There’s a treasure to be found in the secret center.
Jing Osias is one of my most bashful readers. So bashful is she that she actually emailed me her answers to a M.I.Y.O Monday question some time back. Still, I’m glad that she’s set aside her shyness to send me some of her cupcakes. I briefly mentioned her Sugar Free Valrhona Dark Chocolate Cupcake in a recent post and now I want to tell you about her sugar-full cupcakes.
It began just last February when Jing’s friends were craving for cupcakes specifically red velvet, so, utilizing her ISCAHM (International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management) credentials, bake them up she did to much success. Babycakes is the name of the resulting business because she believes that that’s what cupcakes are plus “…I also offer bite size versions.”
Some of my favorite Babycakes are the Apple with Cream Cheese: it’s reminiscent of apple pie with an undertone of caramel and crunchy, caramelized walnuts. There’s a lemony zing that rings through the Carrot Cupcake, its almost copper crumb is crowned with a cream cheese frosting that’s laced with the citrus fruit. And yes, the Red Velvets are quite the knockout with a restrained red shade and tuft of creamy cream cheese frosting sprinkled with edible décor.
In the dessert world, cupcakes have gone beyond being a craze and are hightailing it to become classics. While cupcakes in Manila are abundant, what’s not common are those that offer a center of abundance, aka: a filled center. I’m happy that Jing offers quite a few unique flavors and fascinating flavor combinations. I especially like the Vanilla with Nutella (above), a straight up butter cake cradling a dollop of the favored chocolate-hazelnut paste. This would’ve been quite enough but Jing ups the ante by crowning it with an icing of cream cheese perfumed with truffle. Far from being the stink bomb I expect, this cupcake exhibits restraint and the pop! – ooh! – of the silver dragées.
Also consider the Reese’s with Nutella Frosting (above) – hmm, I sense a pattern here – where a dark cake flavored with peanut butter hides a dollop of yes, Nutella. And then there’s the Peanut Butter S’mores, a take-off from the campfire sweet that holds a crumble of some kind within its pleasure center.
bottom and clockwise: Sugar Free Valrhona Dark Chocolate, Gingerbread with Cinnamon Cream Cheese, Banana with Caramel Buttercream & Walnuts, Strawberries & Champagne
I tell Jing that I’d like her to be a bit more generous with the center fillings. “It makes it impossible to share; one nibble and it’s gone,” I say since my Bin is quite peeved that I “accidentally” eat all the middles. So by the time you read this, I hope that Jing’s filled cupcakes will have more sizable centers. You must know too that Jing’s cupcakes are quite dense. Whether it be intentional or indicative of her recipes, it’s not an unpleasant thing but I’ve let her know that her cakes can afford to be lighter. A plus is that her cakes are not sickly sweet either, just right.
Jing calls her cupcakes a “work in progress,” with dreams of emulating some of the more well-known cupcake stores abroad. She’s off to a good start, as I mention, there aren’t that many bakers yet in Manila who offer filled cupcakes. My suggestion is to try just a few of the flavors you favor from those that you see in the photos. You’ll appreciate them best in groups as opposed to a crowd. And remember that if you want more, order them bite sized. They’re not called Babycakes for nothing.
Babycakes by Jing Osias
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