Friday, July 22, 2011

Market Research: Asian Baking!

After a couple recommendations from friends of mine to learn the art of Asian Baking, I decided I would need to schedule a tasting with my dear friend Inning, who has been offering to introduce me to these light, delicious baked goods. At the top of her list is a bakery she frequents for a bag of delicious cake scraps (she eats like a mouse-literally ;-)), the AA Wholesome Bakery located in West Mesa on Main St. and Dobson in the Mekong Plaza. Some might like to know, there is also an Asian supermarket and yogurt place with boba in this plaza.

Being that Asian baked goods are not overly sweet or rich in flavor and dense in texture than those you might find in the average American corner bakery or even mom's kitchen, Inning was worried I might not like it and told me not to get my hopes up too high. It was too late for that because I love trying new foods, especially cakes! She was right about one thing, if I came with the expectation to find the selection in the bakeries I am used to, I might be disappointed-- not that there wasn't variety, there was a pretty good selection to choose from, but of many different types of baked goods. You shouldn't go in there expecting to find your average syrup covered bear claws, powder sugar doused donuts, or fudge smothered brownies. I was surprised though to find things like mini Pecan Tarts, which I couldn't resist trying. There were also whole cakes for sale, a few cupcakes, pastries plain and with meat inside, and more. Here's a Wikipedia article with more details about a typical selection. (Not at all related to this article, other than the Chinese symbol is the picture above, is actually a cake I made for my step dad after getting his black belt. Hey, I needed a picture).

As mentioned, I decided on the Pecan Tart, and since Inning picked up a whole bag of regular vanilla cake scraps, I got a slice of rolled chocolate cake, which was literally cake cut in a semi-thin strip, rolled with chocolate frosting. Inning was right, it was less sweet, but I absolutely loved how light and fluffy the texture was. You don't get overwhelmed eating a whole piece, and it's perfect for those moments you're craving a something sweet, but not enough to put you in a sugar coma.

So pleased as I was, I will most certainly venture into trying out an Asian cake recipe. It will likely take a couple trial runs on my trusty friend Inning before I will include in in my repertoire, but I am very excited to begin my research! Thanks Inning and my friend Daniel for encouraging me to try this out!

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