cakes and pastries in PH

Better choco-late than never! I learned how to bake from ‘School of Chocolate’ alum Daniel Corpuz

Charlene Enriquez

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Better choco-late than never! I learned how to bake from ‘School of Chocolate’ alum Daniel Corpuz

Photos by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler

The Filipino-American contestant of the Netflix series recreates his winning chocolate showpiece at the Auro Chocolate x Daniel Corpuz demo class

MANILA, Philippines – Who doesn’t love chocolate? I’m definitely one of those people who always needs a sweet chocolate snack after a meal, so it was a real treat to attend a five-hour demo class where I learned about the art and science of chocolate sculpting from the former contestant of Netflix’s School of Chocolate, Filipino-American chef Daniel Corpuz. 

The interactive event was held on March 10 at Enderun Colleges in Taguig City.  Co-organized by local chocolatier Auro Chocolate, Chef Daniel used the award-winning brand’s products to recreate his signature chocolate showpiece, the Philippine Coffee Bag, which won the first challenge of the Netflix series.

Better choco-late than never! I learned how to bake from ‘School of Chocolate’ alum Daniel Corpuz

The demo class was attended by around 30 to 40 people – from small pastry business owners, Enderun’s own culinary students, and regular chocolate lovers. The small amphitheater created an intimate, up-close view of the chocolate sculpting process and fostered natural interactions between the audience and the chef. 

ATTENDEES OF THE DEMO CLASS. Photo by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler

Even though I knew nothing about the technical side of baking or sculpting chocolate, the demo was easy to follow and the chef’s explanations were easy to understand.

The experience

Chef Daniel first introduced the Auro Chocolate ingredients he would use in the demo. “When it comes to Auro Chocolate, what I really like about it is real depth of flavor,” he shared as he passed around a cacao bean from one of the company’s farms. “I think one of the reasons that’s the case is because Auro has a high bar for what beans go through [in their] sorting process.”

CACAO BEAN. Photo by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler

The chef also talked about his experience visiting Auro Chocolate’s cacao farming communities. “I was fortunate that Auro was able to invite me to Davao, because that was sort of life-changing to see as a chocolatier. It’s such a surreal experience seeing what our ingredients start out as.” 

The US-based chef added: “The missing link [of knowledge] is the idea of who and how much effort it takes to truly create chocolate. Sharing that knowledge is something that I certainly will try my best back in the US.”

I’m sure everyone in the class had a greater appreciation for cacao farmers and growers for their role in making the chocolate we enjoy every day. 

AURO CHOCOLATE PRODUCTS. Photo by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler
Tips and tricks

After learning about the origins of the chocolate, it was time to move on to the process of making the actual showpiece! 

The elaborate inside fillings of the Philippine Coffee Bag chocolate showpiece had to be accomplished first. This consisted of a layered coffee mousse, chocolate cake, mango compote, and white chocolate crémeux.

CHEF DANIEL AT THE DEMO TABLE. Photo by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler

It was a technical process that was probably better understood by the bakers and chefs-in-training in the audience, but I was able to pick up nifty tips – like how to properly handle and preserve ingredients, temper chocolate, and more – if ever I decide to whip up my own chocolate creation. Luckily, all audience members were given a copy of Chef Daniel’s demo class recipes. 

We were even able to try out the cake filling afterwards. The deep flavors of Auro’s light and dark chocolate cake and ganache satisfied my sweet tooth, while the coffee bean flavor sated my caffeine cravings. Additionally, the mango, lemon, and lime layers provided a perfect zest to the flavor profile. With its light yet luscious texture, the dessert melted in my mouth and brought me straight to cacao heaven!

SAMPLE OF THE CAKE FILLING. Photo by Charlene Enriquez/Rappler
The final product: Recreating the Philippine coffee bag 

Finally, the chef demonstrated how to create the chocolate structure that would hold the cake filling. With a pre-made acetate mold, he deftly poured a thin layer of Auro milk chocolate that quickly cooled and hardened into a coffee bag shape. Showcasing his precision as an experienced chocolatier, he placed the final flourish of, lo and behold, a chocolate-made Philippine map on the front. 


Along the course of the demo class, Chef Daniel also shared his thoughts on the importance of Filipino heritage. “I have met Filipinos in the US who actively try to scrub their Filipino-ness and it’s quite disheartening,” he said. “I’m quite proud to be Filipino-American; a proud Pinoy.”

His New York store, Daniel Corpuz Chocolatier, offers Filipino-forward confectioneries with the flavors of ube, calamansi, pandan, turon, and many more – allowing him to share the Pinoy palate with the world. 

Armed with a chock-full of pastry baking knowledge and my newly-purchased stock of Auro Chocolate products, my mind and stomach were adequately full! The demo class was more enjoyable, thanks to the curious audience members and the chef’s engaging personality.

Auro Chocolate and Chef Daniel Corpuz also hosted the Bonbons and Confections Masterclasses in Enderun Colleges last March 11 and 12. 

Catch the last chance to purchase the signature bonbons during the Auro x Daniel Corpuz Pop-Up at Auro Chocolate Cafe in Bonifacio Global City this coming Friday, March 17! The pop-up will be open from 7 am to 10 pm, with orders coming on a first come, first serve basis. –

Charlene Enriquez is a Rappler intern.

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