Since I’d been wanting to try the Chocolate-Covered Grasshopper cake since the beginning of the summer, that’s just what I did. And I was far from disappointed. Pastry chef Cory Colton has layered chocolate fudge cake with mint Oreo chunk ice cream, and then topped it with little squidges of chocolate mousse, chocolate curls, and a dainty scoop of ice cream. Like the other Quality Cakes, it is an exquisite monument to excess.
But it’s not so much the excess that makes these cakes so memorable. It’s how effectively they carry one back to a time when all that was needed for a good birthday party was a piece of cake whose only requirement was to act as a sponge for melting ice cream — the more garishly colored, the better. Your parents typically “sourced” the ice cream from Breyer’s and the cake from a grocery store or Betty Crocker, or, if they were feeling particularly ambitious, The Joy of Cooking.
Nostalgia tends to render these foods perfect, regardless of their actual objective quality, and although Quality Cakes are made with care, they inspire that same brand of greedy, self-centered childish delight — you’ve got this cake and ice cream all to yourself, and it’s rapidly melting, so you’d better eat it all now, before someone takes away your plate.
Here, of course, you get a fancy wooden spoon and access to Central Park. And if there’s a better defense against the assault of adulthood than sitting on a bench on a sunny day and slowly eating an ice cream cake, I have yet to find it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 2, 2011