One of my favorite Gary Larson doodles from The Far Side is the one where Marie Antoinette is being led to the guillotine while shouting, “Ice cream! I said ‘Let them eat cake – and ice cream!”
While it is highly doubtful if this statement would have made any difference in saving that debauched queen’s life, the combination of cake and ice cream is a classic known and enjoyed in varying combinations virtually everywhere in the civilized world.
Growing up in the Philippines, I actually experienced the concept of having an ice cream cake on my seventh birthday. At the time, Magnolia was introducing the product to the local market and it was, essentially, several flavors of ice cream sculpted together to form stuff like fancily decorated cakes or, in the case of the one I got, a wee carousel. Alas, the idea didn’t quite fly and it was off local shelves towards the mid-1980s. Nevertheless, companies still tried to do the whole cake-and-ice-cream combo.
So far, the Korean dairy company Binggrae is the one that has produced the most commercially viable cake-and-ice cream hybrid. The Pangtoa is the literal and physical translation of an idea that’s been knocking around for ages. A slab of ice cream is neatly sandwiched between two thin slices of cake – totally simple, no frills, and surprisingly tasty for a mass-market thing.
The Pangtoa is currently available in three flavors: vanilla cheesecake, cookies-and-cream (vanilla sponge sandwiching cookies-and-cream ice cream), and the flavor I found at a nifty wee stall called Korea House over at the Galleon Food Avenue in Makati – chocolate chiffon.
Two thin slices of fluffy chocolate chiffon cake encase a filling of chocolate ice milk (a creamy but still dairy-based sub for ice cream only with less butterfat) dotted with chocolate chips. It makes for a rather hefty dessert and actually works well on its own as afternoon tea because you get equal amounts of stodge and silkiness from the combination of the cake and the ice milk.
I do wish it were even a tad chocolatier, though; but since it’s priced so competitively (P 50.00 – same as the overrated Magnum), who’s complaining? Besides, compared to that ice cream bar that’s more or less polarized the local consumer public into two opposing camps, I certainly find it more satisfying.