Jan. 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day, a holiday pretty much anyone can get behind. While you can get trendy desserts anywhere in Orange County, sometimes you just need a good, old-fashioned piece of chocolate cake. These the best places to celebrate this fine holiday.
17941 Sky Park Circle Suite E
Irvine, CA 92614
The flourless chocolate cake at Blackmarket Bakery (take-out only) was given with a bit of advice as it was drawn from the cooler: Let it warm up before eating it. It should be given with another word of advice: Have a beverage (milk, espresso, bourbon, stout) with this cake. The single-serving of this cake is heart-shaped and iced around the edge so it seems fairly unassuming. When you take your first bite of the bittersweet heap of sin, you will know why a beverage is required. It is rich not only in texture but also in flavor. It is not overpoweringly sweet, but it is dense and delicious. Whether or not you have food before this, a piece of this cake will make you feel full. If you’re looking for a chocolate high for a pretty good price ($6), go to Blackmarket.
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BRU Grill & Market
23730 El Toro Road
Lake Forest, CA 92630
BRU offers two ways to get your chocolate cake fix. The first is the BRU Frozen Chocoholic cake ($7), layered with chocolate mousse. The consistency of this cake is a lot like fudge, but not quite as heavy. The other one is the more popular one, so popular that while the dessert menu has changed three times in a year, this item has remained. It is a bourbon-infused, flourless chocolate cake topped with whipped cream and baked and served hot in a Mason jar. Take a little of the vanilla ice cream on your spoon, especially in the first couple of bites when the cake is warmest, and you’ll know what heaven tastes like. One of the stouts on the impressive beer list is a nice complement to this dessert.
26342 Oso Parkway
Mission Viejo CA 92691
The first thing you notice about the chocolate lava cake here is the presentation. It is served on a rectangular plate with a scoop of Guinness-churned ice cream, two raspberries and two blackberries. When you take your first bite, you realize that this is exactly what a chocolate lava cake should be. Namely, it is warm, and it melts in your mouth. The Guinness-churned ice cream and berries are a nice complement to the bittersweet flavor of the cake. In fact, eating a bite with a raspberry tells you how good this would be if it were drizzled with raspberry syrup. The serving size is perfect for an individual because it is not too heavy. At $9, it’s not exactly a bargain, but it sure is a fine piece of cake.
Chapter One: The Modern Local
227 N. Broadway
Santa Ana CA 92701
When it comes to chocolate cake, you’re not limited to a slice of it. Chapter One: The Modern Local offers a chocolate cake donut ($6) that is positively delicious. No, donuts aren’t just for breakfast, especially The Dude donut at this place. It is topped with white Russian icing and whipped cream, sprinkled with crushed espresso beans, and served warm. It might be the first time you eat a donut with a knife and fork, but you’ll instantly think eating donuts with your hands is for savages.
Nick’s San Clemente
213 Avenida Del Mar
San Clemente CA 92672
Nick’s serves a traditional two-layer chocolate cake with fudge frosting served at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. The touch that really makes this cake is the candied pecan halves on top. This cake is so moist, it crumbles when you touch it with a spoon. The flavor is rich and sweet, but not too sweet. This is a dessert you might want to share because it is pretty tall and also pretty pricey at $9. This pairs nicely with the Samuel Smith’s oatmeal stout (bottle only).
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Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.