The subject of cakes, like politics, is a contentious one. You may have a favorite local bakery, and we encourage you to support the patisserie in your neighborhood. But the places below are worthy of your consideration and have developed national reputations for their exceptional cakes.
Ultimate Coconut Cake, Peninsula Grill, Charleston, S.C
Price: $130, plus about $160 shipping.
This is the cake world LeBron James, with which all the other people compare themselves. It is expertly built with a dozen coconut frosting layers and sturdy cake, then showered with crunchy toasted coconut to enhance the flavor. It comes in at 12 pounds, which is one reason why shipping it costs about $ 160.
The Grown-Up Girl Scout Cookie
Mint Chocolate Chip, The Cake Bake Shop, Indianapolis
Price: $115, plus $17 shipping.
Favorite by hands-down. It’s a perfect cake literally, with the power to turn mint haters into mint lovers. The cake itself is flawless: chocolate, moist but not wet, covered in a delightful, soft, green frosting with a pool of inside chocolate chips.
Tiramisu cake, Veniero’s, New York
Price: $48.50, plus $18 shipping.
Veniero’s 125-year-old East Village pastry spot has turned the Italian dessert played out into a superior cake. The sponge layer (in a good way) is dominated by the mocha cream, and the handmade ladyfingers that ring the cake are good even on their own. Tied in a charming red ribbon, the cake arrives.
The Chocolate on Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Layer Cake, We Take the Cake, Fort Lauderdale, Fla
Price: $48, plus $30 shipping.
This is a good one in a world overrun with options for chocolate cake. It is an intense chocolate dessert like truffles that threads the needle between too sweet and too sophisticated.
The Compromise Cake
Doberge Cake, Joe Gambino’s Bakery, New Orleans
Price: $45.50, plus about $38 shipping.
This is a great guilty pleasure if you have a soft spot for supermarket cakes. It’s a secret recipe, but you get layers of cake covered in fondant filled with buttercream. In lemon, chocolate, or both, you can get it. The cake tastes like lemon only slightly and almost nothing like chocolate, but it’s absurdly fun.
The Social Media Star
Chocolate Malt Cake, Cake Monkey, Los Angeles
Price: $73 for a box of nine, free shipping.
These individual cakes look like they exist for social media, but they’re terrific. Each has layers of chocolate and vanilla cake coated with a deep chocolate frosting infused with nutty-flavored malt. The triple-berry crumble also hits the spot, with a strong sharp hit of fruit.