Many of us take comfort in sweet food. Have you ever wondered why? I have read somewhere that people innately gravitate towards sweet or salty food and whichever flavor of comfort food we prefer is influenced by our genes, environment, and experiences.
After reading that article, I came-up with a not so scientific and maybe not so original theory that most people love sweet comfort food because we have always been treated to candies and chocolates as rewards when we were little kids. Of course, there are more scientific reasons like, for instance, chocolates, which according to studies boost the production of serotonin, a chemical that averts depression.
As for me, I find comfort in sweet food because it refreshes my mouth, especially if followed by a glass of water. I may have a sweet tooth, but my tonsils cannot tolerate very sweet desserts. It’s fine with me, though, because very sweet treats leave a bitter aftertaste.
I think the key to comfort sweets is striking the balance. And this is what Estrel’s has perfected over 66 years of baking.
Les wanted this cake for our parents’ 31st wedding anniversary. I protested because commuting from Quezon City to Taguig with a big, heavy box of cake is not a good idea. But then I relented because I wanted to bring something new to the table, far different from the beautifully decorated 70 percent icing and 30 percent cake from default chains like Goldilocks and Red Ribbon (the latter being better than the former).
Giving in to my sister’s request was good because I was able to eat as much slices as I pleased and it was a hit among our visitors! Why won't it be? The caramel icing and filling had a controlled sweetness that went perfectly with the fluffy chiffon cake. The balanced and complementing flavors toned down the overwhelming sweetness found in most mass-made cakes and made the gustatory experience gratifying.
Another thing that made Estrel’s different is that it does not sacrifice taste and quality over aesthetics. But it does not sacrifice aesthetics either. Its cakes have soft flower icings made of butter. It also has intricate lace-patterned icing. That’s neat and dainty for a cake. The caramel cakes come in rectangles, circles and hearts and could be customized for different occasions.
The 8 x 12 rectangular cake (P900) we had was consumed on the day of the celebration, which was good. Its shelf life is only good for two days since it contains no preservatives.
Estrel’s little shop is located in an unassuming corner on Scts. Tobias and Limbaga. It may not be a polished and glitzy store but it sure carries a mysterious aura that silently screams “come discover a secret treat.”
Inside, the store is filled with customers enchanted by the taste of Estrel’s caramel cakes and other baked goodies and the stream of people never stops. Cake boxes go out the door and are replaced by more boxes from the kitchen. I got a glimpse of the yard and house of the family when a staff opened the back door to bring in more cakes. I must say that this truly is a family tradition well taken care of.
And speaking of staff, they are very helpful. They offer to carry the box to the customers’ cars or cabs. They also do a wonderful job in making everything inside organized amid the number of people picking up cakes and placing orders.
If you would place orders, I suggest that you do it through phone because the line inside the store tends to be long. Also do it days before you need it. You may check www.estrels.com for the menu and price list. In my case, I phoned in my order and was given the option to pay through Banco de Oro. I called the store again to confirm my payment and they just asked a few information from the deposit slip. That’s it.
Aside from the fact that Estrel’s is tucked a little bit off the busy Timog and Tomas Morato Avenues, its caramel cakes are worth the trip. With Estrel’s on the table, making special occasions and random days more memorable is a piece of cake.
Estrel’s Caramel Cakes
54 Sct. Tobias cor Sct. Limbaga Streets
Laging Handa, Quezon City
372-2965 or 371-7938