Charley B's Favorite Cupcakes

Amidst the cupcake craze that's hit the metro, one cupcake haunt continues to lead the pack: Cupcakes by Sonja at Serendra, The Fort.

Credit cupcake queen Sonja Ocampo for starting the infiltration of these stylized miniature cakes into the Philippines where even donut stores, grocery bakeshops, and even Starbucks have begun selling their own versions of these hand-eaten edibles. But it is Sonja's down home cupcake favorites - all available at her Serendra storefront, Cupcakes by Sonja - and inventive flavor combinations that have set her apart from every other cupcake wielding baker.



What I love about Sonja's cupcakes is her use of topnotch ingredients in all her little creations; she prides herself in using mostly imported ingredients - from the butter that's whipped into a flurry, to her cream that bedecks some of her miniature cakes, to the chocolate that's mixed into some of her more well-known favorites, like her Flourless Chocolate cupcake and Red Velvet Vixen.

It may be the use of these high quality ingredients which adds to the denseness and firmness of these cupcakes; the cupcakes in her store are no fluffy, light-as-air cakes - save that for your favorite ensaymada or butter cake. With each mouthful, Sonja's cupcakes pack a powerful, flavorful, rich bite - very similar to how cupcakes are in the U.S., my favorites coming from Sprinkles in L.A. or Sweet Mandy B's in Chicago. In Sprinkles and Sweet Mandy B's, the cupcakes are mighty and rich - there's no such thing as scrimping on flavor or texture, and in Cupcakes by Sonja, that rule is happily followed too.

Here's a rundown of my favorite craveable cupcakes at Cupcakes by Sonja:

1) Red Velvet Vixen (P65) - Who'd ever think that a recipe that was created in the South could be so darn sexy? Sonja does her own twist to this Gone with the Wind classic, and its outcome is a cupcake that's playful, sexy, and downright lustful. Don't be turned off by the brightness of the red cake, its eye-catching color is its first step to lure you in to what lies behind its exterior: cream cheese swirls dusted with cocoa and piled high atop a cocoa dense cake, mildly tasting like a white chocolate base. But no, it's milk chocolate through and through in a bright little package.

2) Banana Monkey Cream Pie (P85) - In a land where banoffee pie seems to be the current craze, Sonja's Banana Monkey Cream Pie stands true to the old-fashioned simplicity of combining three basic ingredients found in every kitchen: bananas, cream, and nuts. The buttery pecan cookie crunch of the crust, the lightness of the whipped cream, and the just right sweetness of the bananas combined with a dose of caramel makes this a light, craveable little thing. A pie in a cup, is more the description for this 'no monkey business' creation. It tastes just like how grandma makes it.

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3) Berries 'n Cream (P75) - Sonja claims this is one of her all-time favorites, and I concur; it's one of mine too. It's not hard to taste why this particular creation hits the spot: brown butter added into a mildly crunchy almond cake mixture gives this cupcake a little chewy kick. Add in some fresh strawberries and whipped cream icing, and this cupcake becomes heaven on a cake. There's no fooling the taste buds here: every ingredient meshes into a flavorful merry berry dance that'll have you down to the last crumb.

Cupcakes by Sonja is located at Serendra Plaza, Ground level, Mckinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio Global City. For orders and more information, please call 856-0308.

Images by Charley Bautista

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