Spotlight on Wanda’s Pie in the Sky – Cream Cheese Frosted Carrot Cake With Pineapple, Walnuts, and Lots of Coconut

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I know it seems kind of silly to post about cakes from a bakery and cafe that clearly specializes in their famous pies, but it makes sense given what a huge fan I am of cake!  There’s no contest for me.  If I had to choose between cake and pie, cake would win, hands down.  I do love lemon meringue and a number of cream pies such as banana cream, coconut cream, and chocolate cream among a few others, but pie doesn’t float my boat the same way cake does.  Lucky for me, Wanda’s Pie in the Sky does cake in a BIG way, rotating between over 20 different kinds!  And I don’t even think that number includes seasonal selections.  Since my first official visit back in the summer (remember the fabulous, jaw-dropping rainbow cake?), I always walk in feeling so excited to see whatever cake they’ve baked for the day ($4-$6 a slice), sitting tall and pretty on their giant cake stand.  

One of my favourite things about Wanda’s is their ever-changing daily menu.  They feature different salads, different cupcakes, and different types of cake every day so every visit is a happy surprise.  This type of arrangement of not knowing what to expect would probably drive some people absolutely nuts, but it’s actually kind of refreshing.  I love looking at menus and circling everything I want to try, regardless of whether or not I would realistically have it ($35 pasta?  Probably not, but in a fantasyland, sure!), but with Wanda’s I look forward to all the delicious food they have on hand that day.  Even though they have a cake menu on their website, I don’t even bother writing out a list of all the cakes I want to try.  My approach to eating at Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is quite simple: walk in, see what’s there, eat it. 

Say hello to the moist and flavourful cream cheese frosted carrot cake!  I’m a big fan of carrot cake.  Carrot muffins not so much, but yes yes yes to carrot cake.  I wasn’t able to get a photo of the entire cake on the stand, but it was so adorable with the little frosted carrots on top and it reminded me of garden fit for a bunny.  It was especially cute watching one of the girls cut my cake slice for me because the cake was so huge!  The carrot cake is a two-layer cake frosted with a thick, creamy layer of cream cheese frosting, covered in shaved coconut on the backside, and adorned with a frosted carrot on top.  The nice thing about the frosting was that it wasn’t cloying sweet and it wasn’t so creamy that it slopped all over the place.  Even though a lot people enjoy carrot cake because of the frosting (and rightfully so, the frosting is delicious!), this frosting was thick, creamy, and sweet enough to be really yummy, but also subtle enough to let the cake shine.    

The inside of the cake was bursting with pineapple, raisins, chunks of walnut, and shredded carrots and coconut.  I absolutely adored the texture of the cake.  It was moist and dense, just the way a carrot cake should be and to me, the shredded coconut, raisins, and pineapple just kicked the whole thing up a notch.  The coconut made the cake sweet and crunchy and flaky, and the pineapple and raisins gave the cake a sweet chewiness that I loved.  I had to split my cake into two because I couldn’t finish all of it in one sitting, but that wasn’t a problem because I had a trusty tupperware container on me.  Cake leftovers are never a bad thing.   

*****

Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located at 287 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market.  Wanda’s Pie in the Sky is located in between Nassau and College St.  They are open every day from 8am-9pm.  For more info on placing orders, attending classes, and dessert items they serve, check out their website here

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Having a “Food Baby” at Spring Rolls

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There is actually a rather funny story behind the title of this post and thinking back to how the phrase “food baby” originated still makes me laugh *chuckles*.  Besides finding my sweetheart, Richard, if grad school has been good for anything, it’s been making friends, meeting new people, and trying new food up the wazoo!  Slurping and eating lentil soup and falafel balls in the cold on a picket line, enjoying Indian food, and losing my pad thai virginity for the first time at the grad conference I organized last year.  And yes, if you’re wondering, it was quite orgasmic.  

For our keynote and conference after-party back in March, our team ordered a ton of delicious food from Spring Rolls, including mango salad, chicken fried rice, vegetable fried rice, vegetarian noodles, and the ever popular vegetarian pad thai.  I had never eaten pad thai before and was absolutely delighted to finally try it and Spring Rolls pad thai did not disappoint in the least.  It was so good my friend ate 3 plates of it and said he was going to have a food baby because of it.  HAHAHA! 😀

Spring Rolls is a lovely restaurant located in Toronto, Mississauga ,and now, Waterloo, that serves a fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai flavours.  The very first time I went was back in September of 2009, so not too long ago, really.  Since then, I’ve been back a number of times just because I love the atmosphere of each distinct location (I’ve been to 4 of the 10 locations thus far) and the food is delicious.  The price range for a typical main dish is around $9-$15 give or take, and there are plenty of vegetarian options throughout the menu with a specific section in the menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes only.  I have yet to try their dim sum brunch menu, but rest assured, I will get around to it.  Especially after seeing their mango sticky rice in the restaurant storefront window.  I’m so there!      

Tango Mango Chicken & Tiger Shrimps with Rice

Now, I’m no ignorant sucker.  Born and raised Chinese-Canadian I have had my fair share of Chinese food and authentic Chinese take-out and I am well-aware that there are plenty of dishes that I can enjoy for half the price (and sometimes for even a third of the price), such as Cantonese Chow Mein (gong-dong chow mein) and my classic favourite, Black Bean Beef Ho Fun (pft, I can’t even begin to figure out how to type the Chinese out in English for this one!  It’s a bit too complicated to try and spell out, sorry peeps!). 

The point is, everyone dines out at sit-down places for different reasons, whether it’s to try something you wouldn’t normally cook for yourself at home, or because there’s a place out there that makes a classic that damn good.  And when you’re Chinese like I am, it’s all the more reason to eat outside the box when you go to a place that serves Chinese food, enjoying the creative interpretation of a classic dish or staple that is still able to retain some of that traditionality in it.  And so I did!  I don’t know about you, but I have yet to find a Chinese take-out place that will serve me shrimp and pineapple fried rice in half a hollowed out pineapple with a beautful sheet of egg over top, sprinkled with shredded dried pork:

And the pad thai?  REALLY GOOD.  The kind of yummy that makes you want to stick another chopstick-ful in your mouth even before you’ve finished chewing your last.  And yes, the kind of yummy that makes you feel like you’re going to have a food baby after you’ve inhaled it.  Down below is the House famous pad thai tossed with tomato sauce, tamarind, coriander, parsley, lime juice, and roasted crushed peanuts, and served with chicken, shrimp, and tofu.

I love that I get to share these pictures with you guys because they’re fresh and colourful, and that’s what eating is all about to me.  Especially during the holidays, it should fill you up with warmth and happiness and good memories.  I can’t believe Christmas is in a week and I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 3 weeks now.  It’s gone by in a blur and I hope everyone has enjoyed the blog so far because I’ve had the best time writing and posting in it.  Eat what you like and like what you eat.  And be careful of those food babies.

Thank you to my sweetie Richard for this pretty lily pad shot!

*****

Spring Rolls has 10 locations in Toronto, Mississauga, and their newest in Waterloo.  Click here for a listing of all locations.