Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dessert | The Best Chocolate Cake in the World

During the rainy afternoon this past Sunday, I insisted that Marcus and I go to this small little dessert café in Nolita (i.e., north of Little Italy) cheekily called The Best Chocolate Cake in the World. It is the "first American outlet of a São Paolo, Brazil-based mini-chain" started by Chef Carlos Bras Lopes (the name is simply translated from its Brazilian counterpart, O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo). I've passed many a time during my walks through SoHo (I'm quite the frequenter at its neighboring patisserie, Ceci-Cela, for its famous almond croissants), with my curiosity growing each and every time, wondering if the chocolate cake was seriously the best in the world, living up to the café's boastful, audacious name.

I thought the sandwich board sign outside the café was well presented--I love the chalk markers on black! Plus, Marcus cleverly pointed out that the gelato offerings are supplied by il laboratorio del gelato--another winning point in my book!

The mirror-and-sign-in-one above the café counter, reading the Brazilian name, O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo!

Pastry treat boxes!

The mirror tables in the cozy but limited seating area inside the small café!

I love the vintage, Parisian décor inside! Cushion-quilted bench, metal curved chairs, and small circular tables!

I ordered the bittersweet slice of the famed chocolate cake, a la mode with vanilla gelato from il laboratorio del gelato. The bittersweet cake is made from 70% cacao, making it slightly more bittersweet than the other offering, the traditional cake with 53% cacao. All of the café's cakes are made using Valrhona chocolate (a French chocolate manufacturer) and are careful flourless constructions of crispy meringue and airy chocolate mousse, topped with a luscious chocolate glaze. Your mouth is already starting water? Well, it should be, because this generous sliver from The Best Chocolate Cake in the World certainly lived up to its name!

It was lighter than the flourless chocolate cakes that I'm used to in the U.S., which isn't to say that this cake puts those to shame! I love both types of cake in different ways. While the typical flourless chocolate cake I've had is usually dense in cake texture and very savory, the cakes offered by Chef Bras Lopes are very light and dense from the chocolate glaze, not from cake texture, which can attributed to the use of meringue and mousse. The vanilla gelato complemented the cake very well as there is already so much chocolate in the cake. The richness of the cake had a good balance, without being too sweet, too chocolate-y, or too cake-y.

Findings: I absolutely enjoyed the cake from The Best Chocolate Cake in the World. Its cake can arguably win that title with its lovely combination of meringue, mousse, and Valrhona chocolate. I highly recommend ordering something to complement a sliver of cake, like a scoop of gelato that I opted for or even slices of fresh strawberries. Making a stop here mostly made up for the rainy weather we had that day. I'm already dreaming about my next visit to this hidden gem. Plus, I think I've found my next birthday cake!

Price point: $6.50 for a slice of cake, $2.50 for a scoop of gelato.

--March 5, 2011

The Best Chocolate Cake in the World
[O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate do Mundo]
55A Spring Street
New York, NY 10012

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