakes in Serendra at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It really doesn't matter what they taste like - I doubt I could bear to cut into one of them...
|Entertaining Cakes: Film, Theater and Literature|
|Trendy Fashion and Classic Style|
('Take One' cake from Little Miss OC's Kitchen at YummyEats)
Ice Cream Cakes
When I think of ice cream cakes, I think of Carvel's Fudgie the Whale and the early-1980s low-budget commercials that would run incessantly just before Father's Day, touting it as a perfect treat. For the longest time, I thought a cetacean-shaped cake was as traditional a gift for Dad as flowers are for Mom. With Father's Day coming up but no Carvel stores in the Philippines, perhaps my dear paterfamilias will be content with frozen desserts from local restaurants, such as the Mango and Cream Cake from Oyster Boy at MetroWalk or a Frozen Brazo de Mercedes from Red Crab Alimango House at Fort Bonifacio.
|Mango (left) and Brazo de Mercedes frozen desserts|
Buffet Cake Bites
Though I've sworn off buffets, I can't completely avoid them since they're the food arrangement of choice for large family events. Buffet table seems to bring out the glutton in everyone: despite there being two other cakes and a large bowl of fruit salad during a cousin's recent birthday luncheon, I witnessed the merciless hacking of a magnificent cake when hungry guests were left to serve themselves. Thankfully, more savvy caterers know to offer pre-portioned servings to avert a dessert massacre, like Chef Jessie Sincioco, whose eponymous restaurant in Rockwell, Makati City offers a bite-sized yet regal pistachio Sans Rival called Princess Carmen. And at our Noche Buena a few years ago, a lovely Croquembouche was a delectable centerpiece from which we could all enjoy a cream puff.
|Croquembouche and 'Princess Carmen' pistachio Sans Rival|
When I bake a cake, it's inevitably of the Bundt- or coffee- variety: easy, fool-proof and no messy frosting required. While I certainly hope to expand my repertoire and improve my skills by trying more complicated recipes, these simple cakes have never let me down.
Honey Saffron Christmas Cake with sugared citrus peel was actually made for our Thanksgiving dinner in 2008 from a recipe by my friend Cris, who blogs at From Our (Brazilian) Home to Yours.
When I'm not feeling greedy for a whole cake, I'm thankful for BreadTalk, a carb-lovers paradise conveniently located nearby. This Singapore-based bakery offers a delicate Chocolate Mousse Cake in single servings, for those moments when I need an emergency chocolate cake fix.
During one birthday, just a few years ago, I didn't get a cake. I will only say that I made my disappointment known and that Mr. Noodle quickly rectified the situation with a requisite SuperTarget Vanilla Bar cake. Spare me the flowers and balloons, but never - ever - forget the cake! As if to make up for that blip, the past year has seen a happy parade of celebration cakes in my family:
From rich chocolate to whimsical princess....
|Blue candle for him, pink flowers for her|
Hers (Fruit and Cream topped with Macarons) and His (Chocolate Feuillantine), from Patrick's Bakery in Edina, MN - sweet gifts from my sister-in-law KEP...
|French bakery cakes, topped with macarons and edible gold foil|
The Best Birthday Cake - EVER!
Estrel's Original Caramel Cake is the kind of perfection that will ruin you for any other cake. The most sublime chiffon cake, of such delicate sponginess and subtle vanilla flavor, is covered with a thin layer of what the bakery calls 'caramel' icing but is really more like a spreadable leche flan - impossibly creamy, rich without being heavy, sweet without being cloying. Decorated with pure buttercream roses and lacy patterns, this cake was so beautiful, there are more photos of it than of me on my birthday. Thank goodness Estrel's Caramel Cakes are made to order and found in just one location - it keeps me from planning a daily trek for a piece of cake...
|It was a very happy and delicious birthday indeed!|
Banana-Mango Yogurt Cake
(from a recipe by Kristen Anderson, Good Taste magazine 2/97)
This may be a placeholder post, but it would seem incomplete without a recipe to offer. I haven't been baking much - as you may have noticed, it's almost too easy to find good cake here. However, it's nice to have something home-baked, especially when my parents stop by our apartment for some coffee and dessert. Just a few minutes out of the oven, this cake is moist and sweet, with a delightful sugar-crisp top. After it is completely cooled, store in the refrigerator. Although the crisp crust will soften, the cake's dense texture improves when chilled!
As I mentioned, coffee cakes are my go-to baked goods (other than cookies) to serve company and I was pleased to find this easy recipe online, to which I made just a few of substitutions. For complete ingredients and instructions, please check out the original recipe here.
Caster sugar (I reduced amount in recipe by 1/5)
Ripe bananas, mashed
Plain yogurt (I used a sweetened yogurt with mango chunks)
Chopped walnuts (instead of shredded coconut)
Preheat oven; butter a 8x8 square cake pan. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time. Fold in mashed bananas and yogurt. Sift together flour and baking powder, then fold into the batter until just combined. Spoon mixture into buttered pan and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before serving.
Which of the cakes shown here do you like the best?