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A Guide to the Best of Southern California : FOOD : Worth the Calories

FORGET COUNTING CALORIES for once, and go directly to Red Ribbon Bake Shop for the house specialty: the delicate, innocent-looking, triple-tiered fresh Mango Whipped Cream Cake. It fairly bursts with refreshingly tart but sweet Manila mango--a superior fruit, imported from the Philippines and known for its intensely pleasing tang.

If you crave a more exotic taste treat, try the violet-colored Ube (pronounced u-bay) Whipped Cream Cake. Powdered ube, a favorite Filipino food used in sweets, is made from naturally dehydrated purple yams that impart a purple color. Both cakes are available in single slices ($1.60), 7- or 8-inch rounds ($9.50 and $11) and sheet-cake sizes ($27 to $78). Red Ribbon Bake Shops: 6091 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 465-5999; 2550 E. Amar Road, West Covina, (818) 964-9940.


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