This year, many turned to pastries not just as a source of new income, but also for sweet solace.
There were just so many desserts introduced this year—from the French chouquettes of Gourmandise by Sunshine to the reinvented bicho-bicho of Panaderya Toyo—that trimming them down to a short list would be a near impossible task. So I decided to focus on what gave me the most satisfaction and that would have to be cakes and pies—and I sure have tasted a good lot. These are the ones that left quite a delicious impression.
Black Forest Cake by The Pastry Cart
What I love about Camille Ocampo’s creations is that they’re made simply and really well. Case in point: her take on the classic Black Forest Cake, which she introduced first quarter of the year. She uses fresh cherries, not the bright-red bottled kind and the kirsch flavor is apparent but not overpowering.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake by Chele Gonzalez
There have been so many local versions of this cheesecake made popular by La Viña in San Sebastian, Spain. Some have even infused flavor and fruits in them. But I’m more of a purist and among the plain ones that came out in 2020, Chele and Teri’s was the one with the most delightful texture.
@chefcheleskitchen on Instagram
Choco Silk Pie with Bananas by Lee Street Baking Co.
“My husband is a super chocolate lover and during the start of the quarantine, he started experimenting on making chocolate desserts, particularly choco mousse. It evolved from there,” says Jaimee Frondoso. The classic has a choco crust base and is topped with whipped cream. It also comes with peanut butter, and another with bananas, which is my favorite of the three.
@leestreetbakingco on Instagram
Pecan Sans Rival by Cinq Dessert Boutique
It was a pastry born out of the request of a customer who loves pecans, says baker Angela Viloria. “She loves our Opera cake buttercream and wondered if we could do a sans rival with it.” The result is a nuttier-tasting layered meringue cake, studded with chopped pecans. It also comes in coffee flavor.
Egg Pie by Wildflour Café + Bakery
One has come to expect Wildflour to make our favorite savory dishes better. The same extends to their baked goods. This year, they proved that with their take on the classic egg pie. The texture couldn’t be any more perfect—from the pie base that is specked with chopped nuts to the custard filling that treads the thin line between loose and too set.
@wildflourtogo on Instagram
bbngK from bbngk
Get a hint from the name. It’s not your traditional banana leaf-lined, salted egg-topped rice cake. It’s a modern take on the Christmas staple. A fudgy and moist butter cake is dotted and crowned with three types of cheeses.
@bbngk_ph on Instagram
Ube Cake by Mana BakeryIt seems like ube has become a top flavor for the year, given the massive hit of the ube-cheese tandem. Of all the purple yam desserts introduced this 2020, only one really stood out for me and that’s the cake of Mana Bakery. They make their own thick jam sans any artificial coloring and flavoring.
The Duke of Earl Pie by Bakerton
The Earl Grey pie Anton Panajon had at The Pie Hole in Los Angeles left a mark on his palate that years later, he found himself recreating and selling it. “I had so many iterations of the pie crust before I got to where I liked it,” he says. The delicate pie base holds a layer of Earl Grey creme patisserie topped with roasted pistachios.
Orange Olive Oil Cake by Gourmigz at Home
He had never even had an olive oil cake before yet Miguel David, who turned to baking for quarantine therapy upon the urging of his sister Tracy, bakes a really delicious one. Unlike others, he found the balance between being too soaked and barely tasting the oil. The addition of orange lends a lovely citrus hint.
@gourmigzathomedelivery on Instagram
Caramelized Banana Tart by Mise.ph
To showcase the humble banana, Selina Ocampo places it on a pedestal with the help of ingredients like dates, almonds, coconut oil and oats. She caramelizes the bananas then lays them on a bed of date toffee jam cemented on an oatmeal pie crust. Pastry cream can be added for a layer of creaminess. Best banana dessert ever!
@mise.ph on Instagram
Minimalist Mango Cake by Hearts and Bells
Adjusting to the times, Marita and Alyana Laddaran turned their wedding cake business and used their skills and expertise to make celebratory cakes people can enjoy at home. Not only do the cakes look beautiful but they are huge and taste great, too. The chopped mangoes in this particular cake have the right ripeness and the whipped cream has been folded with pastry cream for a lovely finish.
Honey Salted Pie with Macadamia by The Manila Baker
Feeling that Filipinos are now more receptive to pies based on the demand for their Sour Cream Apple Crumble Pie, husband and wife Charles and Alisxandre Ayson released Honey Salted Pie, something they enjoyed at party in New York. Complementing the natural sweetness of honey with salt flakes, the pie is studded with macadamias for texture and a nutty profile.
@themanilabaker on Instagram
Tiramisu by Little Butter
There are many versions of this classic cake out there, but Cathy Choi’s stands out because the three main flavors—mascarpone cheese, coffee and chocolate—are proportionate; not one overpowering the other. The savioardi biscuits are not drenched and retain their body; the cream is light; and the dessert, overall, isn’t [email protected] on Instagram
Triple Nut Sans Rival by Cipriano
Couple Kris and Cholo Mendoza roast their own nuts for personal consumption. One time, while snacking on them, they came upon the idea of doing their 50-year-old sans rival recipe using pistachios, macadamias and cashew. They put the nuts not just outside the cake, but inside too, with 70 percent more in the meringue for optimal crunch and flavor.
Wreath Angel Cake by Brownbaggins
“I really love angel cake and this was something I baked as a teenager,” says Mitchie Jimenez. The sponge cake is light as air, with only the fresh fruits and pastry cream lending the right sweetness to the pastry.