In the midst of our crazy summer, between our Utah roadtrip, Kā‘anapali Fresh and the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, a friend sent me a text asking if I wanted to be his guest at an e-cookbook party for his friend, Hector Wong. Shake was already on Maui and I had ambitious plans for a night full of housecleaning and laundry but, “Wait, is this the friend that makes those insanely beautiful cakes?” I texted back.
“Yeah, that’s him.”
Cake and wine trumps laundry. Every. Single. Time.
Plus, I was curious to meet Hector. Our friend had told me about him before, mentioning his “friend who is baking his way through Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible,” and once brought a stunningly beautiful chocolate cake Hector helped him make to dinner at our house. It was baked in the shape of a heart with tiny chocolate “rose petals” frilled over the entire top (Hector had done the decorating).
“Your friend is crazy,” I pointed out. “This must have taken FOREVER!”
Hector doesn’t bake professionally, just for his own (and his family and friends who get to eat the cakes!) enjoyment. He is self-taught, having baked his first cake at age 8. You might have seen his cakes before because he’s been featured in several local publications due to his many contest wins and the friendship he has struck up with Rose Levy Beranbaum through baking. The event our friend invited me to was a special party Hector was throwing to celebrate the launch of his e-cookbook.
As part of the event, Hector walked us through the process of creating an e-book using the iBooks Author software from Apple.
He confessed that—like many authors I’ve worked with—he had to pretty much be metaphorically be shaken by the throat and told, “Don’t keep talking about it, just do it already! Get it done!” And now he has a self-published collection with 13 cheesecake recipes: Cheesecakes by Hector Wong.
For the event, Hector also gave us tips on making cheesecakes and presented two gorgeous cakes he’d made for us to sample, an enormous heart-shaped “Pure Mango Cheesecake,” and a very pretty starfruit-covered No-Bake Cheesecake. Recipes for both are in his e-cookbook.
I honestly can’t tell you much about Hector’s book because I don’t have an iPad (until Shake decides to upgrade his and hands his down to me!) and Hector’s book is available only via the iBookstore. But I can tell you that his cheesecakes are fabulously delicious!
In fact, between writing up this post and remembering how tasty Hector’s cheesecake samples were—and the fact that I have nearly three pounds of cream cheese in my fridge—I think I’ll be making a cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert!