“Never talk money, politics or religion” in polite conversation, they say (whoever "they" are). Add “cake” to that list — opinions on the subject quickly fire up debate on opposing sides. For some, it’s all about the icing. Whether you prefer a thick, grainy buttercream, an airy, whipped frosting, or no icing at all, all camps are represented here in the interest of equal time.
1.Stephan Pyles: Heaven and Hell Cake
Although this is legitimately one of the best cakes ever, the recipe is no secret. (Among other places, you can find it here.) Any old time you feel like it, you can whip up the double layers of angel food cake, devil’s food cake and airy peanut butter mousse. You’ll just need to clear your schedule for about a week to tend to a few teeeensy details, like freezing the cake for a couple of hours while you whisk the milk chocolate ganache icing, refrigerating it for two more hours before serving. Two hours you’ll spend, by the way, preparing a fresh raspberry sorbet for garnish. Sound like a lot of work? It is. And after all that preparation, you’ll probably wind up with something closer to a Pinterest fail. Why bother? The fine people at Stephan Pyles have toiled away in the kitchen so you can kick back at the bar and simply enjoy it.
Stephan Pyles, 1807 Ross Ave., stephanpylesrestaurant.com
2. Zizikis: Baklava Ice Cream Cake
Thank you, Ziziki’s, for the mythical creation known as baklava ice cream cake. Neither ice cream, nor baklava, nor cake, yet all three simultaneously, it is one of the holiest of trinities. The chewy phyllo dough crust contrasts beautifully with creamy layers of vanilla bean ice cream and cinnamon-spiced chopped nuts, all drizzled in syrup. This one is for you, people who scrape the icing off birthday cake in disgust.
Ziziki's, 11661 Preston Road, ziziki's.com
3. Haute Sweets Patisserie: Flourless Chocolate Cake
Stop by the tiny Lake Highlands bakery and ogle the showcase filled with a daily selection of treats. If you’re a serious chocolate lover, you’ll home in on the flourless chocolate cake, which is both lovely to behold and to savor. With no flour to muddle the ingredients, the silky, rich chocolate flavor gets the spotlight.
Haute Sweets Patisserie, 10230 Northwest Highway, hautesweetspatisserie.com
4. Cake Bar: Any and all cake, but especially strawberry
The line spills out the door of this quaint Trinity Groves spot, even on weeknights. Why? Maybe it’s the alluring display window that beckons, or the wide variety of flavors (including a nutty one called "hummingbird"). One thing’s for sure: This place is a cake lover’s dream. Frosting fans will be satisfied by the generous slathering between layers and topping each cake. If you have trouble narrowing down your options, go for the super moist strawberry cake, layered with jam and topped with fresh berries.
Cake Bar, 3011 Gulden Lane, No. 117, cakebardallas.com
5. Breadwinners Café: Chocolate Seduction Cake
Feeling indecisive? Order this slice and you won’t have to decide between white, milk and dark chocolate. Creamy, fluffy layers of frosting contrast with a thick brownie base that rings familiar to fans of the dense, rich flavor of Miles of Chocolate.
Breadwinners Cafe, 3301 McKinney Ave., breadwinnerscafe.com
6. Del Frisco’s Grille: Lemon Doberge Cake
You may not find this cake of lore on the menu, but it’s usually available upon request. With its six dense layers of buttery, subtle lemony tartness and thick coat of buttercream frosting, this cake is meant for sharing.
Del Frisco's Grille, 3232 McKinney Ave., www.delfriscosgrille.com
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7. Whiskey Cake: Whiskey Cake
The only way to improve upon whiskey is to turn it into cake (and vice versa). The geniuses at Whiskey Cake figured this out and, through their generosity, we may reap the benefits. The moist toffee torte, accompanied by whipped cream and bourbon Anglaise, gets a little kick from a peppered pecan topping. Pair it with your pick from over 40 types of whiskey.
Whiskey Cake, 3601 Dallas Parkway, whiskey-cake.com
8. Mesero: Cinco Leches Cake
Oh, sure — you’ve heard of tres leches cake. You’ve probably even tried La Duni’s cuatro leches cake. But have you lived — I mean, really, truly lived — without knowing the wonder of cinco leches in your cake? Grab a seat on the greenery-draped patio at Mesero and discover what you’ve been missing. Their version, saturated with whole milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, condensed milk and dulce de leche, may just be the best in Dallas.
Mesero, 2822 N. Henderson Ave., meseromiguel.com
9.Velvet Taco: Red Velvet Cake
Most people probably don’t wander into this Knox-Henderson late-night joint in search of cake, but maybe they should. The big hunk of moist, double-layered cake with cream cheese frosting is served with a side of sweetened condensed milk so you can garnish it according to your fancy. Unlike some versions of red velvet cake, there’s no food coloring aftertaste to get in the way of your cake fantasy fulfillment. Is cake a hangover preventative? Let’s just say it is so we can eat more cake.
Velvet Taco, 3012 N. Henderson Ave., velvettaco.com/dallas/
10. Chocolate Secrets: Sea Salt Caramel Cake
Gazing at the cake display case here, you’ll want to give each one of them a loving home. Whether you choose red velvet, carrot cake or the Eva Andrea (fruit-filled cream cake), you won’t be disappointed. Those who savor a bit of saltiness with their sweets will be especially delighted by the sea salt caramel cake with its moist layers of chocolate cake, airy sea salt caramel frosting and creamy chocolate mousse-like top coat. With late-night hours, an intimate setting and Champagne at the ready, the place awaits you for your next special occasion.
Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave., mychocolatesecrets.com