At BakerCakeMaker in Hollywood’s Sunset Kafco Plaza, “Sweet” is tagged on the wall and chef Aris Rodriguez showcases pastries that are “Filipino inspired with an L.A. flair.”
Rodriguez, who joked that he’s the A-Rod of baking (hopefully minus PEDs) said, “We make three things, but we make them really well.” I really enjoyed his Malasadas, which are coated with sugar and filled with either coconut cream, calamansi curd sweetened with honey, or Nutella. Sonhos are Brazilian malasadas filled with cream and sweetened with brown sugar. Still, based on my experience, Rodriguez’s Ensaymada ($2.50) is the grand prize.
The Ensaymada originated in Mallorca, Spain, as a merienda snack and was later introduced to the Philippines through colonialism. They’re traditionally made with dough that’s rolled thin, “laminated” with lard and rolled like strudel. At BakerCakeMaker, Rodriguez subs butter for lard, glazes with 82% butterfat butter and sugar and tops with shredded two-year aged Welsh cheddar, which melts when you warm it, working savory wonders. Rodriguez also makes a butter ensaymada and has even been known to make a “super special” black truffle Chevre ensaymada. Black truffle baked goods? Maybe A-Rod is juicing after all?