WHEN you have tasted the best, you simply cannot appreciate what’s second best. This is the situation that former food publication colleague Kris Alcantara-Mendoza has found herself in when it comes to appreciating that quintessential meringue-and-buttercream cake called Sans Rival.
Her paternal grandfather, Lolo Cipriano Alcantara, made delicious Cashew Sans Rival during his lifetime. Despite the fact that he was not a professional baker, he knew how to make really delicious stuff that brought joy to his grandchildren.
When Kris was small, he would make chocolate icing for her. Made with cocoa powder, sugar and butter, it was rich and thick, much like fudge, and he kept it in the refrigerator overnight so that the mixture thickened and the kids simply had to scoop the fudge out with a spoon and eat it.
Lolo Cipriano’s Cashew Sans Rival came to be when he and his wife Dolores got their hands on a Sans Rival recipe from an old magazine some 50 years ago and started experimenting on it, tweaking it here and there, until he got exactly what he wanted. Having perfected the recipe, he started selling it from the house, initially just to relatives and friends, and got good reviews for it. It was, after all, just the way Sans Rival should be—rich French buttercream made with real butter, spread over layers of makunat (chewy) meringue, with lots of chopped toasted cashew nuts. The cake was covered with the same buttercream icing, then decorated with the tines of a fork. Soon, it was not just relatives and friends buying from him but everyone who has tasted his Sans Rival and loved it started patronizing his products. Lolo Cipriano sold Orange Chiffon Cake and Chocolate Cake, but it was his Cashew Sans Rival that commanded the most attention and following.
More than selling the cake, however, Lolo Cipriano took great pride in serving his Cashew Sans Rival to his family, and that is what he did in every family gathering. And so, his grandchildren, including Kris, grew up eating his Sans Rival, and it became the standard by which all Sans Rival creations must measure up to. Sadly, in the course of time, Sans Rival recipes have changed, and so have people’s appreciation of the cake.
Since Lolo Cipriano’s Sans Rival has been a big part of the Alcantara family tradition, Kris and her generation missed it when their grandfather passed away in 2010, and store-bought Sans Rival could really fill in the void that it left on their palate. So what Kris and her husband Pocholo Mendoza decided to get hold of Kris’ grandfather’s 50-year-old recipe and tried to recreate the lovely confection. The recipe was handwritten, and it had to be decoded. It took Kris and Pocholo some six months to figure it out. Constant experimentation in the kitchen finally found a perfect ending—her Lolo Cipriano’s Sans Rival straight out of her childhood.
Now, Kris shares a piece of her childhood—and a part of her Lolo Cipriano—by making the Sans Rival available to everyone who wants to enjoy it. Each cake, packaged in a white box, is laboriously and lovingly made just the way her Lolo made it. Operational for a year now, Cipriano Sans Rival has attracted a steady clientele of satisfied customers. Everyone who has tried it loves it, and Kris has never been happier.
For further inquiries or orders, call or send a text message to 0917-5836833 or order through Cipriano SansRival’s FB and IG accounts @ciprianosansrival.