At Chinese bakeries I tend to go for the sweet buns and tea, not the Western-style cakes or anything designed to look like a malformed animal. But last weekend at Hon Cafe I did the latter, springing for the panda cake ($1.25) made of a cylindrical chunk of yellow sponge cake rolled in rainbow sprinkles and topped with hard icing with a protrusion sort of resembling a noseless panda's head wearing bubblegum-pink lipstick.
I lowered my expectations when the tines of my plastic fork failed to break through the top layer of icing upon repeated stabbings, instead just merely scrapping the surface. I ended up removing the entire top layer to get to the cake, which tasted like a typical Chinese bakery cake—spongy, soft, barely sweet—and probably would've been better without the sprinkles. The only part of the top layer that was worth eating were the chocolate ears. From now on, I think I'll lay off the animal-shaped cakes from Chinese bakeries.
70 Mott Street, New York NY 10013 (nr. Canal Street; map) 212-219-1431
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