Monday, June 29, 2009

Have your cake and eat it... literally

I love cake. But in recent times, I feel that it's getting more and more difficult to find cakes that really wow me. Most of the cafes persist in serving gargantuous hunks of ultra rich and cloyingly sweet cakes that score high on the jelak scale. On the other end of the spectrum, there are cakes that are so dry and unsophisticated that I feel it's a waste to allocate calories to them. On top of the unpalatable experience, you're often left with a bill that matches the size of the cake.

It's no wonder that I started making my own cupcakes.

So it was a pleasant surprise when we stumbled upon Pine Garden bakery in Ang Mo Kio while we were visiting my aunt. This is not my kampong so I didn't know that this little heartland bakery had been winning the hearts of food critics from major print and tv media, as well as foodies.

What caught my eye most was the unusual selection of cakes. When was the last time you came across a HDB bakery with tantalising concoctions like Orange Apricot Blossom Cake, Brandy Cherry Cake, Creme Caramel Crunch Cake and Bird's Nest Cake? At 8.30pm, the little nondescript shop was doing a bustling business, dishing out slices and taking orders for whole cakes.

I picked out four and mind you, it was no easy task deciding what to get! They all looked so delectable.

Citrus Drop Cake - lemon sponge cake with lemon curd layers. I bought this with Lesley-Anne in mind, as she loves anything sour or tangy. She lapped it up although she says she still prefers Temptations' cheesecake. Andre took a taste and wanted more!

Cocotero - vanilla sponge cake with coconut custard pudding layers, topped with coconut strips. I'm not a fan of coconut but I used to be crazy over Seah Street Deli's Coconut Cream Cake and haven't been able to find even a remotely close replacement since they stopped making it. This one is still not like Seah Street Deli's but it's pleasant. The coconut custard tastes exactly like coconut agar agar which I'm sure would sit well with locals.

Lychee Martini Cake - lychee cake with martini-soaked lychee filling. This is (as we found out later), one of Pine Garden's signature cakes. The sponge is light yet moist and the lychee filling is very strong and creamy. Kenneth was quite impressed.

Pulut Hitam Cake - sponge cake with pulut hitam mousse layers, topped with pulut hitam. I left this to last because this is hands down my favourite. I love pulut hitam and having it cold on a cake in mousse form is just heavenly. The pulut hitam on top complements the taste perfectly and what I like best is that it isn't overly sweet. Believe it when I tell you that after I'd finished the slice, I craved for another! Best cake I've tasted in a long time.

Apart from the fancier creations, Pine Garden also offers the usual favourites like black forest, strawberry cream cake, tiramisu and kaya cake. According to reviews, their Cat Mountain King Durian Cake is to die for, but they weren't selling it by the slice the night we were there.

Forgive the pun but the icing on the cake was the price. Each of these slices only costs about $2.50 - high end cafe quality at HDB bakery prices! Maybe it's lucky I don't live in the Ang Mo Kio vicinity, otherwise I'll be getting real fat on cake.

22 comments:

Lilian said...

Wahhh, your cake pictures very nice leh...quite the food photographer now eh LOL! The cakes really look scrumptious, price relatively reasonable too.

After phototaking lesson and Russian trivia lesson, here's a bit of Malay patois lesson, it's Jelak, not Jelat.

Anonymous said...

oh u were in my neck of the woods! so, i've bn buying their Black Forest cakes for years. really one of the bestest around!

rgds - kjj

monlim said...

Lilian: hahaha, I think I've been spelling Malay words wrongly for the longest time! Ok, will change it.

JJ: Alamak! Can I tompang you to get more of the pulut hitam one for me? So craving it now...

monlim said...

PS Lilian, re: photography, I learn from the best! Your tips are very helpful.

breve1970 said...

Wow... the cakes look so heavenly. I LURVE CAKES.. the lychee martini looks temptingly delicious. And what? They have creme caramel cake too.... this can't be true.

Must, must go and check it out. BTW, the girls are quarantined at home till Thursday. Yup, holiday extended. We got back from Bintan last week.:)

monlim said...

Ann: actually quarantine quite good right, Kenneth and I were just saying maybe we should have deliberately visited those countries :D

Yes the cakes are stupendous! If you have the chance, you should try some. I wouldn't mind being quarantined with a whole lot of these LOL!

Alcovelet said...

Mon, you donch like that leh. We just finished this bake-off, and now I look at your pics and feel unsated all over again!

Ok, cut to the chase - got address or not? We go to AMK often for tuition, so what's a gal to do whilst waiting for the kid? Oh, oh, the Pulut Hitam one is giving me the eye ...

monlim said...

Ad: it's Blk 529 AMK Ave 10. Eat and post! If I can't have my cake, I can torture myself looking at yours...

elan said...

I want! I want! I want! *drool*

I haven't tried Pine Garden before although I heard so much about it. Now I must definitely find some excuse to go to AMK (looks too greedy to just go for cakes)hehe.

I usually buy most birthday cakes from Emicakes. They are really very good especially the premium durian, premium mango and chocolate addiction ones and the best part is that they deliver. There is also Choc-a-lot in Bedok for what else chocolate cakes.
Have you tried them?

Elan

monlim said...

Elan: Yes, I've tried the famous durian cake from Emicakes, it's very good but sooo pricey! I've also tried the brownie from Choc-a-lot but thought it was only so-so. But they have a large selection of choc cakes, maybe I picked the wrong one...

Anonymous said...

Mon, these pictures were well taken!! The cakes look so delicious! Pulut Hitam is one of my favourite too. I usually steamed the black glutinous rice 1st than cooked with gula melaka, served with chilled thick coconut milk dressing....hmmmm... *think I go soak some black glutinous rice now*

Thanks for the lobang for the Pine Garden cake shop, will pop by one of this day before picking my dd up from school.

Chris

monlim said...

Chris, Chris, you are making me so hungry!! Think I'll pop by the dessert shop later...

Anonymous said...

Aiyoh my dear Mon, can you put a BIG warning sign on your blog that says NOT TO READ THIS AT NITE? Now my poor tummy is drumming badly...

Bad bad...

SC

monlim said...

LOL!! I'm worse than you, just now couldn't tahan anymore - bought a huge tub of pulut hitam from the coffee shop and ate the whole thing all by myself. Bah...

Anonymous said...

Ok Mon,now for the sinful sharing...I bought 10 different types of flavour, all of your recommendations plus 6 more! Gosh..how to control weight like that? And how can you recall all the names? Let me try....black forest? tiramisu? brandy cherry? lava flow brandy cherry? xxxx, xxxx....memory failure occurs.. LOL

My next trip there, I will find a way to send some to you.... :)

qx

monlim said...

WHAAAT??? I WANT!!!! Must share which ones you like ok? Though goodness knows when I'll ever be in that neighbourhood again...

Hehe, I don't have a fantastic memory lah... I took one of their flyers!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...I am totally intoxicated!! All the liquor ones(martini, brandy, baileys...) appeal to me plus the pulul hitam one(special)! Just remember another name is bailey's choc....now left one more name to recall..... You are definitely smarter to take their flyer... LOLLLL...

Sl.......u....rrrrrrrrp...Burrrrrrp...satisfying. Thanks! :)

qx

monlim said...

QX: Did you really eat all 10??? I'm guessing you shared and tasted all with your family lah, haha! Now you can sleep well, slightly maboh :D Did you get the Orange Zest choc one? That looked really interesting too.

The Chengs said...

Eh, I live in AMK. Can PM me the Blk number if not convenient to mention on the blog? (Altho' what's the secret, except to lengthen the queues at the shop...yucks!).

monlim said...

Chengs: I already gave the address in one of earlier comments.

The Chengs said...

okie...got it...i kept trying to find it in the comments but somehow my eyes...*sigh* didn't see!

Anonymous said...

Mon, ya I quite maboh yesterday...have not tried all flavours yet, almost there, started with the liquor ones and enjoyed it with a friend. Today my child took the black forest and the double choc?(that must be the last name that I was fuzzy about) and I took some bits to try. Generally, the 口感 (the fluffiness and lightness) is very good for all the cakes and it's not too sweet. Also, whatever flavour they make for the cake, it tastes very true to its original ingredients, somewhat not tainted in the mixing process. They have quite alot of varieties, have left the orange zest and the raspberry one for the next trial... :P Sinful euphoria....

qx

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