chinatown cake club

After what was already a pretty decadent two days of birthday celebrations, I spent a couple of hours with my friend Jacquelyn on Sunday at the Chinatown Cake Club – a private club in an Chinatown apartment that holds monthly events featuring only cakes and desserts. Founder Victoria Howe, a pastry chef and hostess, describes it as a "secret bakery" for those in the know. Well, it's gaining popularity. I will say that it isn't for the unadventurous. Some of her desserts are very inventive and would challenge even an experienced palette. I was brave enough to try the durian pound cake, but kind of regret it. It actually tasted savoury. If you're not familiar with durian, it's a tropical fruit that is extremely odorous. The scent has been described as resembling rotting food, bad body odor, etc. It tastes very similar to the way it smells but is a delicacy — even an aphrodisiac — in many Asian countries.

I do love that she chooses an artist each month as inspiration for a cake. This time, she chose two: Notorious B.I.G. and Gerard Richter. Check out the Biggie Smalls (and the durian) cake below. (apologies for the unsharp photos – very difficult low light conditions)

Here was Sunday night's menu:

Dragon Fruit Trifle – small spheres of fresh dragon fruit layered between lightly sweetened palm sugar whipped cream and cake trimmings

Green and Black Cake – dark chocolate fudge cake, filled with avocado mousse & covered with bittersweet Valrhona ganache

Café Sua Da Torte – espresso chocolate layered with condensed milk (my favourite)

Banana Leaf Sticky Rice – caramelized bananas and black rice sweetened with

Coconut Cream Taro Cake – pale purple taro chiffon cake layered with coconut cream, seven minute frosting and trimmed with toasted coconut flakes

Almond Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches – Chinese toasted almond cookies layered between sesame oil ice cream

Durian Pound Cake – Pouncake flavoured with fresh durian, covered with durian buttercream

Home made Ice Creams – sugar cane, soy sauce, chrysanthemum, sesame oil (I wasn't brave enough to try the soy sauce one)

Artist Series Cake #5: Tribute to Notorious B.I.G. – golden buttermilk cake soaked in Hennessy simple syrup, layered with roasted plantains and covered in gilded vanilla frosting

Artist Series Cake #6: Tribute to Gerard Richter – fragrant black sesame seed cake frosted with vanilla swiss buttercream

I don't know that I would devour that much sugar again in one sitting but it was definitely an experience. Check the website for more info on how to sign up the monthly events.