The pandemic has caused people stress and anxiety. For relief, many have turned to therapeutic hobbies such as baking, gardening, or sampling desserts. Many of these sweet, mood-uplifting treats were introduced during the quarantine.
Peach Almond Cake Loaf
Renowned wedding cake stylist Penk Ching lost many of her bookings because of the ban on big gatherings. Now she has turned her cakes into pastry loaves that people can enjoy at home. She has four kinds—banana walnut, apple walnut, carrot walnut and peach almond. They’re rich, dense and the kind that needs no special occasion to be enjoyed.
Pastry Bin, tel. 0917-8122676
Frozen Matcha Brazo de Mercedes
Samantha Tan’s dessert is based on a family recipe, a favorite at family Christmas lunches. “I convinced my mom to try selling it,” she says of their ube, avocado, caramel macchiato, and cookies and cream versions. The latest is matcha, where green tea custard and ice cream are sandwiched between a Graham cracker base and pillowy meringue.
Maria Makes, tel. 0917-8283857
This bibingka by Adie’s Delight is among the good-quality commercial ones. She grinds her own rice, which yields a body that’s more custard than cake. Her bibingka has four kinds of cheeses—cheddar, white, queso de bola and cream—topped with slices of salted egg. Adie’s also makes a delicious top-crust chicken pie.
Adie’s Delight, tel. 0917-8802212
Mandarin Chocolate Macarons
Meryl Go started selling her French macarons years ago, but stopped when her mom got sick and needed care. During the pandemic, she went back to making colorful meringue-based confections. Her flavors are beyond basic—chai spice, banana walnut, peanut caramel, passionfruit and mandarin chocolate—and they are packed in boxes designed by local artists. She also makes sinful chocolate truffles.
Alchemy, tel. 0917-8963795
To help the coconut farmers of Quezon, Tricia Tan, 17, and her mom created a coconut pie that’s baked fresh daily. The pie is filled with fresh coconut meat cradled in a crumbly base using French ingredients and crowned with a delicious crumble, which gives it not just a delightful texture, but a beautiful presentation, as well.
The Coconut Club, tel. 0917-8195353
Bernadette Velasco, who studied culinary arts and has worked in restaurants, has started baking and selling her cakes now that she’s a stay-at-home mom. Her confections include a New York cheesecake, tiramisu with amaretto, and the bestseller, Hummingbird, spiced banana cake topped with cream cheese and walnuts.
Bert’s Bakes, tel. 0917-5601808
Celestine Pineda and her mom love to bake. One time, they made Hokkaido milk buns or shokupan made with matcha, and family and friends liked them so much. They innovated with different flavors and created their signature bread swirl. The shokupan line now comes in chocolate, cheese and taro.
Swirlybuns, tel. 0998- 5788337
Inspired by the cinnamon rolls she had at Sankt Peders Bageri, the oldest bakery in Copenhagen, Cel Dael decided to give them her own spin. Her buns are flatter and wider than the usual, and instead of a creamy frosting, her rolls are finished with sugar glaze. She also gives customers the option to enjoy it with toasted almonds.
Flights and Bites, tel. no. (0917) 502-2899
When Kristan Lerios’ Cebu-based sister got laid off from work, she started selling this bite-sized steamed rice cake for a living. And now that he has time to spare, he started selling her goods in Manila. The kuchinta is black because of the added coffee. Each order comes with dulce de leche dipping sauce and toasted coconut.
Buffchelor Kitchen, tel. no. 0998-8697576
Choco Crunch Cake
Selena Yu’s younger sister Samantha only wanted to learn how to bake. But instead of simply teaching Samantha, Yu turned her baking hobby into a business. The Triple C–Choco Crunch Cake has three layers: a crunchy and buttery bottom crust, a moist chocolate cake center, and a rich semisweet ganache topping.
Yuyu’s Kitchen, tel. no. (0905) 337-3838
Basque chef Mikel Martija’s croquetas are some of the best in the city. Available in pollo, jamon and mushroom, these fried béchamel fritters have a thin crisp shell encasing a creamy and tasty filling. His chocolate version is no different, as he uses local chocolates and crunchy cacao nibs grown in South Cotabato. They’re like molten bombs that explode with gooey chocolatey flavor.
Cocinalo!, @cocinalo.ph on Instagram
In Korea, they’re called ddaligi satang, strawberries encased in a candy shell. In Manila, they have recently been made available, thanks to the Falconi siblings, who started Dip’t. They have two kinds: strawberries in a candy shell, and another in honeycomb.
Dip’t, tel. no. (0917) 879-5599
Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake
“I love flourless chocolate cakes,” says Karisia Bitong, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate. “I began working on a new recipe when the lockdown happened. I wanted a cake that was simple yet decadent.” The result is a rich, dense and chocolatey cake that does without the fancy frostings and decorations, satisfies in its sheer simplicity.
Karisia Patisserie, tel. no. (0977) 214-8471
Earl Grey Pie
After binge-watching online baking videos and making countless banana breads, DoubleTree cookies and cinnamon buns, Anton Panajon decided to perfect his items and sell them to fellow pastry lovers. There’s the best-selling Anton’s Olive Oil Cake, a moist layer cake that is equally zesty and sweet, and The Duke of Earl, earl grey creme patisserie poured over a delicate pie crust then topped with roasted pistachios.
Bakerton, tel. no. (0917) 119-4814
Cheesy Mocha ‘Ensaymada’
After learning how to make ensaymada from an online class, Janice OJO! LAST NAME and her daughter Juliana, 14, decided to start a home business They have four kinds of ensaymada—cheesy, queso de bola, ube, and cheesy mocha. They also sell a moist dark chocolate cake and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
Yana Banana’s Goodies, tel. no. (0917) 822-2062
Coffee Pecan Sans Rival
Angela Villoria makes some of the metro’s most beautiful and well thought-out creations. Her Strawberry Cake has strawberry coulis and macerated strawberries in between layers and her French sponge remains moist and tender, not wet as a rag when thawed. Her sans rival is quite a revelation because chopped roasted pecans are added into the meringue, lending a nutty, buttery flavor that ties in everything. Plus, it has just the right amount of buttercream, which doesn’t feel like you’re eating a stick of butter. Cinq, tel. no. 8890-0886
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