Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chocolate Cake Taste Test

This taste test had been a brainchild of mine for some time. It sounded like a really good idea at first...but we were way wrong about it being a good idea...it was a very painful and overwhelming idea! I will explain how later.

Matt and his sister LOVE chocolate cake. When she was in Texas this past October around her birthday, we invited her down to celebrate by having a taste test of some of our favorite Chocolate cakes. Additionally we had wanted to try one of the chocolate cakes in town that we hadn't before and figured this might be a good time to do so. We chose three fancy places and one normal place that we knew had good chocolate cake as a "control". We had fancy score sheets and I made sure they didn't know where each slice was from so we could control as many variables as possible.

I will start with the worst...and boy was it bad.

We had heard amazing things about The Chocolate Bar here in Houston. They had been written up in several magazines for having wonderful chocolate desserts. Matt went down and asked for a slice for the most popular chocolate cake they had.

The scores for this ranged from 19 to 12 on a 30 point range. The icing was flat, the taste was "eh", and I wrote that "it left me wanting more from the cake, not more bites of cake". This was a really dry piece of cake too and we definitely expected more from a $11 piece of cake.

The next best (and nowhere near as bad as the previous) was the cake from Cheddar's. This was our control cake and we knew it would be good.

This cake exactly served it's purpose. It is a decent cake and one that you could see your mom or grandma serving to you. It is spongy, the icing and cake complement each other, and as Matt said it is "good, but not exceptional". It certainly knocked the socks of the previous cake with scores ranging from 18 to 26 and was nicely priced at around $6. It also gets brownie points (which is odd because it is chocolate cake) for being accessible in many places and for being served with ice cream.

The next two were a bit of a toss up. One we all decided was better as Chocolate CAKE, the other was better as a Chocolate DESSERT.

For the better cake we chose Taste of Texas.

This cake is amazing...as you can see in the picture there are Chocolate Straws that are usually acting as "flying buttresses" to hold the cake up on the plate. It tastes like cake, it is soft and moist, it has quality chocolate in that there are hints of fruity flavors, it has a good icing to cake ratio and the icing is good in and of itself. There was depth of flavor in the cake and you felt satisfied in looking for a good chocolate cake. The scores for this one were 28, 28, and 29. This cake puts you back almost $13.

The better of the desserts though was The Palm.

It is almost difficult to describe the cake from The Palm. The cake is so soft and the layers between cake and icing so thin that it really melds together. This is definitely a dark chocolate flavor so if you are not a dark chocolate fan, beware. A good amount of icing is concentrated on top which made it loose points with Matt and his sister because they like a lot of icing and they want it distributed through the cake. I am not as big of a fan of icing so it got extra points for this with me. This cake is so rich, so soft, and so intense that it almost hurts. Beware if you are prone to migraines triggered by chocolate...just smelling this cake could throw you overboard. McKay killed this one's ratings by giving it a 21 and Matt and I gave it a 26 and a 29 respectively. This one does cost you are pretty penny at $17.

All in all, if you had to ask us which one was best we would have to clarify what you are looking for...a crazy intense chocolate dessert points to The Palm. A really good piece of chocolate cake would mean a trip to Taste Of Texas. Either way...stay far, far away from The Chocolate Bar.

Why was this a bad idea you ask...this was way too much chocolate cake even for the three of us and we barely made a dent in it. All three of us felt very off the next day from trying bite after bite of our favorites. We needed at least three more people tasting with us and a little more self control. I am sure there are more good cakes to taste in Houston though, so I will keep you posted if we try again!

1 comment:

Mmatthew Howard said...

If we were to do it again, I would like for us to leave the pieces while rather than portioning out servings. It messed up the presentation and some pieces didn't have the intended cake/icing ratio. I think this hurt The Palm for me.