The first time I met Imelda she gave me a White Velvet Symphony ”“ no, not a slice but the entire cake. We met because I was interviewing her for a magazine article. We’ve been fast friends ever since, and I’m a regular customer at her specialty ingredients store, Chef’s Nook (220 Pilar St., Mandaluyong), which deserves its own feature on this website.
Even just saying its name, White Velvet Symphony, evokes images of romance. It’s a white chocolate cake embraced with layers of meringue and crunchy dark chocolate. Then it’s filled with white chocolate cream, frosted with whipped cream and flourished with toasted sliced almonds. It’s one of those cakes that garner gasps when the first slice is cut and served.
Though it has show-stopping good looks, the flavors in this symphony are actually quite subtle. The white chocolate’s sweetness is tempered by the cake and cream, with bites of the meringue and dark chocolate contributing a crescendo. Every bite is cloaked in a kiss of whipped cream and almonds, providing a dreamy soundtrack to this creation.
When I see hazelnuts, I think chocolate, and chocolate and hazelnuts make gianduja (gyan-DOO-ha; john-DOO-ya), the most well-known being Nutella and confections Ferrero Rocher and Baci. Also called filberts or cobnuts, hazelnuts are grape-shaped and have a particularly smooth and rich flavor. I try as much as possible to not have a jar of Nutella in the house because I end up smearing it on everything from French toast to ice cream. It’s one of those spreads that I eat enthusiastically with my fingers.
Imelda’s Triple Hazelnut Mousse brings my Nutella dreams to life, albeit to a more refined level. I get my hazelnut fix multiplied by three in three layers of mousse: dark chocolate, white chocolate, and hazelnut, made from Callebaut’s gianduja bar. This breathtaking magnification of hazelnut mania sits atop a fudgy chocolate cake base. Tell me, how sexy is that? It’s smoothness multiplied by three, softening slowly, sensually. Imelda tells me that this dessert is best served frozen when its texture is like ice cream. But I prefer it when it’s just starting to melt.
Tea Party Baker #1 : Sharlene of Qitchen
Tea Party Baker #2 : Dulcelin’s Mango Torte
Tea Party Baker #3: Roshan’s Lemon Torte
Tea Party Baker #4: Gerald’s Cheesecake
Tea Party Baker #5: Karen’s Xanadu and Mixed Cheesecake
Tea Party Baker #7: Vanilla Bean’s Turtle Cake