Posted in Restaurant Hopping, Sweets for the Sweet

In Which the Desserts Were Divinely Decadent…

You'd be mad to say no.
You’d be mad to say no.

This is what happens when you end a lovely meal, but feel the need for something sweet with which to finish it properly: you ask for the menu, you pore over it with your dining companions, then pick something that you could all share.  Under ordinary circumstances, you’d be torn between getting something light but toothsomely sweet.  However, if you had to wait for a table for the better part of nearly two hours and it’s already pushing half-past nine in the evening, best to make the most out of things and pick out the two most tempting confections amongst the dessert offerings.

At Cafe Mary Grace, there is no shortage of such sugary glories.  You have the classic ensaimadas, those buttery coils of brioche dough, smothered with cream, sugar, and a snowfall of cheese.  There are cheese rolls: something like abbreviated ensaimadas, but every bit as rich and as gloriously calorific.  And there are the cakes: oh, and such cakes!

Caramel Vanilla Bean Cake
Caramel Vanilla Bean Cake

The caramel-vanilla bean cake is a fluffy treat that was introduced as a Mother’s Day special for this year.  Here, layers of soft vanilla bean-speckled chiffon cake\ are layered with luscious ribbons of a house-made dulce de leche which, surprisingly, isn’t too sweet.  The flavours are beautifully balanced and the lush vanilla bean buttercream that covers the whole thing brings all the elements together into a deliciously rich yet surprisingly light dessert.  A cup of milky English Breakfast or, just to add a citrusy counterpoint, a lemony Earl Grey would not come amiss with this.

Share my chocolate cake?!?  Are you mad?!?!
Share my chocolate cake?!? Are you mad?!?!

The second dessert was a rather plain-looking slab of chocolate cake.  But what it lacked in looks, it certainly more than made up for in taste and texture!

If, like me, you grew up during the 1980s/1990s, you’re probably familiar with the lush chocolate-caramel cake from the now defunct Kookie Monster Bakeshop.  Mary Grace’s spin on chocolate cake will certainly bring back happy, glowing memories for you: a dense, gloriously moist chocolate cake; its layers sandwiched with a gooey, rich, absolutely gorgeous and golden caramel filling; the whole cake smothered to the gills with an almost-chewy textured chocolate fudge frosting.  The utterly rich chocolate cake melts in your mouth quite sensually, pleasantly unctuous and gorgeously bittersweet.  The frosting and the filling make it even more so.

If, like some of my friends, you’re a fan of Besotted, that song by The Desert Wolves, you may recall that there’s a line in the song about sharing one’s chocolate cake.  Seriously, if it were this cake, you’d be hard-pressed to share and may be tempted into wanting it all for yourself.  Indeed, my brother and I agree that it’s the sort of cake that deserves a round of applause once you’ve wolfed down every last crumb; yes, it is that good.

Black Velvet
Black Velvet

There is actually a variation on two themes on the dessert menu, a hybrid of sorts between the chocolate cake and a standard-issue red velvet called a black velvet.  Here, the dense chocolate cake is frosted and filled with a tangy, somewhat lemony cream-cheese icing and dolloped with a border of chocolate ganache.

One bite will mess with your head and make you think you were eating a decadent sort of chocolate candy bar rather than plain cake: lush, a little chewy, bittersweet, with an appealing tang.


And, of course, any chocolate cake demands to be eaten with a milky mug of coffee.  Whether it’s a latte, a macchiato, or even an old-school cappuccino, it’s a fantastic combination and a spectacular end to one’s meal.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

One thought on “In Which the Desserts Were Divinely Decadent…

  1. I’m fascinated by the sound of the ensaimadas that you’re describing. We had them in Mallorca but they were quite different. Very light and airy and coiled but not brioche. I wonder if there are other versions? We loved them so much! 😀

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