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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Smart

Cake Review Season 1, Episode 1: Chocolate-on-Chocolate Birthday Cake


First of all, that’s a lie. I have been reviewing cakes (and by reviewing I mean eating) since I was old enough to nag my mom to let me lick the beaters. But that was in the 70s, before Facebook existed and before I became so publicly pro-cake.


We had the opportunity last night to share a birthday dinner with my sister and her husband. Since this is a cake review, I won’t go into detail about how delicious the dinner was, but I will say I ate embarrassing amounts of salmon and roasted potatoes. Now back to the cake.


The cake had incredible lift. It was tall and light and moist (the only acceptable time to use that word is when you’re talking about cakes). Best of all, you tasted chocolate and not sugar. A lot of cakes sacrifice flavor by adding sweetness. This cake had not need for such folly. It had its own personality. It wasn’t hiding in a ginormous overcoat of sugar. And the frosting… Oh, my gosh, the frosting. Chocolate buttercream that was so glossy, and so dark, it was like velvet. If velvet were freaking delicious. And I mean…it might be, but I’ve never actually tried to eat velvet, so there we are.


I consider the foundational cake to be chocolate, with chocolate frosting.

I consider the foundational cake to be chocolate, with chocolate frosting. I stan many varieties, but my first cake love is this one. It was born of tiny kitchens with my my sister and me staring at our mom’s progress (just like my niece is staring in these photos). We didn’t have a lot of money, so birthdays were simple events. But we got to pick what cake we wanted Mom to make. I always asked for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. We celebrated birthdays in Army quarters across Germany, in Texas and California and Massachusetts, and that chocolate cake was always on the menu when my gawky self turned another year older.


The soft lensed, slow-mo historical montage in my brain meant the chef had my vote before we even tasted his creation. The chef in question was David, the birthday boy himself.


Ordinarily I am very against the birthday person having to make their own cake, because (1) It’s their birthday, damnit! And (2) Making a cake for someone else’s birthday shows them you love them (see paragraph 4 above).

But this cake was so unbelievably delicious that I am writing an exception into my rule: that dude can, and should, make every single birthday cake in their household from now on. At least the ones I get invited to help eat.



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