Zake's Cafe  

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Zake’s Café

444 Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA

You should know

This shop used to be located across the street from my church, and the owner’s daughter sometimes went to my Sunday School. Since then, the shop moved, the church closed, and I developed a strong dislike of white chocolate, raspberries, and caramel.

So?,/h2>Sadly, that last bit is all too relevant. Chris and I wanted to go out for dessert, and we narrowed our options down to this place, and another place in Center City. Taking into account parking, the two trips would end up taking the same amount of time, and my parents spoke very highly of Zake’s Cakes (the café’s old name).

So, we drove out to Fort Washington and took our seats, perusing the dessert menu. Every item on the dessert menu, however, had white chocolate, raspberries, or both. We ordered tea – peach for Chris, Darjeeling for me – and tried to decide.

The waitress very patiently let me look over the display case to see if there was something I might want that wasn’t listed on the menu. There were two things that did not contain white chocolate or raspberries: the éclair, which I can get absolutely anywhere, or the chocolate decadence ("Chocolate cake, filled with caramel butter cream, topped with chocolate ganache icing." Emphasis mine) No, thank you.

I ended up ordering the coconut cake ("Light vanilla genoise, filled with fresh coconut and whipped cream, iced with coconut butter cream, topped with toasted coconut"), as it only uses the white chocolate as a garnish, while Chris ordered the black and white gateaux ("Light chocolate genoise, filled with white chocolate mousse, topped with vanilla butter cream and chocolate shavings"). Our tea was delivered.

Mine tasted odd. I idly checked the tea bag, and as it turns out, I wasn’t given Darjeeling. I was given chamomile. Now, I don’t mind chamomile, but it certainly wasn’t what I had ordered.

Enter the cakes. The cake itself wasn’t bad. Mine was a bit heavy, while Chris’s was a bit mild, but they had good flavor. The icing, on the other hand…

Both our cakes had butter cream icing. At least, that’s what the menu said. Apparently, “butter cream” is code for “a stick of butter with virtually nothing added to it.”

Sounds tasty and decadent, right? Well, sure… for the first bite. Then, you realize you’re eating butter. I only finished half of my cake, and felt nauseated. And then I brought the rest home, because I paid $7 (all slices of cake were $7) for it. In fact, I need to go finish that thing. I’ll let you know if it’s better once I’ve scraped the icing off…

(Laura exits to go eat cake…)

OK, I’m back. And I’m not impressed. The cake is not bad by any stretch, but it’s certainly not worth driving out to Fort Washington, paying $7, and then separating the layers and scraping off all the icing.


Don’t bother
OK, maybe the descriptions sounded good to you. Maybe you love raspberries and white chocolate and butter, or maybe you live right by there and consider mediocrity a fair trade-off for convenience (I feel that way about a cheesesteak place that will remain nameless). But I want a place that has variety wide enough to please a large chunk of the people, a large chunk of the time; a recipe that doesn’t make me literally feel sick to my stomach; and a waitstaff that gets my drink order right. The first on that list may be too much to ask, but the latter two certainly aren’t.

The rest of the Internet

Hmm, not much out there, though if you go to the standard review sites, it seems people like the entrees better than the desserts. Worth keeping in mind.
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