Saturday, July 18, 2009

Quest for the Best: Cake Shop Review

Location: 152 Ludlow Street, NY, NY

Website: Official Cake Shop site

Price: Prices vary, but the Peanut Butter Bomb is around $5

Atmosphere: Cake Shop is a bizarre blend of a bakery, a coffee shop, and an indie performance space. It’s tiny and cozy with a selection of mismatched tables and chairs if you decide to enjoy a snack on the premises. At night it becomes a showcase for various local and/or independent bands, and there’s usually a cover charge.

My Review: I didn’t go to Cake Shop for a concert, so I can’t attest to how well it works as a performance space or how talented the bands they book are. I went to Cake Shop for one reason and one reason only: To try their famous Peanut Butter Bomb that I had heard so much about.

During the day, Cake Shop functions like a basic coffee shop; there are various beverages and baked goods (most of them of the vegan variety) to be had and some haphazard seating if you decide to stay. I traveled down to the Lower East Side on a sunny Sunday afternoon, so the joint was sparsely filled and I could enjoy my treat without the annoyance of the usual coffee shop-dwelling hipsters (and hipster wannabes). I had heard various raves about the Peanut Butter Bomb, and once seeing it in all its glory in the display case I understood what all the fuss was about.

The Bomb (as I call it now that we are intimate friends) is essentially chocolate and peanut butter nirvana. It’s a thick layer of chocolate cake, then a thin layer of fluffy, whipped peanut butter goodness, a thin layer of cake, a huge tower of the pb stuff, all covered with a soft chocolate ganache, and drizzled with liquefied peanut butter. The whole thing is assembled as a large cake and when you order it they cut you off a generous slab. I’m under the impression that the Bomb is considered a vegan dessert, though I may be wrong, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, it’s delicious and worth every diet-destroying calorie. My only complaint is that the layers could be more evenly distributed, so you don’t have to work so hard to make sure every forkful has some chocolate and some peanut butter. But it’s a minor inconvenience and I’ll probably revisit Cake Shop for another Bomb in about six months—aka, how long it’ll take me to burn off the calories from this one.

Bottom Line: Cake Shop is a great stop for something delicious when it’s not crowded. I wouldn’t want to be crammed in there when a show is going on, but during the day it’s chill and the Peanut Butter Bomb is good excuse for buying larger pants.

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