We Taste Our Way Through 5 Brands of Mamon Available at The Local SupermarketMarch 11, 2018
Real life isn’t always conducive to cooking and baking from scratch, prompting many folks to have to stock up on packaged foods that are purchased conveniently at the grocery store and can keep for longer in the pantry. In the case of mamon—the iconic sponge snack cake that’s a favorite of the nation—there are a couple of options we’ve seen on the supermarket shelves. Some are of the commercially-made sort from bigger snack companies, with more unpronounceable ingredients that gives them a longer shelf life; others are of the relatively freshly-baked sort with fewer or no preservatives in exchange for a shorter (albeit still extended) lifespan. They all make for sweet-tooth satisfaction just a touch between meals and come widely available and are priced affordably enough for daily snacking, but how do they taste?
Lemon Square Mamon, Cheesy Flavor
TEXTURE: Past its slightly sticky top, this more shelf-stable mamon carries a tight but coarse, airy crumb, like a stiff and dried-out sponge cake. It feels a tad heavy for a mamon, but it fills you up better than the other brands.
TASTE: You get a peculiar flavor common across many local prepackaged snack-cakes (and especially similar to that of the brand’s iconic cheese cupcakes); it’s milky and slightly citrusy, with a caramel-y depth that brings to mind coffee. It hardly reminds us of mamon (for which we’d associate a more eggy, sponge cake-y taste), but it’s tasty in its own way.
Monde Special Mamon, Classic
TEXTURE: Monde’s commercially-made and prepackaged version feels like a tightly compressed sponge cake with a tight, packed crumb which oddly feels like a kitchen sponge against the tongue. Though it fills the mouth with a starchiness that leaves us parched, it’s surprisingly soft for a shelf-stable cake.
TASTE: Monde also carries that particular taste we associate with prepackaged snack-cakes, as Lemon Square does, albeit milkier and with a slight saltiness we appreciate.
Herran Special Mamon
TEXTURE: Herran offers a 5-pack of minis, each of which you can finish off in two bites. Being of the fresher ones of the lot (and as the sole brand of the bunch whose ingredients are easily recognizable—just flour, sugar, egg, salt, and oil), you get a tight-crumbed cake that’s much softer than the two shelf-stable brands above. Still, it ultimately feels dry—you’ll want to have a glass of water or milk while eating these.
TASTE: Here you get a mild eggy taste plus a creaminess that enriches the sensation, thus resembling a freshly made cake. And, carrying just the right amount of sweetness, it’s great both on its own or as a canvas to construct your own desserts. (Whipped cream and mango slices, anyone?)
Uncle George Mamon Rolls
TEXTURE: Like Herran’s, Uncle George’s is similar to Herran’s in size and appearance but has a smoother top, like the surface of a portobello mushroom. Its crumb is tight and packed (similar to Monde’s but even less fluffy), and the overall cake is lean and lightweight. It feels like a sponge as you sink your teeth into it, starting out airy and mostly dry, but becoming softer and melting in the mouth as you chew.
TASTE: The general eggy, sponge-cakey flavor prevails with a milkiness similar to Lemon Square’s and Monde’s. Toward the end is a hint of lemon that helps brighten up the mix.
TEXTURE: Tiffany’s mamon is the largest of the lot (almost at par with Goldilocks’), carrying a small but fluffy crumb and the smooth, browned top layer characteristic of sponge cakes that you can peel off and eat on its own. It’s on the relatively softer end despite its inner dryness, and it pleasantly springs back as you chew on it.
TASTE: This version is on the eggy, milky-tasting end like Herran’s, but with a more prominent note of butter and less sweetness and saltiness. You get a fresh and more neutral-tasting mamon that you can polish off without feeling the sugar rush sink in.
The Verdict: Tiffany
It was hard to decide on a winner where no one player can be said to exhibit all of the ideal parts, but Tiffany’s almost fresh-tasting and relatively soft, springy cake reigns supreme among those in the selection. Coming close is Uncle George’s, who wins for its spongey, melt-in-the-mouth consistency and citrus notes, followed by Herran, whose great flavor makes up for its dryness. Between the the two shelf-stable options, Lemon Square’s offers a more impactful taste and muffin-y texture that we appreciate (just not with respect to being a mamon, while Monde’s is a surprisingly soft contender that’s no match for the fresh stuff but still does the job.