Subject: The Cubano Cake & Eating It Too
In the U.S. some sort of see Mexico as perhaps being something like twenty years behind the U.S. A visit to Cuba in 2019 left me pondering those assumptions about the Mexico most of us in Southern California know – Baja. Perhaps Mexico or Baja should best be compared to say Cuba? Perhaps Mexico is say about twenty years ahead of Cuba.
On a recent outing in search of a dessert cake for family and friends I quickly learned the ins and out of locating almost anything in Cuba. Let’s start with locating a cake. You might think, why not just go to a bakery? Perhaps there are bakeries in the big cities but, not where we were.
The first challenge for us was finding the home of the local baker. Then the challenge is giving him or her a deposit so the ingredients could be procured on time. On this family visit to Holguin, Cuba locals informed us that there was now a shortage of wheat, oil and eggs. Sort of the perfect storm of “we aren’t eating cake on this trip”. Not to worry we are told; money in Cuba has a way of solving almost any problem that may ail the common gringo. With nearly a week head start our cake was ordered and a week later picked up promptly at 10:00 a.m.
And if you asked for directions to this home baker it would go something like . . . . up the hill from the main street, past the vegetable kiosks, then take a right. Now look towards the Chinese tourist bus terminal where all the buses park. Walk through them past the oily grease pit and onto the other side until you reach a dirt road. Go down the dirt road past a new house under construction and begin asking anyone you see where the baker lives.
And now that half the battle is won. The other half is getting the cake back in one piece. Note the run away oxen team as we were leaving with the cake. This oxen team is the tractor of the farm, the farm truck, people mover etc, etc.
But just somehow it all seems to work. And a more tastier wholesome cake with the best meregue topping that you will ever taste you will not easily find anywhere else. Especially back in the U.S.