So said Marie Antoinette, the first part; I added in the macaron bit. (Although, according to historical records, there’s no evidence she uttered those words). Anyway it’s not just Marie Antoinette who loved cakes (and I’m sure she loved macarons too). I love them as well and there’s one particular cake which I’ve a penchant for. It’s the Lamington. I first had it in Australia many years back and fell in love with it. For those not in the know, Lamington originated from Australia, and it’s a sponge cake coated with chocolate and covered with desiccated coconut, both of which are favorites of mine.
Lately I’ve tried the Lamington cake at a few locations and I’m disappointed to announce that none of them meet my expectations. The first one was at Dimbulah Coffee at Raffles Place. To be honest I didn’t have high hopes as I had it a couple of years back at another outlet and found the sponge cake too dry. This time I thought I would give it another chance, and it turned out that there hasn’t been any improvement! So don’t bother with the Lamington at Dimbulah.
In the latest newsletter from Baker and Cook, I found out that the baker owner, Dean, has included the Lamington cake in the sweets offerings, and claimed it’s the best Lamington in town. Naturally I have to try it.
Does it live up to its claim? If this is indeed the best, I’ve to say the standard is damn low. Sure, the sponge cake is more moist than that from Dimbulah, but still not up to my expectation. I thought it’s only ok.
A couple of days ago, I discovered the Lamington at Jones the Grocer.
Jones is from Australia and the food is generally pretty good, so I thought it would be worth a try. This is a slight variation from the traditional Lamington, with a raspberry and vanilla cream center. It turns out to be another disappointment. The sponge cake is dry, and the cream center is so measly. What’s with the sponge cake here? Is it the weather or the lack of fresh produce? Honestly, I think I can only get good Lamington in Australia.
I have reviewed Patiserrie glacé in an earlier post “Sweets for my Sweet” dated April 10. I wasn’t very impressed with the cakes, but a couple of colleagues told me to try the others which they said are pretty good, particularly a chocolate cake called ‘Otello’. So I decided to give Glacé a second chance, and went for the popular ‘Otello’.
This is a chocolate sponge cake sitting on top of a biscuit wafer, and has fresh cream layered between the cake. I don’t really like the wafer, I thought it’s a little dry and not crunchy. The cake and cream are quite good and I like that it’s not overly sweet. But I wouldn’t say it’s to-die-for.
After trying the Laduree macarons (reviewed in ‘A taste for the foreign 2’ dated 23 April), I got interested to try other macarons for comparison. When I was at Jones the Grocer, I got a chocolate and a pistachio macarons, at S$1.50 each. It seems much cheaper but that’s because these are mini macarons at only 1.5″ wide, though Laduree’s macarons are only slightly bigger at 2″ wide.
Last Saturday we were at 112 Katong mall where there is an Obolo cafe at level basement one. A sign at the cafe marketed that they are known to have the best macarons in Singapore. (Really??) So how could I resist a taste test? I bought four pieces at S$2.70 each (clockwise from top): pistachio, Sakura, salted chocolate caramel, and bittersweet chocolate.
Pardon the picture of these ugly-looking macarons, I crushed them accidentally. They are also mini macaron size. The shells are better than those from Jones, not as hard, more airy but not to the standard of Laduree’s. The website states the the macarons are not overly sweet. I beg to differ; the bittersweet chocolate is more sweet than bitter. I also tried the Sakura, which has Sakura flower-flavored buttercream for the paste, and to me it’s just tastes syrupy sweet. My husband took the pistachio and the salted chocolate caramel macarons, and thought they were inferior to those from Laduree. He finds that the shell is not as airy, and the salted caramel flavor isn’t as good. Since he didn’t have the pistachio macaron from Laduree, he can’t make a comparison.
So I’m afraid Marie Antoinette would be disappointed by the cake and macaron standards here if she was alive today, except for those from her homeland.