By Dolly Dy-Zulueta / Photos by Raffy Zulueta
DAYS pass so quickly when it’s the Love Month of February. But it just isn’t complete with all those sweet treats that add even more sweetness and romance to already beautiful relationships between sweethearts and married couples. Chocolates and cakes to go with those lovely bouquets…. It’s magic! How about chocolates and cakes in one? Or a cake whose name alone speaks volumes about just how sweet a love can be?
Sugarhouse, a specialty cake shop that has, through the years, evolved into a coffee shop that also serves meals, offers a line of cakes that are beyond the usual commercial cakes one finds in commercial bakeshop chains. It has only seven stores spread out across Metro Manila, so it has managed to keep the novelty and the no-compromise quality of its cakes and pastries. Topping the list of best sellers at Sugarhouse are Chocolate Truffle Cake, French Apple Pie and Marjolaine Cake.
Chocolate Truffle Cake offers the ultimate chocolate cake experience, because it is layers of chocolate chiffon cake generously filled and covered with chocolate buttercream icing with a hint of coffee flavor. It comes in a whole 8-inch cake, a petite cake, a baby cake that couples out on a date can share, and in a slice, in case the dating couple finds sharing a slice of cake more romantic.
Sugarhouse’s French Apple Pie is perhaps one of the best in the metro. Using eight apples in an 8-inch pie, it has generous chunks of apples mixed with butter, sugar and cinnamon for its filling, framed in a delicious butter crust and grated cheese on its crumble topping. Aside from the usual 8-inch pie, it also comes in a 4-inch sugar-free variant, and the á la carte menu offers it in slices.
Also a best-seller is Marjolaine, which is a lighter chocolate version of sans rival. It is four layers of crunchy meringue brushed with chocolate then layered with whipped cream, topped with chocolate, outlined with whipped cream and studded with chopped cashew nuts. It comes in the usual 8-inch cake, is available in individual slices for dine-in and has a sugar-free version for those who want to avoid a sugar overload.
Speaking of sans rival, the bakeshop serves its own gourmet version, which is Almond Sans Rival, which has almond slices all over instead of the usual chopped cashew nuts. Just recently, it also introduced its new Coffee Sans Rival, so there’s lots of flavors to choose from.
Other delightful cakes available at Sugarhouse include Concorde, which is three layers of vanilla chiffon cake filled with chocolate mousse and lined with chocolate meringue sticks; Blueberry Cheesecake, which packs in all the goodness of cream cheese with a refreshing blueberry topping; and Honey Cake, light vanilla chiffon filled with light buttercream and sprinkled all around with honey crunch. The latter’s name alone already connotes sweetness and romance.
Although there are so many bakeshops around the Metro today, people who love cakes still head to Sugarhouse for their sugar rush, because it has maintained the taste and quality of its products through the years. When it opened its first store in Makati City in 1983, the little cake shop instantly captured a niche market and, so, it had to open more stores due to popular demand, but it kept its expansion plans slow and modest because it wanted to keep its intimate nature intact and did not want to compromise the quality of its food and service.
Still the favorite bakeshop of its original patrons and their families and continuously being “discovered” by more dessert lovers, Sugarhouse has been able to develop an extensive menu of delicious savory dishes. This includes soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, all-day breakfasts and rice meals to go with its already popular desserts, breads and cookies.
So, whether you’re having a Valentine date complete with a full meal or just hanging around and enjoying a good slice of cake with coffee, Sugarhouse beckons.