The perfect black cake? A baker honours her parents
Black cake is a staple dessert in the Guyanese household, plentiful at Christmas and rich at weddings.
For Saralise Ming, a Guyanese baker and owner of Noodle Cake Creations, creating this delicacy has been a 10-year journey of mixing, tasting and perfecting the right ingredients from her parents.
Ming told the News Room that she comes from a family of bakers. Her grandmother was a single parent who baked to support her four children. Her mother picked up the skill and almost naturally, it was passed on to the young Ming.
With culinary skills handed down from generation to generation, Ming started her journey as a professional baker in 2012. She focused on customised cakes, cheesecakes, and just about any cake you might crave.
But black cake, that quintessential Guyanese treat, has been a cornerstone of her creations.
For starters, it was a family favourite and her father, Colin Ming had a particular liking for his wife’s special black cake recipe. So much was his fondness for this cake that he took it with him when he went golfing in the United States each year to share with his buddies.
The cake he carried with him each year was a special possession, one that Ming was eager to make for her father one day.
“I always wanted to bake it but he kept saying ‘no, you’re not ready’ and I’d be upset because I felt I was ready,” Ming said, fondly recalling her memories with her father, who passed away last year.
It wasn’t until 2019, seven years after she started her business, that her father finally believed that she could make that prized black cake.
So, she did.
And it was a hit with her dad and his golfing buddies who could not, by the way, believe that little Saralise managed to perfect that delicacy they expected every year.
With her father’s nod of approval and her mother sharing her family recipe, Ming set out to create a product that would be sophisticated but still honoured her family- offering a homely touch to anyone’s taste buds.
That’s how the CM (Colin Ming) black cake in a box came about.
At first glance, you might mistake it for the sleek boxed 15-year-old eldorado rum because of the black casing and fancy gold letters. Once you untie the bow and take the brown cake out of the paper wrapping, however, the cake is a sight to behold.
The decadent black cake, which Ming says is baked fruits that have been curing for years, is cased in an almond paste shell. According to the baker, the nuttiness of the paste and the fruitiness of the cake pair well together- another reason that makes this product stand out.
Getting to this point is a proud moment, Ming posited. She believes that she has been able to honour both of her parents with this product.
Still, it is a bittersweet feeling because she lost her dad before she boxed her perfect black cake.
“… he’s not here to see it to this next phase which I know would’ve meant everything to him.
“At one point, I wanted to give up on the journey, don’t think I could do this on my own but I know he would’ve wanted me to at least try,” Mong said, trying to laugh off the tears that welled up in her eyes.
She hasn’t just tried. Based on customer reviews, Ming is confident that she has succeeded.
And after 10 years of testing and tasting, baking and preserving fruits, she intends to officially launch the cake in the local market soon. Then, in the coming months, she hopes to make it an export-ready product.
“… the vision is to take it internationally because that was his (her father’s) vision for me,” the baker added.