Disclaimer: This is the full feature from The Royal Chef column on Edge Davao.
Some things never change. Despite the years, I always associate the Queen city of the South to a slice of moist banana cake. Weird, right? But, since I can recall, my palate has had the most delicious banana cake experience in Cebu (Thank you, Cafe Georg). Hence, to me and my palate, Cebu will always be my personal banana cake capital.
Davao is also big on bananas. Being a major producer, you’d surely be in awe of the many dishes in the city that makes use of the banana. Like Cebu, we also have a number of bakeshops that serves an array of sweet banana creations. The likes of cakes, loaves, cupcakes and even breads to satisfy one’s craving for potassium on any given day is made readily available.
Banana cake or loaf is one of the simplest cakes one can ever create. Though simple, personally, I love that this cake is very versatile that you can add, mix and match and of course, layer a variety of ingredients for a more textured finished. Indeed, the option is endless. All you need is the imagination to make it happen.
Mashed or pureed ripe banana, all purpose flour, sugar, eggs, butter and baking soda – is your basic banana bread (loaf) recipe. Can also be your basic banana cupcake recipe. Personally, I love adding slices of pineapples (chunks), julienned carrots (squeeze out the juice) or raisins. At times, I experiment with local tablea, pure chocolate liqueur or slices of dates for a more textured taste. Not to mention the many kinds of nuts I add for that additional crunch.
My recent trip to Cebu rekindled my cravings as soon as we landed. It was that or me going to one of their crafts store and spending hours inside. We took the lesser evil and opted to buy some banana breads or cakes or loaves – whatever suits your preference. Without the luxury of time, I asked the locals for suggestions. They gave me 3 (the third was Cafe Georg, of course).
First stop, Abaca Baking Company (www.theabacagroup.com/abaca-baking-company). One, if not, the best looking cafe I’ve been to in the past months. It’s laidback vibe will surely grow on you like skin on your bones and body fats. Inside, you’d be in awe of the many artisan breads on display. Good thing our dear friend, Cocoi, did the ordering for us. On the other hand, I ended with 3 types of loaves in my suitcase. Their chocolate loaf is densely moist. Their carrot cake is something you’d want to keep inside your bag on any given day. Of course, their banana loaf is one for the books – fragrant, sweet and light on the tongue. Too bad I only got one of each.
Second stop before our flight back was Leona’s Cakes & Pastries. Like ABC (abacabakingcompany), they too have a wide selection of sweets on display. Unlike ABC, theirs is more traditional. Their Choco-Banana Loaf is fragrantly enticing. That instant whiff of chocolate and banana is reason enough to indulge more than a slice. On the other hand, their Carrot cake loaf is an addition to my list of faves. It’s sweet yet savoury and very moist. Perfect for a cup of tea. And yes, they too made their way onto my suitcase.
In Davao, I’ve not had the opportunity to go around and thus ended with anything I can find in malls. NCCC Mall has a bakeshop that serves a wide selection of breads, cakes and pastries. Of course, I opted for their banana cake slice. It’s refreshingly soft and flavourful. Not too pungent, you’d taste the banana in every bite. What’s more, you’d love that it’s classic and very traditional.
On another note, Bread Living at the SM City Davao has 2 banana loaves that lured me in an instant.
Their Banana cake with Chocolate chips is something I’d take on a trip with. It’s sweet, yes, but not too overly sweet. The addition of chocolate chips is a refreshing take on this classic favourite. The other one was their Banana Loaf which is very typical of a banana cake or bread. It’s pungent, yes, but with just the right amount of sweetness. I love that its sweetness is subtle and does not overpower your palate.
So, what’s next on my food hunt trip?
Want to know my latest food finds? Follow me on Instagram @iamleebai and I’ll make you hungry in a snap. For missed features, you can read them on my blog theroyalchefeats.wordpress.com.
Happy munching, #royalistas!