Tempestuously good – Sonja Ocampo’s Red Velvet Vixen cupcake

16 01 2009

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I have a new favorite.  Quite surprisingly, it took me a couple of years to discover the cupcake that ultimately dislodged Bunny Huggers Carrot Cake cupcake as my #1.  But not as surprising is the fact that I didn’t have to move far to find my new love.  I was still well within the four walls of that quaint shop that is Cupcakes By Sonja at the Serendra Piazza when I succumbed to the temptation of the Red Velvet Vixen Cupcake.

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The last time I was at their store was right around Halloween.  I wasn’t able to go back because I really got swamped at work.  Personally, I wasn’t able to go but people who know me well had been giving me the cupcakes during those two months.  So technically, my cravings were in check and were satiated.

 

But it was not until I went there last week that I really got my hands on the wonderful confection that is the red velvet vixen cupcake!

 

After a couple of months of not paying a visit, I was really excited going back last week.  I could feel my anticipation build up with every step I took that brought me closer and closer to Cupcakes by Sonja.  The interiors, bathed in warm but soft lights, only appeared more inviting as my surroundings were already being cloaked by the darkness that had hidden the sun early that day.  I carefully pushed the door and the barely squeaking sound turned the store’s staff’s attention towards my direction.

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In unison, the three gracious young ladies manning the display and the cashier greeted me with: “Hi, Sir eNTeNG!  Matagal po kayong hindi nakadalaw ah!  (It’s been a while since your last visit!)”  With such warmth, I couldn’t help but smile.  I was really surprised they still know me by first name given the many customers they attend to day in and day out.  And more surprising was the fact that they began to recite the short list of my favorites, politely asking how many boxes of each would have to be put together.  Wow!

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It was at that point that, with a sweeter smile, I told them I would like to try something new.  I said that I had been craving for it eversince I read on the Philippine Star that it was one of Lucy Torres-Gomez’s favorites (on her sugar rush holiday list!).  Actually, I’ve been lusting after red velvet cake for a while now.  Truth be told, it was one episode, five years ago, on the show From Martha’s Kitchen that got my desires for red velvet cake all worked up.  There was just something about a cake with a deep crimson red color, clothed in pristine white cream cheese frosting that whetted my appetite.  It was just that Ms. Torres-Gomez’s article was the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.  I just had to run to Cupcakes By Sonja!

 

So I asked for three boxes-of-four made for me.  Two boxes had two each of the Bunny Huggers and the Red Velvet Vixen, while the other had all Red Velvet Vixen.  As I waited for my turn to pay, I suddenly felt the urge to sink my teeth into one, totally dismissing my personal injunction to stay patient and wait till I got home.  So I politely, but impatiently, asked for one!

 

Standing right in front of the counter, one of the girls (I really have to ask for their names the next time I’m there!) handed me one.  I pulled off the paper liner and with one motion – cinematic to say the least as I slowly put the cake closer to my lips as if I was to kiss it – I took a bite that covered everything from the frosting on the top, to the well baked crumbs at the bottom.  And it was damn good!

 

The cake was moist – very moist – and tender.  Which was kinda surprising seeing that it was dense as well.  I could see the tightly packed crumbs, though I have to say that it wasn’t messy to eat.  Yes, the crumbs easily gave way to my bites, but not too much of the sinfully delicious crumbs would fall off.  It actually was a little bit like another one of Sonja Ocampo’s masterpieces – the Vanilla Sunshine – though it sort of has an extra touch of flavor.  Was it a hint of cocoa?  I couldn’t really tell.  Was it the thing that made it so red?  I don’t think so.  Whatever it was, it was enough to really make me go: “Mmmm…”

 

The cake, even the “generous” dollop of cream cheese frosting on top, was prettily and decidedly straightforward.  Long-regarded as one of the ultimate Southern comfort food in the United States, red velvet cake is truly a classic.  And Sonja Ocampo’s version is tops – clearly an excellent demonstration of her baking skills honed in the kitchens of America and home.  I feel so fortunate to be able to partake of Ms. Ocampo’s edible works of art and skill.

 

I brought two boxes to work the following morning to share with two of my closest friends.  Spider-man, long a follower of Bunny Huggers, loved the Red Velvet Vixen as well!  He actually has some sort of a ritual in eating cupcakes.  He finishes up the cream cheese frosting first with his incessant licks.  Once the cake is revealed, he gobbles everything up in a few quick bites!

 

Red Velvet Vixen – it was a tempestuously good cupcake that perfectly presents the sharp contrasts of a deep crimson red cake, the velvety smoothness of a consistent crumb and a light cream cheese frosting, conjuring up images of something (or someone?) that may be sinful for you to have…  but so good you just have to have it!

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The vixen and the cupcake - my good friend, the lovely Hazel Marie Salazar and the red velvet vixen cupcake I gave her!





So looking forward to this – “At the Movies: The Adventures of Batman in Gotham City”

16 01 2009

[By the end of this week, practically every person I’m really close friends with, will have left the country – mostly for good.  It kinda makes me wonder why I myself am not uprooting.]

 

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Just to be clear, I’m not talking about a movie here.  Not even the original motion picture soundtrack of any movie.  But hey, the title does sound like an OST!  It brings to mind the Dave Koz’s “At the movies” CD that Batman gifted me with about a year ago.  Over the holidays, I just learned that when it was released locally, it was picked as a “Top of the heap,” must-have CD by a really respected, established magazine.  I was kinda overjoyed about that.  Now if only someone thought about giving me the wristwatch featured on that same list.  Hahaha!

 

I hope that Batman doesn’t get mad that I’m talking about this here – “At the Movies: The Adventures of Batman in Gotham City”.  Hehehe.

 

As I write, any aircraft flying or that has already flown overhead may have Batman on board.  He had just left for a three-week sojourn in the United States that shall see him spending a week in Gotham City – a most fitting highlight!

 

Over our most recent dinner, I couldn’t help but feel really envious of his trip plans while there!  Traversing the covered walk extending the length from Greenbelt 3 to Greenbelt 5, he started to rattle off the many different landmarks he had put on his short list of must-go-to places.  I don’t want to put them here so as not to totally preempt his blog post (which I’m so totally looking forward to!).  But just for good measure, here is a hint – think “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

 

All I can say is that it is the ultimate list of the most memorable and most significant places in Gotham City that have ever been captured on celluloid!

 

I just couldn’t wait.