Noga's cakes we are told, are heaven on earth. Her cheesecakes are award winners and a quick glance at her website shows a heart thumping selection of lusciously tantalising cakes. Driving down Old South Head Road, we stop at her store whose windows are adorned with faded, laminated pictures of her cakes. It actually looks closed but it is open and we are a little shocked when we walk in. We were expecting rows of lusciously beautiful cakes, glazed strawberry tarts and striking Dobos tortes but we are greeted with something that looks like a storeroom mid renovation. The left wall full of stacked cardboard boxes and the right fridge wall full of boxes that are presumably filled with cakes. It appears like a thin layer of flour is dusted upon all surfaces.
I ask the two helpful young guys working the counter whether they are open as it doesn't actually look like a shop at all, it looks like we have happened upon a building crew mid refurbishment. "Umm no, this is how we usually are" he says spreading his arms. We see Noga herself is busy making cakes in the industrial kitchen which you can right into. Looking behind us we see some towering lemon meringue pies. Hang on, this is the ubiquitous lemon meringue pie that appears in all cafes across Sydney-you know it, its the one with a huge mountain of cascading meringue. Ahhh ok, so it finally clicks, they usually sell wholesale but also sell retail hence their lack of decor.
Cakes are either sold whole or in miniature form and since the aim today is to try as many cakes as possible, we opt for the miniatures. Aiyana and Davs order 2 blueberry tarts and I order1 bannoffee tart and 1 chocolate molten cake (to be heated in microwave just before serving we're told) for my husband and I to share . Unfortunately the triple chocolate mud cake is sold out today. All miniature cakes are $4.50 (large, full sized cakes are above $30) and we head off with our bounty in tow.
What she lacks in store decor, she makes up in taste. The Bannoffee tart is delicious, the tart buttery with a lovely texture, not too crisp, not too crumbly. More often I've had Bannoffee with a more crumbly biscuit base like a cheesecake which was also delicious. The slices of banana are lush and ripe and the caramel thick and sweet and the whipped cream voluminous.
The Blueberry tart has the same base as the Bannoffee but instead of a thick cheesecake type filling, its a light fluffy cheese filling. The blueberries are plentiful (there looks to be half a punnet of blueblerries on each) and glazed beautifully and it has a satisfying texture to it, from the biscuit bite to the soft moussey filling contrasted with the glazed soft blueberries.
A disappointment is the molten chocolate cake. Now I confess the reheating may have been my fault. I nuked it for 60 seconds while watching it curiously and saw the volcano peak slightly and release a chocolatey lava at the end. But prodding with the spoon showed that the lava wasn't liquid and inside there was no melting chocolate to be had at all. It was a soft spongy chocolately pudding with a distinct cinnamon taste to it. I don't know about you but whilst I love cinnamon with apples and many other items, I find cinnamon and chocolate a repulsive combination. Chocolate seems to bring out the powderiness in the cinnamon and leaves me gagging. My husband too is unimpressed by this cake and after two spoonfuls, its unceremoniously thrown out. Long live the Bannoffee!
Davs ready to devour a blueberry tart
375 Old South Head Road North Bondi
Tel: + 61 (02) 9365 5584.
Open Mon-Thu 10am-6pm, Fri 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-4pm.