La Preciosa's Carrot Cake

Friday, January 16, 2015

You know a place's carrot cake is special when it's the reason why people come back to Ilocos. Or that in the menu, they have the guts to call theirs 'the best.' 

Such is he charm, or maybe the greatness, of La Preciosa's carrot cake. If I'm not mistaken, these are made using the late Madame Preciosa's recipe which she has passed onto her children. I've already tasted great carrot cakes before, and I know that this is great in its own way. 

The last time I had a carrot cake as good was when I munched on Everyday Mom's carrot cake. The cake was moist, had a thick and velvety red velvet frosting on top, and was tasty. This cake, while different in some aspects, tastes great anyways. 

The cakes just look very clean and simple while in the fridge. In fact, some are even frosted unevenly. 

But the moment it's time to serve them, it's showtime as a generous portion of fresh carrot shavings are sprinkled onto the cake, giving it its vibrant color. 

The cake has a following, for a few reasons which I think make it the legendary cake it is.

 For one, the cake is very very moist. Even after it's put in the fridge, it's still very moist. Another is that the cake has the right sweetness, and just the right amount of cinnamon for Pinoys' taste. In fact, I'm not even sure if there's cinnamon or that its warm spice taste is coming from molasses. I dunno, but based from experience, cakes that have too much cinnamon or are too dense don't do well with Pinoys. This cake has just the right density to please most taste buds. You most definitely will not call this a sponge cake, but this also isn't the dense kind of cakes you cover up with fondant and use to choke your adversaries. I think the density does weigh in a lot because no one likes a cake that's rock hard, and that it also isn't a wholly pleasant experience to eat such a dense cake given how it 'gets stuck' in the throat. It's also more on the crumbly side than the chewy side. 

As for the frosting, it's good, but I must say that it focuses more on the buttercream part of the icing rather than the cream cheese part most people have in their carrot cakes. I think that they're able to keep prices this low because their frosting is not banked on cream cheese. For the people who reeaally just need cream cheese in their lives, maybe this isn't the kind of cake for you. But if not, I think that they've got a good buttery and creamy frosting to adorn their cakes. Overall, frosting included, the cake just has the right sweetness as the frosting is just about 1/4 inch (or I'm not exactly sure how thick, but it's relatively thin). 

Up close, I think it becomes more apparent about what I'm saying that it's more on the crumbly side and that the frosting is slathered thinly. I think it's also apparent how much cheaper the cost of living is in the province given how generous their carrot shavings are.  

In one sitting we (5 people) consume almost 2/3 of this cake. Had it not been that I just came from a bout of tonsillitis, this remaining slice would be waaaaay smaller than it is. 

We were determined to take the goodness of Ilocos home which is why we ordered cakes and placed it in this cooler bag. Since the flight we took was quite empty, there was an empty seat between me and my brother's seat so we strapped this baby down to keep it safe on the way home. 

This size of cake I talked about costs Php300, but they also have a Php 500 square cake, and a Php950 large rectangle cake (approximately bond paper size) or a tall 8 inch diameter round cake. 

And interestingly, I found out through their Facebook page that they offer their carrot cakes in Manila via pre order. My dad thinks that they must be just baking the cake here and selling it for a premium (as they sell the small cake for Php400), but my mom and I were thinking that for one, it's not easy to bring in a lot of baking equipment to Manila (given that their hub is in Laoag), and that if they had their baking equipment here, I think that they would also be able to offer their larger cakes. We have a feeling that they only offer their small cakes for purchase in Manila because it's the easiest to bring from Ilocos, and the relatively low prices (I mean come on where are you going to find a 6 inch carrot cake with buttercream icing and carrot shavings in Manila for Php300-400) make it attractive to most customers, especially to those who are trying out the cake for the first time. 

The carrot cake, overall, is really good, and definitely it's not just some overrated item only with good marketing. It really has its merits, and relative to the price, it's too good that I wonder how they make a profit from it. I actually am hoping as early as now that I could be able to order a carrot cake for my birthday in April hahaha.

My only suggestion for them is to make this in cupcake form too so that making this a pasalubong can be easier. It's less of a hassle to eat when there are no utensils and plates needed, and if they already come in bite sized pieces. And I do think that it'll even be easier to appeal to people who just want to try the cake if they can try it in something as small as a cupcake. I'm thinking that either no one has told them yet, or that they know they can do it but are afraid of compromising the cake's moistness as to why there's none...   

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