Most of my favorite New York City souvenirs are food souvenirs– I’ve already covered black and whites, my favorite bagels and Levain’s cookies. Today I’m going to add to that list by revealing my neighborhood secret place with a dessert wholly exclusive to New York. This dessert is so delicious that I often avert my path to avoid this bakery because I have absolutely no self-control.
What’s even better about this New York food souvenir pick is that it is completely unknown not only to most visitors, but even to locals. And it’s not just me who’s crazy for it– so far, anytime I introduce a friend to this treat, they’ve also become addicts.
Only in New York: Brooklyn Blackout Cake
May I introduce you to the chocolate-y goodness of Brooklyn Blackout cake. While I don’t know the correct foodie terms to describe this cake, I can tell you it’s basically the most delicious chocolate cake you ever– had filled with chocolate pudding.
Brooklyn Blackout cake I have to guess was named both for its deep color and for the fact that it was created in Brooklyn. According to this article from NPR, Brooklyn Blackout cake was first served at a Brooklyn bakery called Ebinger’s. Unfortunately, Ebinger’s went bankrupt in 1972 so we’ll never really know what the original tastes like.
A few New York city bakeries though have revived the original Brooklyn Blackout cake, with varying results.While I’d hoped to find one in the Brooklyn borough, I gave up after nearly spitting out a bastardized version from Ovenly (they ruined the cake by adding a very strong flavored stout beer).
So I stuck with what I know, the bakery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side where I’d been enjoying Blackout cake for years, Two Little Red Hens.
I’d always thought of Two Little Red Hens as my local bakery. But when I recently moved back to my old neighborhood, I realized that its reputation had expanded beyond the neighborhood perimeter as the line snaked out the door (this was a Saturday afternoon, you’ll have shorter or no waits during the week).
And with good reason– this tiny bakery is simply phenomenal, not just for Brooklyn Blackout cake, but for any of their sweets. Their cupcakes are leagues better than those sickly sweet ones from tourist-mobbed Magnolia Bakery (a cupcake fanatic friend declared their red velvet cupcake the best she’d ever tasted).
Blackout cake is available in full size, a mini cake, cupcake, and mini cupcake version. It is a little messy to eat so grab plenty of napkins– and get more than you think you’ll need because they are difficult to share.
Where to Get it: Two Little Red Hens bakery, 2nd Ave at 86th Street