This week Patch's Facebook friends sent me out on a Chowdown mission to eat chocolate cake. Let me take a second to say thank you! Based on your feedback, our choices were Portillo's in Tinley Park, Cooper's Hawk in Orland Park, and the Jewel bakery in Oak Forest. After pouring myself a huge glass of milk, I grabbed a fork and dug in.
Portillo's, Tinley Park
As long as I've been around, people have talked about Portillo's hot dogs, Italian beef—and the chocolate cake. I must say I was hesitant to try it for a long time, as it's no secret that their cake stays moist because they use mayonnaise. Me? I'm not a fan of mayo in any way, shape or form, and it freaked me out a bit. I've since tried it a few times and it is delicious. As always, though, I was judging on this exact slice and not reputation.
The best part about it was the fluffy texture of the cake. It really balanced out the creaminess of the chocolate frosting. Sometimes if a frosting is too rich, it can ruin everything, but also too little can make you feel like you're just eating a muffin. With just a thin layer in the middle, this one came up a little short.
Thumbs Up: Fluffy, moist cake.
Thumbs Down: Could use less frosting on top, more in the middle.
Cooper's Hawk, Orland Park
As a member of their wine club, I frequent this restaurant and enjoy their menu very much. Problem is, I'm usually so full that I never have room for dessert and I've never tried their cake. If you look at the picture, you'll notice that their chocolate frosting is layered several times within the slice. If you love chocolate, this is a form of Zen. In fact, it was almost more like a dark chocolate—not too rich, with that slight bitterness that I'm a huge fan of. Because of the sheer amount of frosting (on and in), the cake itself kind of gets lost in the mix. Taking a bite almost reminded me more of chocolate ice cream.
Thumbs Up: Fantastic, rich chocolate flavor.
Thumbs Down: Wish there was more cake in this slice of cake.
Jewel Bakery, Oak Forest
I get the impression people might think Jewel's bakery is a weak choice, but my past experience as an employee (way back in high school) and customer (now that I'm a grown-up) tells me they actually make some really good stuff. I grabbed the triple chocolate fudge cake, and I could tell just by looking that it was going to be decadent. At first bite, I was almost overwhelmed by the thick, heavy layer of frosting on top. It was so rich that it almost cancelled out the actual cake. For the second bite, I took a little less frosting and more cake and the flavor evened out very well. The cake was fluffy, kind of like Portillo's, but the frosting was a bit too sugary for my tastes.
Thumbs Up: If you take a little frosting off, great flavor and balance.
Thumbs Down: Sugary frosting. And I had to modify the cake to my taste.
And the Sweetest Slice Title Goes To....
This one came down to the wire between Portillo's and Cooper's Hawk. The pure chocolate-fiend side of me leans toward CH, but the cake lover leans toward Portillo's. But as this is a cake showdown, this week's winner is Portillo's.
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