Iconic ’70s chocolate cake is a comeback for the ages

They say this chocolate cake was iconic back in the ’70s. But I was born in 1985 and grew up in the ’90s, which, with my generational bias on hand, is arguably the best decade in memory. So perhaps I was living under a rock or gallivanting in my own Sailor Moon-fueled bubble back in the days for this chocolate cake to have eluded me. 

But forget everything you know about Cakes by Louise’s roots and it’s not hard to imagine this dark confectionery heavyweight as an icon today.

Cakes by Louise sure knows how to create confections that stand the test of time. They also know how to craft fantastic cakes without the fancy bells and whistles—though those are just as good.

Cakes by Louise chocolate cake
Many regard this Cookie Monster chocolate cake as a nostalgic symbol of their childhood

Spanning three generations, many regard their Cookie Monster chocolate cake as a nostalgic symbol of their childhood. And why not? It’s moist but light. It possesses a balanced sweetness. It comes with a subtle caramel layer and a decadent chocolate frosting that’s chocolate-y without being too chocolate-y. The Dutch Treat version that uses a heavy cream frosting is far less prominent but is nonetheless occasion-worthy.

But Cakes by Louise is so much more than their cakes. The great joy behind their nostalgic creations feels born out of intergenerational respect and love, emerging with a sparkle that draws upon the past as much as it looks forward into the future.

Antonio’s successor heads to Makati with own food retail store

What do you do when you have an opportunity to build on a strong F&B brand in a new space in Makati? If you’re a new generation entrepreneur like Basti Escalante, you take the risk, of course. 

“I want to build on what my father [Tony Boy Escalante] has done,” says Basti. “Taking the values that made Antonio’s and creating something new.”

Pedro the Grocer proprietor Basti Escalante
Pedro the Grocer’s Basti Escalante

Named after Tony Boy’s younger son (“Pedro loves going to supermarkets”) and owned by his older son Basti, Pedro the Grocer was established with the idea to become a distribution point for prepared, frozen, baked, and ready-to-eat Antonio’s staples in Metro Manila as well as products from farmers and small-scale producers.

“Because of our close relationships with farmers from Benguet and Tagaytay,  we have access to really unique and hard-to-find produce,” says Basti. These include white ampalaya, red okra, natural multi-colored Easter eggs, preserved pork etag, and highland heirloom rice.

Pedro the Grocer dressings
Dressing your salads? There’s more to choose from than just ranch or blue cheese
Bread and butter sselection
Bread and butter sselection

Customers can also expect an unexpected treat: bringing Antonio’s American-style ice cream home, which can only be consumed at their Tagaytay outpost. Sold in pints and in a range of 10 flavors such as roasted strawberry, dark chocolate peanut butter, and apple crumble, this allows Pedro the Grocer more room to grow and establish itself as a unique food retail destination in the area.

Apart from the product offerings, Basti understands the growing importance of store design in food retail to better appreciate the tactile experience of physical shops. This is why he elected to host the products in a 48-square-meter space at San Antonio Plaza Arcade in Makati designed by architectural firm PDP Architects.

“It’s all about an old-world feel that is altogether tropical, Filipino, modern and world-class,” says PDP Architects managing director Cathy Saldaña. 

We get the feeling that Basti’s younger brother Pedro will be right at home here, too.