Sugar Series December 2008: Ann Puno’s Choc-Nut Cake
(An ongoing series)

My Sugar Series (December 2008) is made up of desserts that I’ve enjoyed recently. Because the holidays spell sweet excess, impress the people you love with any of the following desserts. They’re guaranteed to make an impression on them as they did on me.

Other desserts in this series:
“Nutter” About Peanut Butter
A “Fruitcake” To Fall In Love With
Pleasure for Plaisir
San Lo’s Famous…
My 2 Favorite Cakes This Christmas
Hazelnuts and Lemons
Delicious as Only Dèlize Does It

NOTE: This series ends on Friday, Dec. 19, 2008.

Ayala Alabang is a treasure trove of home bakers waiting to be discovered. To denizens of the north, Alabang is a cloistered space; a “… glorified province,” as one person describes it – to which only the brave venture to. Of course to the residents of this far-flung, gated community, their home bakers are already household names, and I, the dessert-seeker, wish to be let in on those names. Distance is no hindrance when it comes to dessert. (If you know of more home bakers in the Ayala Alabang area, please stick them in the Comments section below.)

choc-nut cake

Ann Puno or Mrs. Puno, as she’s more commonly known, is a favorite among the sweet-toothed in Ayala Alabang. Though she sells food specialties such as dulong in olive oil, quesong puti in herbs and spices as well as tubs of frozen cookie dough, it’s her cake list that sends people like me into a tizzy. Though we’ve never met, she talks to me like an old friend, guiding me through the seven cakes that are her specialty. “The Bailey’s Choco Walnut is ordered a lot,” she says, “and also the Kahlua Toffee Cake.” There’s an intriguing Almond Coffee Cake on her list that she’s faxed to me and her Pistachio Cake is calling my name. But it’s the Chocnut Cake that I finally choose. “Good choice!” I can hear Mrs. Puno’s smile through the telephone.

When I finally make it to Alabang to pay for and pick up the cake, my car is practically engulfed with the heady scent of butter and rum on the way home. Similar to those rum cakes that were the Christmas gifts du jour in the late 90s, Mrs. Puno’s cake is a butter cake tinged with delicate waves of rum that imbue the cake’s golden crumb. Chunks of Choc-Nut, that popular local candy made from cheap peanuts and even cheaper chocolate take on new life. As a filling, they’re burrowed deep into the crumb, injecting a frisson of delightful surprise at two things – cake and Choc-Nut — merging to form something entirely new and delicious without losing their respective individuality. As a topping, the candy is a gleaming crown that hints broadly at the treasure that lies waiting within. And the toffee-like, sticky sauce that dribbles lazily down the cake’s fluted sides is as velvety as the creation it embraces.

choc-nut cake

Mrs. Puno

168 San Enrique St.

Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa

807.6431 / 807.2757 – look for Ann or Helen

Call for Christmas packages

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