I still dream of that Saturday morning where I ate all that cake. It was without a doubt not only a feast for the mouth and tummy, but also a feast for the eyes.
Beautifully laid in a row, D9 Cakery did not fail to impress me with the display of their masterpieces from the Valrhona Premium Cocoa-Inspired Creations, created in collaboration between D9 Cakery and Valrhona. I got the opportunity to meet the woman, Executive Pastry Chef at Hilton Singapore Chef Cindy Khoo as well as the man, Valrhona master pastry chef trainer Jérémy Aspa who were the masterminds behind these creations.
World renowned chocolate brand Valrhona was established in 1922 in France. Having being able to spend a good amount of time in Europe, contrary to what many may say I personally preferred the taste of French chocolate compared to Belgium or Swiss Chocolate. I think the French have the best chocolate in the world and this cake collection without a doubt has proven me right. In one seating, I tried seven out of the 18 cakes available in this collaboration. My sweet tooth was definitely satisfied for the rest of the week.
I first tried the Poire ($8), shape beautifully like the Pear fruit, this was one of the best cakes I tasted in my life. Consisting of real pieces of pear fruit as well as a soft TWG creme caramel tea infused mousse, I found this cake having the perfect balance between sweet, fruity and refreshing.
Next, I tried the Cerise ($8). Designed to take the shape of a cherry, I thought this cake looked more like Snow White’s poison apple. Straight out of a fairytale, this cake was to die for. Made with raspberry chocolate from Valrhona, and complemented with rosemary herb and vanilla bourbon tea mousse, this cake is suitable for those who prefer their cakes not too sweet, with a tinge of sour.
Personally, my least favourite fruit is Mango. But the Mangue ($8) may have just changed my mind. The mousse of this cake is infused with TWG’s “Alfonso tea” - black tea and mango. As you dig in deeper to the core of the cake, you will find a yellow lava made from mango and lemongrass zest oozing out. The lava helps to mask the sweetness and sinful taste of the mousse also making it perfect for those who like their cakes not too sweet. If Mango tasted like this cake, I would happily eat Mangoes everyday!
When I first saw the Cafe Caramelia ($65/1kg) I never thought a cake could possess such a beautiful marble effect! The Cafe Caramelia comprises coffee creme mousse and of course valrhona chocolate. As I am a coffee drinker and a fan of dark chocolate I enjoyed this cake because I found this cake to be more on the bitter side, not in a bad way.
Engaging in a conversation with chef Cindy, I asked why the first 4 cakes I tried as mentioned above were coated with chocolate. She explained that apart from bringing out the exquisite taste of the cakes, the chocolate coating also served for practical reasons. Given the hot and humid climate in Singapore, the chocolate coating in fact prevents the mousse from melting as quickly as it would without the coating. So guests can buy their cakes, shop first and eat it later.
Next on my plate was the Double Chocolate Cake ($6/slice; $55/1kg). Famed to be the best chocolate cake in town, this double chocolate cake is from a different league compared to any chocolate cake you find in this country. This double chocolate cake is made from eight layers of Valrhona chocolates, including Valrhona’s Sakanti Bali 68% and Itakuja 55%. In between the layers of chocolate is a yoghurt cocoa sponge. Interestingly, Jeremy shared that the Itakuja chocolate from Valrhona came from a double fermentation process in which Valrhona took around 10 years to perfect. The Sakanti Bali chocolate is Valrhona’s first chocolate made from beans from Asia. The Bali chocolate gave the cake a tinge of sour aftertaste in which can be tasted after every bite. Chef Cindy further shared that yoghurt was used in this cake instead of milk to give the cake that extra creamy texture. At this point, I was impressed with the level of detail and amount of thought behind each creation.
The last two cakes are from the Artisanal Origami Cake collection. The Rhubarb Origami Amour ($75/800g) is made from a tarty rhubarb compote, Valrhona Strawberry Inspiration chocolate, chamomile tea jelly, vanilla bourbon mousse and bottomed with a coconut almond sponge. GIven that rhubarb naturally has an extremely sour taste, the creators behind this cake did an excellent job in bringing together a party of different flavours in this cake. The chamomile tea jelly gave the cake a subtle feminine and flowerly hint in every bite. Needless to say, this cake without a doubt will be enjoyed by both females and males. This sweet and sour cake can also be perfectly paired with a glass of champagne.
The Sakura Origami Ruby ($75/800g) was inspired by the pink sakura flower. A well-designed cake with an origami effect comprises alternate layers of sweet raspberry creme, TWG sakura tea infused mousse and crunchy matcha tea dacquoise, not forgetting chocolate inspired by the Valrhona Raspberry chocolate. As a matcha fan, I could taste the authentic matcha taste like those I tasted when I was in Japan, the matcha added bitterness to the otherwise sweetness of the overall cake. I enjoyed both the aesthetics and the taste of this cake.
Given Chef Cindy's engineering background, it is no surprise her skills and creativity have been imparted onto her cake creations.
As we thought that the sweet tastings were over, we were presented a box of Limited Edition Varhona Bons Bons. ($4 each) Shaped like the Nespresso Coffee Capsules, there are six different flavours of Bon Bons created by Chef Jeremy. They are as follows:
Black Forest Bonbon - Tulakalum 75% dark chocolate ganache with cherry and vanilla
Dulexo – Caramelized ganache with a mix of exotic fruits
Truffle Opalys Coco - Opalys 33% white chocolate and coconut flakes
Tender Rock - Bitter lactée 39% milk chocolate with crushed hazelnuts
Raspberry Garden - Valrhona Raspberry Inspiration chocolate with red fruit bits
My personal favourite was the Dulexo, with a strong taste of passionfruit, this Deluxo Bon Bon will leave you yearning for more. Thankfully, these Limited Edition Bon Bons will be around until Christmas and my recommendation is that these would make the perfect holiday treat and/or gift this coming Christmas.
From now till Christmas, I will definitely be heading back to D9 to settle some serious sweet tooth cravings.