It’s a muffin and the other one is a cake.
I get especially excited when I chance upon home bakers who develop new things. Variations on chocolate cookies or frozen brazos are hackneyed and overly familiar. It’s also difficult to find really good versions of the simple things like muffins, for instance.
Muffins are something that I prefer to bake and eat at home. With the exception of those at French Baker and Banapple, I have yet to find a muffin from a home baker possessing a tender crumb and satisfying flavor.
Adrian Miguel Sta. Maria is a senior at the University of Asia & the Pacific, completing his Entrepreneurial Management degree. He began a home-based baking business with his tita (aunt) just three months ago to use as the subject for his thesis which required a fully-operational business complete with all the permits. One thing led to another and it’s resulted in an expansive product line that also includes tacos, nachos, and dips. While I haven’t tried those, I’ve tasted almost all of his sweets. My favorite and the ones I recommend are Adrian’s banana crumb muffins (P25/each; 50 piece minimum).
They’re memorable for their distinctive banana flavor and pillow-soft crumb gilded with a streusel topping crisped with oats. Like anything stored in the refrigerator, these muffins are at their best at room temperature or, if you’re perennially impatient like I am, then nuke it or toast it briefly. Quick breads, of which these banana crumb muffins are, aren’t good cold.
Adrian Miguel Sta. Maria
0919.642 3037/ 0923.307 3023
I’m elated to have found Camille Ocampo’s San Marcos cake. Two layers of chiffon cake embrace a thick layer of crÃ¨me Chantilly, its top embellished with a crunchy yema (egg custard). It’s one of those cakes that I get giddy about because its deceiving lightness offers no impediment to third or even fourth servings.
A chiffon cake is lightened with whipped egg whites along with baking powder, and the addition of vegetable oil makes it especially fluffy. While I feel that Camille’s cake layers are a tad too dense to be termed “chiffon,” she tells me that a finer-textured cake renders the whole thing soggy. A true chiffon or not, a good forkful of it along with the delicately sweetened cream yields a flavor so direct yet so subtle. There’s none of the machismo of chocolate or the screech of citrus. And that yema topping. It looks and tastes like crÃ¨me brulee complete with its caramelized crown but it’s yema, and all the eggy-sweet goodness it promises. If kept properly chilled, it surprises with a hushed crunch upon first bite.
The San Marcos cake originates from Spain, and has many variations, all involving a sponge or chiffon cake, cream, and a flavoring agent, chocolate or orange, for example. Camille’s adaptation of it is the result of her time working with Chef Ed Quimson at Splendido in Tagaytay. She recounts that, “He asked me to recreate [it] … I’m not sure that the ingredients I use are what they would use in Spain, but I did what I could based on his descriptions and he seemed happy with it.”
The Pastry Cart by Camille Ocampo
San Marcos CakeÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â P650
Calamansi Cupcakes P300/dozen
Carrot Walnut CakeÂ Â P600