Finally, after a long first day of interning, I got back to Richmond, met up with Mom and shopped at Lansdowne until 6:30, when Anna’s Cake House offered their usual Wednesday-Friday discount. It is 20% off everything and 30% if purchasing more than $15 worth of Asian pastries and cakes. There was a huge line up and we even had to get numbers to avoid problems. So many people just started grabbing buns when the sale started, and the cake display cases were almost invisible. Luckily, we were near the front of the line so we got everything we wanted.
First, the 黑森林蛋糕 (Black Forest) was quite a large piece. The chocolate shavings on top were quite decent – a mix of milk and white chocolate. The cream was not overly sweet and the chocolate sprinkles were plentiful on the side. The chocolate cake was soft and moist. It was wonderfully spongy like the usual Asian cake. Light and fluffy, it tasted very fresh despite being in the display case probably all day. The only big disappointment for this was the cherry filling layer in the middle. For a regular black forest cake, it should be soaked cherries. I know it is the off season and cherries are only starting to be sold in grocery stores – and that they are very expensive right now – but I was more than a little take aback when I discovered two measly cherries in my cake. The rest of the red cubes in the filling were coloured jello. It was chewy and sweet – a lovely jello – but in a black forest cake? That is almost ridiculous, especially when the cake is already $3. I expected better.
The 栗子蛋糕 (Chestnut Slice) is a childhood favourite. I love chestnuts and I love chestnut paste. They actually had two varieties today – one a triangular slice with only cream on top and the other one (the one I got) a round cake with half a strawberry. The triangle slices were bigger but the lady in front of us bought all six slices that they had left so I had to get the round cake. The strawberry on top was not very fresh as it had marks of being squished in the box on top. It was not glazed either, which would have made it look like it was a better quality. The cream was light and the white Asian cake soft and spongy. The chestnut paste was actually quite decent. It was a thicker paste than usual, more dense with a higher ratio of chestnuts I believe. It also had a less smooth texture than most chestnut pastes I have had so you can really taste the little ground chestnut bits. It was decently sweetened but like all Asian desserts, remained nice and light.
The 意大利芝士蛋糕 (Tiramisu with Coffee Cake), though not very visually appealing, was actually not bad. There were no mascarpone cheese and coffee soaked lady fingers. I was glad two find several layers, though, of cream cheese cream and light coffee cake. Again, the cake was soft, spongy, and moist with a very fresh taste. The cream was also light but had enough cheese to distinguish it from a regular whipped cream. The cocoa dust layer on top gave it a slight cocoa aroma. I would have liked to see a better presentation, which it was very obviously lacking. There were no decorations of any sort. I am not sure why they put almond slices on the side, but it did add a nice crunch to it when you ate that part of the cake.
The 咖啡蛋糕 (Coffee Cake) was actually surprisingly decent. The plentiful almond slices on top added a really nice crunch to the ground nuts-coated cake. Each bite had that wonderful, nutty aroma. The coffee cake was so light and delicious, just sweet enough to be tasty and not hide the coffee flavour. Two thick layers of cake were sandwiched between very thin layers of cream, which provided a nice contrast. The softness of the cake needed that little creaminess to balance it out. At only $1.80, this, in my opinion, was the one that was most worth the money.
Finally, I also tried the lovely 咖啡挞 (Cappuccino Tart). It was the most visually appealing out of all their cakes and buns, hands down. It was simple yet elegant. The chocolate shavings were great and that mini dollop of cream just looks very cute. The cappuccino-flavoured cream, or at least I think it was a cream, tasted sort of like a coffee mousse. Regardless of what it is, the cream-like filling was light in flavour as expected – not too sweet and with a light coffee aroma. It was very creamy and smooth but not at all heavy. The tart shell was also quite good. I do not like flaky shell and this was one I approved of. It was more of a shortbread cookie kind of shell that crumbled somewhat easily but still able to hold its shape. The tart shell was also lightly sweetened and did not taste heavily of fat or shortening or butter.
Overall, Anna’s Cake House was not a huge disappointment and had some delights to offer. Nothing was particularly bad. It is only a question of whether each dessert was worth the price we paid for. With the discount though, I am not the least bit surprised to see so many people waiting for 6:30 to come. I might go back for some other treats although the choices are quite limited from here on. I still have three items for tomorrow that I have not yet tried. What I did not buy were the mousse cakes and cheesecakes as they looked just too ordinary. The buns also lacked variety and uniqueness, so I guess if I do go back, it won’t be any time soon.