There were only a few specific things I wanted to do during our short holiday in the Philippines recently. Apart from of course spending quality time with my family, I planned to buy books (they have big bookstores there unlike here!), visit a cake decorating supplies shop that I've only read about on the web, and lastly, finally taste an Estrel's caramel cake.
I had my brother order a cake in advance for my son's 19th birthday. Our favourite family restaurant, which we booked for the celebration, was only a few blocks away from Estrel's.
We got a 14x20 rectangular cake which turned out to be too big!
My verdict? The cake was beautiful as expected, the chiffon really soft as it should be and the caramel icing smooth and creamy. However, there was nothing spectacular with it at all. I am not a fan of anything too sweet but to me, both cake and icing were very bland. Being called a caramel cake actually seems to be a misnomer as there is very little, if at all, a caramel taste in the icing. As you can see in the photo, the colour is rather pale, suggesting that the sugar wasn't caramelized very much.
Would I eat it again? Probably, although it is not something I would crave for or look forward to when I go back to the Philippines in the future. Having said that though, I would still choose this cake over a fondant covered cake (even with the most impressive decorations) anytime! Being very old-fashioned, with it's smoothly poured icing and with each buttercream rose beautifully piped out, is I think, what primarily draws people to buying it again and again.
Would I say my version of the caramel cake is close? Yes, though a tad sweeter. Is it better? Hmmm. Don't want to claim that out loud....
Anyway, I had a chance to make a caramel cake for a birthday a few days ago. I purposedly cut some of the sugar from the icing just to see if it would become as pale as my son's cake. It still turned out darker!
As far as the look is concerned, am I getting close? Afterall, it's been more than 2 years since I started experimenting on this cake!