Tina is special to me because we started our food careers at the same magazine and as a food writer, I’ve gone on to write about her illustrious desserts.
Tina already had her dessert business Taza Platito when we were both contributing to FOOD magazine (ABS-CBN Publishing) some years ago. She was and still is a legend for her Double Chocolate Chip Fallen Cupcakes and her brownies, truly some of the best I’ve had the honor of sinking my teeth into.
Moist and memorable Date & Walnut Cake
I ordered Tina’s Date & Walnut Cake for my dad’s birthday this year. He’s not big on sweets but this cake he loved and it’s his favorite cake right now. As Tina’s riff on Sticky Toffee Pudding, this is a date cake that’s almost painfully moist, its texture matching that of the softened dates. The walnuts are a welcome contrast and the subtle note of spice conveyed in the cake lingers like the happy thought that this cake leaves you with.
At a recent photo shoot, someone took a picture of me (see last picture of that post) staring dreamily at Tina’s Banana Cream Pie. Initially, it looks like a chocolate pie of sorts with its crunchy Oreo cookie crust. But prod and pry to uncover a bounty of sliced bananas nestled in layers of vanilla cream all luxuriating on a lounge of chocolate ganache. Unlike other pies of this sort where a single component sings out of sync, all elements fit seamlessly here. And those fanciful rosettes? They’re swirls of dulce de leche cream.
One thing I admire in Tina is her selection of desserts that showcase Philippine ingredients. Her Pastillas de Leche Cake is remarkable as is her Tsokolate (Tablea) Cake. At the Dessert Comes First Christmas Gift List, Tina’s decided to highlight her Yema Torte, a truly sophisticated play on that traditional Philippine sweet made with egg yolks and sugar. Here, the yema does double duty: as the filling in between layers of meringue and as a burnished glace, a gleaming custard mirror hinting at the pleasures lying beneath its sheath. The dessert is evocative of sans rival, yet another treasured local confection and it’s similar, but this one’s more luxurious because of the yema.
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