It’s sugar rush with just one “r.”
It’s the familiar story of two girls who meet in college: the shared discovery that they’ve been dabbling in the kitchen since childhood, the giddy willingness to taste just about anything, and most importantly, a shared fervor for the sweet. One girl, Rissa Cheng, formally studies pastry; the other, Honey Copok, a self-described “natural glutton” and the artist of the two, delights in photography.
Forays into cooking and baking for family and friends and the ensuing encouragement and positive feedback lead to what the pair now call Sugarush. Why only one “r”? As Honey spells out (pun not intended) for me, “We wanted to name our business Sugar Rush at first because of the happy-giddy feeling [you] get from eating desserts. But we thought it would be trendier if we combine the two words together and remove the extra letter ”˜r.’”
Their extensive product line belies the barely two year-old business: 12 cakes, 3 pies, plus an assortment of cookies. It’s the cakes that are anointed with lyrical names: Dreamy New Yorker (New-York-style cheesecake; P1,350); The Cruncher (chocolate cake with a caramelized nut middle; P1,250); and the Devil’s Advocate, their bestselling chocolate cake that promises to leave me “breathless.” (It doesn’t. P1,280).
Devil’s Advocate is Sugarush’s version of a deeply dark chocolate cake, a de rigueur of any home baker. It’s super striking with its lush color and a surface that’s a topography of cocoa hills and frosting peaks. Also, its midnight crumb interrupted by an inner band of thick caramel frosting possesses a top-current of – is it espresso? liqueur? – that plays on the tongue. It’s not bad at all, but it could slightly put off the non-coffee and/or non-drinking types, as it does in my tasting group. This is a chocolate cake that will sufficiently satiate any and all reasons for eating chocolate cake, from PMS to heartbreak and everything in between. I just wish it could be slightly more moist.
What I prefer to the Devil’s Advocate is the Nutty Obsession (P1,200), the same chocolate cake as the former except this one’s got a peanut butter ganache filling that’s as toothsome as its crunch-from-the-occasional-peanut is a pleasant surprise. The icing on this cake, loads lighter in hue than the Devil’s Advocate, has a flavor reminiscent of the caramel sauce paired with Goodies ”˜n’ Sweets’ decadent chocolate cake. Again, this is a good cake that I wish could be moister and have a thicker layer of icing.
Honey and Rissa tell me that what sets them apart is their dedication to using “… the best possible ingredients for our products to achieve the quality we want.” Their cakes back them up on this, as do their prices. The two are also quite adept at fondant cakes and cake decorating as evidenced by Sugarush’s social networking pages (see info below) but good ingredients and artistry can’t hide poor technique.
Because I’m such an advocate for pie, I always ask for a sample whenever I see it on a home baker’s product list. Sugarush has a looker of a Pecan Pie (P850), beautiful concentric rows of pecans held up by a wondrous confluence of eggs, sugar, corn syrup, and pure vanilla ”“ a truly memorable filling this one, save for a major flaw: a too tough crust. I’m dismayed when my ordinary table knife can’t cut a slice of this pie. I exchange the knife for my 7-inch chef’s knife with the pointy tip, having to exert extra leverage when I hit the thicker crust around the plate rim. But my dismay turns to disappointment and my suspicion is confirmed when my fork also can’t make it through the crust. Pie crust needs gentle hands and the briefest of handling to produce a flaky (and edible!) crust. This particular pie crust obviously had too much of both. Still, a tough pie crust is easily remedied (mine is a goner but the succeeding ones have hope) and I would order this pecan pie one more time.