Is This For Real? 'Healthy' Chocolate Cake at True Food Kitchen and The Compound Grill
Forget acai berries and pomegranate. Chocolate is our "superfood" of choice": decadent, rich and packed with antioxidants and endorphins. Hell, it's like taking a vitamin and a happy pill all at once! It's also delicious whether it's eaten in traditional bar form or used as an ingredient in cakes and cookies. But add in all that high fructose corn syrup, refined white sugar and bleached flour and heath nuts will argue any benefits have been outweighed by these processed additives.
So for this week's Battle of the Dishes, we went in search of the most healthful chocolate cakes around. Can you really get a decent chocolate cake without gluten or refined sugar, or will these imposters crumble under the weight of this battle?
In One Corner: True Food Kitchen
2502 E. Camelback Rd. in Phoenix
|Dry Humor: Hey, waiter, did I say "desert" instead of dessert?|
True Food Kitchen offers fresh, healthful cuisine that incorporates local and seasonal produce. The entire menu is based on bestselling author and health guru Dr. Andrew Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet & Food Pyramid, which focuses on overabundance of fruits and veggies (3-5 servings of each per day), beans and pasta and smaller amounts of "good" fats, lean meat and soy foods. Need to borrow a cup of white sugar? Don't look to True Food, as they don't have one teaspoon of the stuff on-site.
Dr. Weil's pyramid allows for small amounts of "healthy" sweets like dark chocolate; thus, they offer a flourless chocolate cake. My dinner date and I ordered the dessert after a scrumptious meal of curry noodles with vegetables. A miniature round cake topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzles of caramel arrived a short while later with two spoons. It looked exactly like several other local restaurants' chocolate lava cakes, minus the lava.
That's the big problem with this baby. Chocolate lava cake has a gooey center for a very practical reason -- without it, the cake is as dry as the Arizona landscape. This is supposed to be dessert with two s', not desert with one s. We took a bite and immediately noticed the crumbly, dry texture.
"Thith is tasty, but dwy," my companion mumbled unintelligibly through a mouthful of cake. "It tastes like real chocolate, though."
With 72% cocoa, the chocolate taste was very prominent. This dessert was crisp and clean. It was sweet without being overly saccharine, and the plain vanilla ice cream -- though nothing special in itself -- did moisten the cake up quite a bit as we let it melt in. Toffee pieces added rich caramel flavor and crunchy texture. Still, even with the pleasant chocolate taste and silky ice cream topping, this healthier alternative to regular cake tasted like just that -- an alternative to the real thing.