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Aug 18, 2007 01:49 PM

chocolate cake?

I have a craving for chocolate cake this weekend but being german, I'm really not interested in the oversugared crud the usual suspects offer. I'm willing to go to a hotel or bakery a little bit out of the way if that's what it takes. anyone want to recommend a great bakery? a selection is nice but the boy's gotta have at least one slice of chocolate cake.

I'm in the loop but can use the cta...

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  1. Trader Joe's flourless cake is pretty damn good if you don't get any other recommendations.

    1. Try a slice of chocolate cake from Portillo's.

      8 Replies
        1. re: LAWoman

          I'll second the recommendation for Portillo's; I would not have believed it could be sooo good, until I tried it.

          1. re: marciab

            I was highly underwhelmed by the slice of choc cake I got from Portillos per many recs. The frosting was pretty sugary, and the cake itself was simply a decent box cake brand. The frosting was very reminiscent of a store bought brand as well. That being said, it WAS good, but I could have made it at home which underwhelmed me. Just my .02 - as the OP is looking for something not "oversugared." Portillos might underwhelm you as well.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Portillo's chocolate cake turns magically delicious when you put it at the bottom of a chocolate milk shake. I think it used to be on the menu, but not any more. You can still order it, though.

              I wonder if the Swedish Bakery has good chocolate cake. Most of their other baked goods are...good.

              Swedish Bakery
              5348 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

              1. re: rubinow

                I thought about recommending Swedish Bakery as well. Although it's a good ways from the loop, but I would bet that their cake is pretty darn good. The last thing I got from there was a custard filled donut. Ok, I am 6', and 250 lbs. I could BARELY finish this one donut. It weighed at least 1lb, and was filled with REAL custard. Not sugary sweet, either. This is a place that takes pride in their offerings. If you're up that way, I'd highly suggest making a visit.

                1. re: gordeaux

                  I do not recall seeing a chocolate cake (I assume you mean a chocolate layer cake) at Swedish Bakery, although they list several kinds on their website at I know they have various flavors of petit fours and smaller cookies and pastries which are chocolate-based. There are other things I love Swedish Bakery for, like their marzariners and their marzipan cakes.

                  If you go there, you should also stop at Pasticceria Natalina, the Sicilian bakery on the next block north. They might not have anything chocolate, either, but the Sicilian pastries they *do* have are equally wonderful.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    If you are going for Swedish Bakery's chocolate cake go for the chocolate fudge cake not just the plain chocolate.

          2. re: LAWoman

            I heard that the Portillo's recipe is a box mix with Mayonaise added (Pilsbury Chocolate fudge +3 eggs + 1 C water + 1C Mayo). It gives it a super moist texture. The frosting is also out of a can. (Pilsbury chocolate fudge frosting)

          3. Another thumbs down for Portillo's cake. It was OK; the description of a good box mix cake was dead on. I have been looking for a good chocolate cake as I have an aunt who took the family secret to the grave with her. I am going to throw out BitterSweet. Again, I think it is a place that others find much more appealing than I do, but I am wondering if they do a good chocolate cake? Also, maybe there is a coffee house or other spot that serves a great cake. Is there a really good one on the chocolate buffett at the Penninsula?? Inquiring chocoholics are wondering.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fryrose

              Well, I'm not sure what is meant by "chocolate cake" in the first place. Is it a classic, chocolate (or devil's food) layer cake? Is it a flourless chocolate cake? Can it be something else?

              For a classic chocolate layer cake, the one at Maggiano's is pretty darn good, IMHO. And big, too.

              The Chocolate Bar at the Pen is a whole 'nother matter. This starts at 8:30 pm on Friday and Saturday evenings, and last I checked, it was around $32-34 or thereabouts. They have small portion sizes of 30-40 different chocolate desserts on their all-you-can-eat buffet. They include cakes, and mousses, and cookies, and chocolate covered fruit, and hot chocolate (in winter), and lots more. They vary from okay to wonderful. I don't recall seeing a classic chocolate layer cake there - but even if they did, they would be serving it in the form of little tartlets or petit fours, rather than a huge slice. If you really enjoy chocolate desserts, you should go there, at least once in your life. ;)

              1. re: nsxtasy

                nsxtasy and I have disagreed in the past, but I can do nothing but jump up and down and second the Peninsula chocolate bar. If I could manage not to gain tons of weight and die from a coronoary, I would go every weekend. YUM! It's like being at a wedding with a phenomenal sweet table but not having to eat the dry filet and rubber chicken. True, there are always a couple of misses on the table, but for the most part, I love it. GO THERE!

            2. Another idea that brings me back to childhood is the Bill Knapp's chocolate cake. Ah, you say, but Bill Knapp's went out of business years ago. To that I answer, a very enterprising executive at Awery's Bakery in Michigan bought the recipe and now (I am cringing as I type the retailer) you can get the old school plain awesomeness of a Bill Knapp's chocolate cake at most Wal-Mart stores in the Midwest.

              1. We just had Trader Joe's Chocolate Lava Cake for a Sunday night goody and were saying it tasted like dessert at an expensive restaurant. Keep it frozen then zap it for 45 seconds; the cake is velvety and intensely chocolate and the inside is fudgey and liquidy. We had it with raspberries and whipped cream. Could not have been better. Look for box with two individual cakes; dessert freezer case.