What is the Black Cat Bakery & Cafe trying to pull? Their Black Cat “muffin” sits innocently among the rest of their baked goods, looking for all the world like a typical muffin. Looks can be deceiving. A black hole of dark chocolate with a tangy sour cream center, it's so good, it seems insulting to casually lump it in with other muffins.
Black Cat recently opened on Fairfax in the former Mäni's space, while the previous occupants moved to Beverly Hills and reemerged as Mäni's on Maple, which has since shuttered. The Black Cat is as cramped as Mäni's ever was, but it has a sort of classy, laid-back charm that suits the area. It also has solid coffee and house-made baked goods, the backbone of any enduring neighborhood cafe: Brownies, cookies, coffee cake, scones and, naturally, muffins.
We can fall back on claims of wholesomeness (It has fiber! And blueberries!), but muffins are ultimately an excuse to eat cake for breakfast. Why kid ourselves? The Black Cat's signature muffin is a roided-out Ding-Dong with better DNA and a lot of ambition.
It's heavy on the chocolate. It's large. (Too large for one person? Probably.) Tucked among other baked goods, it looks deceptively plain. But it's not just better than most other muffins: it's head and shoulders above most cupcakes.