The thought of having to eat more than 10 cakes made us quesy, to say the least, so we decided to limit the candidates to the following parameters: plain chocolate cake with plain icing. The Cookie Monster cake of yore. Custard inside icing allowed. Our benchmark: Polly Garilao's popular chocolate cake. We trimmed down the list from a high of 20 to a more digestible number of 10.
As a disclaimer, I personally like gooey gooey gooey chocolate cakes....the type that sticks to the roof of your mouth, smears your teeth, and smudges your napkin. The kind that unabashedly screams "chocolate" and "lots of it", with no finesse whatsoever. Pretty cakes are obviously appealing, but there is something so decadent (that word again!) about chocolate that makes a gooey mass/mess a turn-on. In my opinion, at least. :) But, as all tastes differ, that night, 19 souls sat down for the great Chocolate Cake Showdown.
So, our candidates:
2. Wine Club ~ P575. / 8" Round Aguirre St., Legaspi Village, Makati Tel. # 893-7784
This cake literally paled in comparison, as its light brown buttercream icing looked anaemic among all the deep dark chocolatey colors. The buttercream icing also was very different from the fudge and ganache icings that night, in terms of texture (silkier and not gooey) and flavor (definitely less intense in chocolate). That being said, the cake itself was great....moist and flavorful.
3. Diimpy Camara's Chocolate Cake ~ P400. / 9' x 9' Dasmarinas Village Makati Tel # 843-8086
Dimpy Camara, of Frozen Brazo fame, also makes a deadly chocolate cake. This cake comes with a caramel sauce which only makes it EVEN better. Apologies for the unflattering blue glare (coming from Old Swiss Inn's stained glass window). A plain, square, gooey chocolate cake. Good stuff!
4. Chocolat's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake ~ P400. / 8" P427. G/F Llanar Bldg. 77 Xavierville Ave., Loyola Heights, QC Tel. # 928-9304
This cake was the only cake with MATTE chocolate icing. Not really sure if matte icing worked to its advantage. While it did look like a lusciously gooey cake (the icing was irregulary slathered, as if consciously trying to avoid the manicured looks of a store-bought cake), I must admit, in my opinion, the matte icing looked less attractive than the glossy, fudgy icings. However, as this was nominated by several people, we thought that it had to be included in our line-up.
5. Rosanna Baron ~ P500. / 9" Round La Vista Subdivision Tel. # 928-4118
This cake looked like the epitome of a gooey chocolate cake. Thick swirls of chocolate fudge icing haphazardly crowning this cake promised an even more luscious inside.
6. CALEA - Bacolod
Bacolod's entry was a 2 layered dense chocolate cake topped with a lighter fudge icing and an almost frozen-like cream center. In fact, after 30 minutes in room temperature, the icing began to ooze most attractively down the cake.
7. Med Chef's Moist Chocolate Cake ~ P650. / 10" Dome shape Q.C. - also available in Legaspi Market (Sundays) 0918-3596538
8. Karen Young's Chocolate Ganache Cake ~ P700. / 8" Round Karen’s Kitchen (KEY Specialty Foods) 428 Adalla St. Palm Village, Makati 898-2280
Rich ganache icing made this stand out. Had great icing:cake ratio. And decorated beautifully as well!
9. Polly's Chocolate Cake tel # -401- 4588 ~ P220. / 8" Round Merville Subdivision, Bicutan Also available in Shell Magallanes
Pretty maids, all in a row. Thanks Arg Camacho, for the photo!
Judges had to alternate between chocolate cake and "palate cleansers" of sausages, pork knuckles, and other salty fare. We didn't want chocolate fatigue to set in too early.