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It all started because my best friend, Bal, mentioned that he didn’t like carrot cakes. Could eat carrots but not the cake. (Weird boy). Then I started craving carrot cake, and had to have it now. We went to Segafredo and I tried their carrot cake, which has the distinction of being one of the worst carrot cakes I’ve ever met. This was not a carrot cake. What it was was a yellow cake with some grated carrots. Pathetic.
Here’s a carrot cake that could be the gold standard. It’s from the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, a classic cookbook in any baker’s library. This has received raves on all the online message boards I’ve visited.
It’s chock-full of good things ”“ carrots, pineapple, walnuts, and coconut. It gives off the most intoxicating smell while baking. Of course you shouldn’t even think of eating this without the cream cheese frosting. Hmm, maybe this is a cake that even Bal will like…
Decadent Chocolate Cake
Every home baker and bakeshop in Manila has its own version of a Decadent Chocolate Cake ”“ a frosted chocolate glory drizzled with caramel sauce. Some truly live up to their name and some, well… I’ll just say they should be seen and not tasted.
This is a simpler version, a snacking cake, if you will. I omitted the caramel, but it’s easy enough to use a homemade version or grab a bottle from the store.
Even though banana bread is as common as breathing, a good banana bread recipe is hard to find. I think I may have stumbled onto a winner. Instead of a loaf, I made these “Texas-size” ”“ large muffins that can feed one hungry Lori or two Boos.
I had some dates that were just sitting in my fridge, as well as a can of puréed pumpkin, so I decided to put them to good use. This loaf makes them shine. It’s dark, dense, moist, and full of cloves and cinnamon. This is the closest I’ll get to autumn in Manila.