Considering how frequently I work with chocolate, the idea of using tablea – those chunky tablets of unsweetened chocolate used to make Spanish-style hot chocolate – for baking is something that’s crossed my mind. However, actually using the stuff is something I rarely do. Whenever I do encounter places that actually serve tablea-based baked goods, I’m always quite impressed.
Case in point is the tablea cake from Tsoko.Nut Batirol. On the outside, it pretty much looks like any other chocolate cake ever served in a specialty cafe. But move in closer and take a sniff of the cake before you sink your fork into the darkness: it smells somewhat different. The scent is the almost-peanutty aroma characteristic of hot chocolate brewed the old-fashioned way, almost like the smell of almonds roasting.
The ganache used to cover and decorate the cake and the plate it’s on also tastes different. There are none of the caramel / vanilla undertones intrinsic to classic bakeshop chocolate frosting. Instead, you get a hint of woodsmoke and toasted cashew. The taste is rather pleasant, but probably not everyone’s cup of tea.
The cake is dry-textured, though the core retains some level of moisture, and has the same smoky flavor. That said, I am of the opinion that it would be better used for a Filipino take on classic Austrian Sachertorte: the dry layers could be helped by getting sandwiched with mango jam rather than the apricot or raspberry conserve used in the original cake.
Still, it’s quite good. I just wish the shop would rethink the method by which it’s served.