The Story Behind Big Al's Cookie Jar and Their Famous Chocolate Cake
Who's Al? And what's with the cookie jar?
(SPOT.ph) If you love dessert or at least have read our Top 10 lists, you’re no doubt familiar with Big Al’s Cookie Jar. They’re best known for their Decadent Chocolate Cake, which has gained a cult following over the years, winning over the taste buds of celebrities and even topping our 2019 Top 10 Chocolate Cake list. If you’ve ever wondered how the brand came about—and what you’ve got to try from them aside from their famous cake—you’ve come to the right place.
The Beginnings of Big Al's Cookie Jar
Owner Joy Del Rosario has been baking since 1992, initially sharing her baked goods with colleagues and friends but barely making a profit. Friends and family encouraged her to start a business, which she did with Big Al’s Cookie Jar in 2004. Del Rosario created the Decadent Chocolate Cake in the same year.
“Back then, people were intrigued to see a cake served in a tin-foil pan—there was nothing like it yet in the market,” says daughter Jamie Del Rosario in an interview with SPOT.ph. “The reason behind the use of the pan was her icing’s consistency, which had to be contained.”
They gained fame through word-of-mouth and their client base grew as the years passed by—so much so that they caught the attention of celebrities and prominent figures in the food industry. Believe it or not, it was only in 2015 that Big Al’s started accepting orders through social media.
Notably, the whole Del Rosario family presently helps in the business, with Jamie and her siblings lending a hand with the baking, packaging, and recipe development. “We all have so much love for this business and the people who have helped us grow it—our employees who have become family, our customers, and our supporters.”
If their Decadent Chocolate Cake (P350/loaf, P650/junior, P1,100/birthday, P1,650/party) is any indication, we can affirm that the hype is real and well-deserved: it’s got a truly moist and decadent cake base with a rich but not-too-sweet layer of chocolate fudge frosting that always, always hits the spot. To this day, they use the same recipe Joy originally came up with. After all, why mess with perfection?
They also offer the Chocolate Caramel Cake (P400/loaf, P750/junior, P1,200/birthday, P1,750/party), which is their famous chocolate topped with a silky and not-too-sweet caramel sauce. Beyond their chocolatey creations, they also make the Butter Caramel Cake (P400/loaf)—a rich butter cake served with caramel sauce.
What’s With The Name?
First off, why Big Al’s? Joy actually took inspiration from the Disney character of the same name, who also happens to share its name with Jamie’s dad. Meanwhile, the “cookie jar” part of the name came from a game her mom played in her childhood, called "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?" The thing is, they originally didn’t actually offer cookies, and only included the said baked goods in their lineup in 2018. “ We have always envisioned selling cookies in jars to live up to the brand’s name, but the demand for our cakes kept increasing, so it took us a while to come up with our cookie jars,” says Jamie. “People were wondering why we did not have cookies; it was in our name, after all.”
Thank heavens they eventually did, because their cookies tick all the right boxes, being soft, chewy, and loaded with chocolate chunks and nuts. There’s the Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Walnut (P350/jar), which Jamie shares has been around since the '90s. They also make a more bare-bones Chocolate Chip (P300/jar) and its nuttier cousin, the Chocolate Chip Macadamia (P350/jar)—both of which are “go-to cookies” that they regularly make and enjoy at home.
While these cookies aren’t the gigantic, thick contenders you see a lot of on social media these days, they’re great examples of classics cookies done right—reliable, old-fashioned, homey sweets that will always please, with or without a glass of milk on the side. And it’s that very quality that makes these treats the kind that will stand the test of time.
Going Beyond the Cookies and Cakes
Previously, one had to fill out an order form—the slots would quickly get full minutes after they open the form—but with the launch of their own website in October, it's now a thing of the past. In the same month, BIg Al's announced that they are finally on GrabFood, making it even easier and more convenient to get your Big Al’s fix.
Coinciding with the launch of their website is the release of their own premium ice cream line (P330/pint), created by Jamie and her fiancé Rap Velasquez (whose family business is sorbetes). Jamie and Rap started making homemade sorbetes in 2018 and even offered customizable sorbetes carts for events, though this has since been discontinued due to the pandemic. "While busy with this, we worked for months to formulate our premium ice cream, reading and learning everything we can about ice cream," says Jamie. "We’re proud to say that we did not base our recipe on an existing one. We tried creating our original mix, and it took a lot of trial and error before we were able to come up with the ice cream we’re selling now."
Their efforts definitely paid off, as their ice cream is on the just-thick-enough side and is as creamy as can be. The short-but-sweet lineup includes Vanilla, Decadent Chocolate, Macadamia, and Espresso flavors—all of which make great meal-enders, or companions to a weekend Netflix binge.
It’s safe to say Big Al’s pretty much excels at everything they offer, making them a reliable choice anytime you need a great-tasting (and reasonably priced!) dessert. We, for one, can’t wait to see what else they’ve got under their sleeves.