Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocnut, Chocnut.
Home baker Ann Puno wanted to see if she could make her bestseller even better. That, naturally, is her Chocnut Cake, a golden butter cake moistened with rum and pocked with nuggets of Chocnut. The finishing touch, a not-too-sweet caramel sauce drapes over the cake, highlighting its grooves and pooling in the center for a surprise sticky treat.
Ann calls me up some months ago and tells me conspiratorially, â€œI’ve made something for the holidays and I want you to be the first one to try it.â€ I didn’t need a greater come-on.
It’s called Double Chocolate Chocnut Cake. â€œEveryone likes chocolate cake and so I decided to try making one too but keeping the Chocnut in,â€ she explains. Chocnut is that special peanutty candy that every Filipino seems to have grown up with, our national version of peanut butter cups, if you will. As legendary as Butter Balls, Orange Swits, and Goya Footballs, Chocnut is surprisingly, not as easy to find as most Chocnut-deprived Pinoys based overseas believe it to be. These coveted blocks of peanut and chocolate goodness are usually procured at Chinese groceries and smaller supermarkets. They’re hoarded and rarely shared by those who are absolutely nuts for Chocnut.
That Chocnut — despite its name — hardly has any chocolate may be a reason why it works so well in Ann’s new creation. A tender cake whose molten middle traps chunks of Chocnut, it’s the candy that provides the characteristic graininess and unmistakable peanut flavor. This particular contrast in tastes is what makes the cake’s chocolate flavor brim with sigh-inducing complexity.
It’s good enough reason for me to make this Christmas a Chocolate-Chocnut one.
168 San Enrique St.
Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa
807.6431 / 807.2757 â€“ look for Ann or Helen
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