As an apostle of the gospel of sweet, I can track any given year in my life by the desserts I eat. One year it was rum cake, another year, the cupcakes kept on coming, and once, it rained red velvet. I used to maintain an annual Best Dessert list but thought it redundant after a while since I write about so many in the course of a year. But with the approaching 10th anniversary of Dessert Comes First, I thought it was time to do a list again. So in random order, I’m happy to present to you now my 10 Best Desserts for 2014. Some may be new to you and some you may have already heard of. What they have in common are that they set the standards for the sweetest kind of bliss.
Elvis Magnum from Magnum Manila
I’m beyond passionate about peanut butter desserts and The Elvis served at Magnum Manila is my favorite. Presented with panache, the peanut butter oozes out and over two brioche French toasts; it’s stunning and so are the bacon jam and banana compote. It’s finished with a salted caramel Magnum bar, topped with bacon bits and a drizzle of dark Belgian chocolate. Now pass the maple syrup and shake it like Elvis.
5/F SM Aura Premier, C5 corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
02 869 7916
Ube-Macapuno Ombre Cake from Nicole Uy
Almost as tall as it is wide, this cake presents a compelling argument for purple food so if you’re already partial to purple, what a pretty pleasure awaits you then. The gradient layers of Italian meringue buttercream cloak an ube chiffon cake, two thick layers enshrining a subtle shade of emerald – pandan – the glow of green in between brooding hues. It mingles with strings of macapuno – sweet supporters to the ube that dominates. And because flowers make everything better, this cake is crowned with a stargazer sugar lily. In ombre purple, of course.
P500/ 5-inch cake
Available at The Flour Girl kiosk at SM Mall of Asia
0917 543 6350
On FaceBook: theflourgirlbakery
El Rogel from La Cabrera
An Argentinian dessert traditionally served at weddings, the El Rogel is layer upon layer of crisp-chewy pastry lavished with dulce de leche and topped with torched meringue. Teetering into too-sweet territory, this dessert is decidedly for those who are married to their sweet tooth (teeth), as I am.
La Cabrera Manila
6750 Ayala Avenue, Makati
+63 905 290-0703
Caramello di Semolina from Il Ponticello
It’s a fancy name for something so easy to love. A bread pudding still with a memory of warmth from the oven’s heat is served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. It trembles as it melts, submitting to the heat and to a desire you didn’t know you had. Now all you have to do is pour on the caramel and open wide.
2/F Antel Corporate Center, 121 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
02 553 9971 / +63 949 760 8731
Apple Gruyere Pie from Pi: Breakfast + Pies
There’s nothing better than an apple pie with cheese, please, and none does it better than Pi. With a filling that reaches an impressive three inches in height, chef-owner Ed Bugia translates his preferred pairing of Gruyere and apples into a pie that intoxicates – both in aroma and that lick-you-back dark caramel coating the fruit. The only thing better than eating this pie with a side of extra thick vanilla ice cream would be more cheese and a squeeze from the one you love.
P750 whole/P95 slice
Pi: Breakfast and Pies
39 Malingap St., Teacher’s Village, QC.
02 931 2337
Chocolate Cake with Caramel Sauce from Dimpy’s Kitchen
Arresting in all its chocolate essence, this cake is truly dark and deeply chocolate. Slick and shiny, its frosting is fudgy and scented with vanilla. Bite: the cake’s moist crumb puts up gentle resistance, and then: an uninterrupted lusciousness of chocolate. A superlative cake that is the answer to all chocolate cravings.
Dimpy Camara of Dimpy’s Kitchen
02 843 8086 / 843 9021
Rainbow Cake from The Cake Shack
You can’t deny that just the sight of this multi-color marvel in high-definition makes you happy. Six layers of a tender butter cake, each more vibrant in hue than the next, are cloaked in swathes of a lemon cream cheese buttercream artfully piped on in fanciful ruffles. So cut yourself a big slice while humming a few bars of “Happy”, and give thanks for colorful lives and even more colorful desserts.
Prices begin at P900. Available in various sizes and piping designs.
The Cake Shack
0947 616 5065
Ube Leche Flan Cake from Anghelicas Desserts
Chef Anne Atanacio uniquely utilizes local ingredients in her desserts. Her Ube Leche Flan Cake is astounding first in originality and then familiarity at the oft-paired ube and leche flan. Sharing a similarity in texture, there’s a melt-in-your-mouth lushness – first custard, then the earthiness of the root crop – dovetailing then transforming into a longing for more. A brilliant imagining of a dessert masterfully executed.
P500 for a 7.5-inch cake.
Chef Anne Atanacio of Anghelicas Desserts
0917 725 6038
Kouign Amann “KA” by Ciçou
The queen of flaky pastries and what I call a “croissant on crack.” Inordinate amounts of sugar are coaxed into layers of a yeasted laminated dough to produce intense caramelization and a disturbingly addictive sugar-crisp crown. The original has been downsized and the flavors on offer trigger delicious delirium: chocolate, caramel, coffee, lemon, peanut butter and jelly, ChocNut, ensaymada, chorizo, bacon and cheese… Oh, the choice!
P40-P60 each at 2/F SM Megamall Fashion Hall
0917 790 0589
At the kiosk, only small versions are available.
Larger kouign amanns are available at:
57 Annapolis St Greenhills, San Juan
02 661 9200
Tablea Tsokolate Cake from Tina Diaz
This cake is an ode to the traditional tablea, a gorgeous testament to the versatility of local tsokolate. The cake is softly dense, a canvas for an indulgent overlay of yema. The frosting, it’s tablea, too. Eaten chilled, it’s seductively sticky; at room temperature, it’s moistly chewy. A sweet that showcases the sophisticated, seductive side of tablea.
P900 for a 9-inch single layer cake (Available with or without yema).
Tina Diaz of Taza Platito
02 373 2732 / 0999 998 8901