January 27 – Chocolate Cake Day
Now, this entry could get very, very serious. As any New Yorker knows, we’re incredibly opinionated when it comes to quintessential cuisine and dishes–don’t tell any other New Yorker what the “best” food is unless you’re planning to get into a fight. And, while it’s not the most hot-button New York food item in debate (those lean towards the more savory, ethnic foods that have become New York City staples), the chocolate cake is one of the most popular food items to discuss. There can be so many varieties of cake–dark, milk, white, bittersweet, spongy, flourless, vegan, and the list goes on–and so many qualities to base a judgement upon. There are just about as many chocolate cake recipes out there as there are New Yorker opinions on where to get the best one!
While I can’t go and list the best chocolate cakes of every variety here–gosh, I’d be here all year, and I have other national food days to get to!–I’ve put together some of the more interesting varieties of chocolate cake that hit the top of critics’ and patron’s lists.
The Soutine Bakery on the Upper West Side makes their signature cake, the Concord, which is made up of chocolate meringue and dark chocolate mousse. It’s light but still very rich, and hides off the beaten path of both the countless baked chocolate cakes and dense flourless cakes alike. Definitely a notion to check out for those who like their chocolate a little unconventional.
104 W 70th St
“Soutine started by late Barry Rosenberg was initially a catering company that was turned into a bakery. It doles out some of the most authentic croissants, fruit tarts and a mean chocolate Concord cake, a combination of meringue and mousse that has people coming back to this place.”–MagForWomen.com
“Disks of chocolate meringue slathered in chocolate mousse. Everything crunches, and then melts into a decadent mass. Three layers of alternating meringue and mousse—dark, lush, and piled high. The top surface is finished with a final mousse smear and meringue sticks. One whole mini-cake (which is on the larger side of mini-cakes) runs a very reasonable $5.”–Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The Concord is a perfectly-executed dark chocolate mousse, dark chocolate meringue cake. It is heavenly and rich, but still light.”–A.E.G.
“I have lived on the Upper West Side for 20 years and Soutine is my favorite bakery in the entire city. The “Concord” chocolate cake is a chocolate lovers fantasy. Chocolate mousse between layers of chocolate meringue.”–Andrew R.
If you’re looking for something a little more indulgent, something more sinful–a cake that’ll stick to your ribs and make you feel like you’ve ingested a chocolate cake food baby–try Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side. (You can also find lots of their cakes at Dean & Delucas around the city, but I suggest you head to the home base itself for the best, freshest cakes!) Their Brooklyn Blackout Cake–which also comes in cupcake form–is thick, moist, and everything you could want to satisfy a chocolate emergency. Chocolate layer cake, chocolate pudding, and chocolate frosting on top–how can you go wrong?
Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Ave (between 85th St & 86th St)
“This dark and luscious number never fails to leave me intoxicated in a sugar coma, post-consumption. Regardless, I return to it over and over again. And no, there are never regrets. Tiers of chocolate cake layered with chocolate pudding, finished off with frosting and a smattering of cake crumbs. Too sweet? Of course! But in just the right ways that you would expect and want.”–MidtownLunch.com
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“The Brooklyn Blackout cupcake at Two Little Red Hens is the best chocolate cupcake in town. Featuring rich chocolate cake, icing and filling, this cupcake will knock your socks off.”–Erica S.
“My goodness. My taste buds were blown away. For starters, their blackout cupcake was the best blackout ever! It was fudgey, gooey, cakey, yummy and every thing you could ever relate to chocolate, in just one bite. Yes I said one bite. My god I’m salivating just thinking about it yummmm.”–Sara A.
And now for something completely different: in case you’re looking for something a little extra to go alongside your dessert, a little extra flavor to complement the chocolate-upon-chocolate the national food day prescribes, check out Sabarsky, the Neue Galerie’s Austrian cafe with a serious dessert menu. One of their cakes is the Rehrücken: a chocolate marzipan cake with orange confiture. The sweet tanginess of the orange really works well with the marzipan, which melts in your mouth for a fantastic chocolatey experience. Perfect for the New York foodie looking to complete their National Food Day daily pilgrimege, but isn’t into the rich cakes listed above.
1048 5th Ave
“Another of our favorite items at Cafe Sabarsky is the Rehrücken, a chocolate marzipan cake with homemade orange confiture. You’ll love it!”–NYCTourist.com
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Deceptively heavy on the appearance but meltingly light on the palate, the chocolate cake was an interesting sensation of density and lightness. First the exterior ganache would melt to coat the marzipan chocolate cake inside, whose initial thickness on the tongue would be warmed to a velvety smoothness by your tongue rolled the piece in enjoyment. The zesty orange confiture stood out against the dark chocolate, and yet it was mindful of the harmony of the whole.”–Au G.
“My friend went with Rehrueken, which in my studies it is said to resemble a rack of venison with marzipan and almonds sticking out to appear as garlic. Regardless, it was a delicious cake, which is saying something considering I usually avoid plain chocolate cakes at all costs; orange confiture made it even better.”–Liz E.
Do you have a favorite kind of chocolate cake you’d like to add to the list? Let us know about it in the comments!