10 Best Pieces of Chocolate Cake in Los Angeles

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Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 6:00 AM
click to enlarge Proof - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Proof
Chocolate layer cake, what's not to love? It's a wholly original American creation and a truly classic confection. As a celebratory dessert, we're practically programmed to see it lit up with candles at birthday parties, but rarely seem to order it as an everyday sweet. The three layers of cake and frosting version that we all know and love didn't really become a standard in homes or bakeries until the 1930s; ready-to-make mixes were introduced nationally in the mid '40s, widening the appeal. And then in 1948 the first stand-alone chocolate cake mix hit the shelves, instantly becoming a top-seller. But you don't need to bake an entire cake (from scratch or a box) to indulge.

To make our 10 best list, the cake and frosting had to be chocolate and available by the piece. For that reason, a few of this town's best bakeries (Lark, Short Cake and Valerie Confections, where you have to buy a whole cake to take a bite) weren't considered. Nor were chains - although we can recommend the version at The Cheesecake Factory, if you're so inclined. Our nation's favorite cake truly is best when freshly-made and served at room temperature. The ideal crumb is moist, the frosting rich and creamy - and utterly chocolatey. Check out ten of the very best.
click to enlarge Sweet Lady Jane - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Sweet Lady Jane

Sweet Lady Jane

This incredibly popular treat should be the first choice for anyone who wants a touch of cake along with her frosting. The enormous slice is more than seven inches tall and cut five inches across at the wide end. It has three layers of sweet, dry cake with a dense Callabaut chocolate buttercream that's paved on thicker than the cake itself. The whole colossal thing is dipped in a layer of bright chocolate ganache and served ice cold. If there's such a thing as hearty cake, this is it. 8360 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 653-7145.


click to enlarge Alcove - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Alcove

9. Alcove Cafe and Bakery

There are myriad cakes and pies to choose from at Alcove, but what you want to zero in on is the devil's food cake. The dark chocolate, whipped cream and fudge frosting dessert has a slight tang to it, thanks to some sour cream cleverly worked into the mix. There's a sharp note of cocoa and a lingering scent of vanilla that lures you in before the wham-bam of silky chocolate soothes your palate. Paired with some of their excellent coffee, this may be that breakfast cake you're been looking for. 1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 644-0100.

click to enlarge Erewhon - RACHAEL NARINS
  • Rachael Narins
  • Erewhon

8. Erewhon

For this vegan slice, made without the usual trappings of milk and butter, the talented pastry staff at the Mid-City Erewhon market have created a cake that truly satisfies. What it may be lacking in moistness - which is just a fact with vegan cakes - it more than makes up for with markedly intense chocolate flavor and lushness. Made with organic, unsweetened cocoa and evaporated cane juice, it's a stunning looking slice that more than passes muster. 7660 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 937-0777.

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