After my first real exposure to the process of agriculture in the Philippines, it was then when I realized how tedious and hard it was for farmers to work and provide the produce that most people take for granted. Yes, I was able to see how farmers from Nueva Ecija treat rice, from planting the seed or binhi, to growing it out (not to mention the confusing combinations of N-P-K) to harvesting it and a lot more. It is a tedious process and I am sure that the same goes with any other valued crops, especially the cacao. I honestly appreciate the hardwork they do for people to enjoy literally, the fruits, or if I may say, the crops of their labor.
Since childhood, I remember being able to have my own fare share of tsokolate-e. Tsokolate-e, for those unfamiliar with it, is this wonderful mix of hot milk and pure cocoa in the form of tablea, and if you want it sweet, some sugar or maybe honey (I like it strong). Although I cannot remember enjoying it in its purest sense, I can say that I appreciate how it is made and how unique it tasted. It is only now that I realize the potential it has to become more than just that tablea.
With that in mind, and with a task that I have to make or find a recipe for dark chocolate cake for a really close friend, I chanced upon an issue of Yummy Magazine which made use of the chocolate tablea for its cake. I wrote the recipe and started to make sure that I have all the ingredients at hand… except for the tablea. Honestly, I don’t know which province here in the Philippines makes the best tablea since a lot of provinces makes them (Batangas, Davao, Cebu, Benguet and I am sure there are others). Batangas, I know, is know for its chocolate tablea, and after some extensive research, I also found out that the Davao tablea is being supplied to Askinosie Chocolate, an international company that makes use of different cacao varieties, including which is Davao’s. Luckily enough, tablea chocolate from Batangas is available at a local Sunday Market in the Metro so I made sure that I get my hand on some for the cake. It was pure chocolate, no sugar or milk incorporated in the product according to the vendor. I was really excited after buying so the day after, I baked the cake.
The kitchen filled with this great aroma of chocolate. I made a chocolate buttercream (for the recipe, HERE) to go with it, anticipating a more robust and dark chocolate taste than a sweeter one. Once cooled, I frosted it with the buttercream and let it set a little. Of course, we are an impatient family so after an hour, we had a slice of the cake. As expected, it has this robust flavor of chocolate and that it was bold. It was really good. It is moist too. My mom loves this cake particularly because she is diabetic. Because of the sugar quantity, it is acceptable for her to have a slice to satisfy her cravings. And I agree, I think this is a great cake. Dark and local. You can really tell that you used local chocolate to make this cake and it is good! This is one for the books!
Chocolate Tablea Cake
Adapted from Yummy Magazine
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round baking pans. Line bottoms with wax paper; grease and flour paper.
In a bowl, mix cocoa powder and tablea with boiling water; stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Gradually add cocoa mixture, beating well.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating until blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pans and turn out onto wire racks; carefully peel off wax paper. Cool completely.
For a local take and a darker taste, try and bake this cake. I am sure it will be a treat for you and your family. Mine did.