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Brazo de Mercedes Cheesecake: Sidney Bascon Style

          Lately, I've been craving for Brazo de Mercedes cheesecake. It must have been the holiday seasons bringing out the dessert swine in me because every baked dessert I spotted in the house ended up on the palm of my hands and into my mouth. No surprise there. Thankfully enough, Sidney Bascon of Simply Pastries by Sidney had just what I was looking for to satisfy my craving. While browsing through Sidney's extensive selection of cakes and pastries on her Facebook page, I was starting to think that there was absolutely nothing simple about her pastry line-up. She makes everything from cheesecakes in a cup, to dark chocolate chili cake, several flavored loafs, personalized cupcakes, beautifully decorated cakes and even a bouquet of red velvet "roses" (which are actually cupcakes). I was so impressed by her adeptness and was curious as to how she decided to venture into the baking business and Sidney related her story to me, "Simply Pastries by Sidney started last November 2010. I graduated from DLS-CSB last Oct 2010, so while I was trying to find a job within Manila, my mom told me that I should start a baking business first while waiting for some calls or results since Christmas season was a few weeks away. So the next 2 days, I began experimenting and buying some equipments and ingredients for the business. That's how it started." Sidney has been in the business for almost 3 years now and within that time span, it is evident that she has been able to master one craft she is very passionate about. 

            You'd be surprised to know that Sidney wasn't even interested in baking at first, "I took up BS-Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management major in Culinary Arts in DLS-CSB. I'm wasn't into baking when I was in college hehehe but when I was 12 years old, I attended baking classes with my mom. Also, after I graduated, I enrolled in Lifestyle Courses at Heny Sison's Culinary School."Despite the success of her pastry line and a feature on GMA News' show News To Go, Sidney doesn't let her triumph get to her head and finds importance in learning new techniques and tips in baking, "..until now, if I have time, I attend classes just to freshen my knowledge in baking or cooking."

        It was my first time to try out Sidney's products and her Brazo de Mercedes cheesecake just happened to be one of her best sellers. Other best sellers on her line-up are mostly cheesecakes such as Green Tea White Chocolate Cheesecake and Rum Raisin Walnut Cheesecake as well as Rhum Cake Loaf and Carrot Cake. The meringue was light, fully and airy, almost pillow-like. I liked how it was playfully resting atop the cheesecake in a swirl pattern. 

           You would think that a brazo de mercedes cheesecake would be too sweet or too overwhelming, but this one in particular made use of an adequate amount of sugar, cream cheese and the meringue adds texture to the cake. My whole family (myself included) enjoyed eating it for dessert after a hearty New Year's day meal. Two of my aunts ate their slice with a hot cup of coffee and thought it was the perfect drink to partner it with! 

          You can easily distinguish the 4 different layers of the cheesecake - the fluffy meringue, yema, cream cheese cake base and crust. The yema, generously spread beneath the meringue, gave the cake its sweetness and the velvety texture of the cream cheese mixture is what defines cheesecake as rich and luxurious. The cheesecake in itself is light and not cloying at all! 

           In most of the cheesecakes I've tried, the crust has just a subtle hint of sweetness. However, while chewing a chunk of the cake's edges, I was surprised to find out that it was salty. It was a nice play on the sweet and salty combination and quite frankly a delightful bolt from the blue. Definitely something to bring home to family and a pleasant dessert to serve up.

            With over 100 different items on her menu, you might start to wonder what the best cake would be to gift Sidney with on special occasions or when a craving suddenly strikes. Well, Sidney let me in on her top desserts and they are tiramisu, cheesecakes and molten chocolate cake. Reminds me of the chocolate cake that I tried at Chili's. Mmmm.  

        Sidney's loyal customers and newly-baptized fans have been clamoring for her to open up a shop. There are plans, however, of putting up one in a couple of years, she says that her customers can visit her Facebook page and message their orders for now. Although one thing people can look forward to this year are "more unique, modern and fun flavors of cheesecakes and cakes." 

        One thing Sidney is proud of is her approach to baking each of the cakes listed on her dessert menu, "I think my style of baking and the uniqueness of the flavors of my cakes or cheesecakes sets me apart from other home bakers. And sometimes, I really don't depend on recipes." I would have to agree, her flavors are unique, diverse and leaves room for more variants to make sure all palettes are satisfied. There truly is nothing Sidney Bascon can't bake! 

Sidney Bascon
2369 Colayco St. Pasay City

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