Monday, April 8, 2013

Best Desserts in Utah (chocolate cake, mousse, creme brulee, etc)

Best Desserts in Utah
- revised 12 Nov 2016

Check out Best Ice Cream in Utah, Best Pies in Utah, Best Peach Cobbler in Utah, and our OTHER FOOD REVIEWS at 

Best chocolate decadent (flourless) cake - our favorite!

Note: All on the list below were tested TOGETHER, side by side, so the list is accurate. The only exception is #7 below, which was tested on a different date.

1. Zoom, Park City. A+ (with cherry compote: A+). Callie Varner, the Pastry chef, has done an amazing job there.

2. P. F. Chang, It's call the Dome there, national chain. A

3. OUT OF BUSINESS: Madison Gastropub, Provo A-/A

4.. Windy Ridge Cafe, Park City. A-/A

5. Chef's Table, Orem (served occasionally) A- 

6. Snake Creek Grill, Heber City. A-

7. BYU Skyroom, Provo B+/A- 

8. Red Butte Grill, SLC. B+/A-

9A. Whole Foods Market, SLC, various locations (national chain) B+

9B. Whole Foods Market, SLC, various locations (national chain), chile flourless choc cake B+

10. Windy Ridge Bakery, Park City, orange flavored "chocolate torte" B+ 

11. Riverhorse, Park City (not serving in fall 2014),  with oreo crust. B+

12. Snake Creek Grill, Heber City, a second type: one layer of their black bottom banana cream pie - the pie filling is a C but the flourless chocolate cake it rests upon, different than the regular flourless cake, is a B+

13. Red Butte Grill, SLC. "Truffle Aztec Tart.." Has truffle-like choc filling, dusted with cocoa and cinnamon, overed in bittersweet choc glaze and toasted almonds.. B

14. Shabu, Park City. B-

15. Cafe Rio (various locations) chocolate flan (some similarities to flourless chocolate cake). C

16. Trader Joe's, national chain, in SLC. C-

Note: Sundance was also a contender for one of the top spots, but pastry chef Jessica left in mid 2013. Mamacita's in Provo in 2013, now out of business, was a B+

Best chocolate raspberry, flour cake 

1, Burgers & Bourbon, Park City, Montage at Deer Creek, "Ginormous Cake." Cake alone: A-; with raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, and whipped cream: A alone. A+ with their fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Note that they drench the sauce over the cake before serving - or so it seems, as the second and third times we've ordered it they provided a side of sauce for us to pour over it. Important note: in October 2014 when we had it a third time they used raspberry jam of sorts - at least not FRESH RASPBERRIES - and the jam was a D -. That made the cake-with-jam a C- so it was best to leave off the jam, as the cake itself rates a B/B+.

This may be the most expensive slice of cake in Utah (but fairly large) at $14. 

2. Z's Chophouse, Midway A- / A 
(their cake alone: B)

3. Red Butte Cafe, SLC. "Chocolate Aztec Tart" (we got it with raspberry jam; at rare times they serve it with fresh raspberries. With jam: B+++

4. Seigfried's Deli, downtown SLC B/B+ 
(Note that there are 2 other decent cakes of their cakes listed in the last section below. We've had all of their's, but these are in our opinion the best.)

5. Special order note: If you requested a full cake from The Chocolate in Orem, they would custom make you a raspberry chocolate cake. In so doing, request milk chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. It would be an A.

6. Gloria's Little Italy: Fragosa chocolate cake with raspberry filling and Italian cream. B

7. Cheesecake Factory B

Best regular chocolate cake

4 A's:
1. Billy Blanco's, Park City A
2. The Chocolate, Orem - only the "Brooklyn Blackout," milk chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting A-
3. Whole Foods Market, national chain and SLC locations, "Rubicon" brand. A-
4. Bangkok Thai, Park City - molten cake. A-

The rest are Bs and Cs:
5. Burgers and Bourbon, Park City, Ginormous cake (minus the raspberry jam) B
6. The Chocolate, Orem - "Cherib" - milk chocolate cake milk with chocolate frosting B
7. The Chocolate, Orem - The Husband - yellow cake with chocolate frosting B+ (not a true choc cake)
8. Gloria's Little Italy. They offer 4 chocolate cakes (we tested them all) of their many cake varieties; their best is "Duomo Cioccolato: B/B_
9. Ditto: "Turtle," also an B/B+
10. P. F. chang. alone: B/B+. With added fruit and mediocre raspberry syrup. B+
10. Gloria's. 3rd best: moist, but needs stronger chocolate flavor. B- 
11. Gloria's 4th best: tarfuto? good if warmed (not good unless warmed). B-
12. Gloria's 5th best choco and  strawberry B-
13. Gloria's 6th best: choc nutella B-
14. French Bakery, Provo B/B+ (cale alone C)
15. Cheesecake Factory tower truffle B+ (cake alone C)
16. Cheesecake Factory Linda's Fudge Cake B - - (cake alone C)
17. Cheesecake Factory Black out cake B - -
18. (not in this category, but also at Cheesecake Factory is our fave cheesecake there: Godiva cheesecake B+)
19. Cheesecake Factory choc tuxedo cream B
20. Cheesecake Factory (this might be one listed above:) 8 layer choc cake, yellow, nut topping B-/B
21. ditto but with choc chip topping, 8 layer: B-/B
22. Cheesecake Factory - another with chocolate chip topping and mousee or choc fristing between layers: B++
19. Zupa - chocolate mousse cake B+/A- (the chocolate cake part: B-)
20. The Garden, SLC. Classic chocolate cake C+/B-
21. The Garden, SLC, Molten choc cake B
22. Buffalo Wild Wings, state-wide. choc cake B, choc cake with ganache B+

Honorable mentions (B's):
Harvest, Thanksgiving Point
Iggy's tower cake
LaJolla Groves, Provo bundt cake
Reg Lobster, yellow cake with choc frosting A-
Cafe 300 B-
Numerous others in Utah we tried are B-minuses and Cs.

Best Misc. cakes:

1. Orange Chocolate Mousse Cake, Red Butte Cafe, A+ 

2. carrot cake - Black Sheep, Provo A+ (at least before mid 2013: it may be different now. Their chocolate mousse before then was the best in the state, but has slipped way down.)

3. carrot cake - Archibald's, South Jordan A-

4  beet cake, weird but gets an A from Pago, SLC A

5. strawberry poppy seed cake (they use seasonal fruits). Red Butte Cafe, SLC A-

6. carrot cake - Red Butte Cafe, SLC B/B+ (Amazingly, this is the lowest grade of all their wonderful cakes.) For Carrot cake, see better offerings above.

7. "Husband," yellow cake with milk chocolate fudge frosting. The Chocolate, Orem. B

8. black forest cake - Siegfried's Deli, Salt Lake City B-/B

9. German chocolate cake - Siegfried's Deli, Salt Lake City B-

10. Gloria's Little Italy - Strawberry white cake with Italian cream and chocolate covered strawberries on top

Note: Little Italy Cakes are good - but most rate a B - of their 11 that we tried. (The higher rated ones are in various categories above.) 

11. ditto. Lemon-raspberry white cake 

12. ditto. tiramisu

13. Chocolate mousse cake - BYU Museum Cafe, Provo

14. Whole Foods Market deli, SLC - orange glaze-topped cheesecake A-

15. ditto - cheesecake alone C-

16. ditto - berry, apricot tart with almond cream filling B

Best chocolate cheesecake
1. Godiva chocolate cheesecake, Cheesecake Factory
Note: We tested most of their 30+ cheesecakes and all their chocolate ones. This is the best  of theirs by far. Their Second best is #3 below.
2. Olive Garden chocolate cheesecake with mousse (mousse alone B+, cheesecake alone B+) total B+/A-
3. Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake, Cheesecake Factory 

Best Chocolate Mousse in Utah

Note: Although Pago's version is a "panna cotta" and thus has no egg whites in it like mousse has, if you like chocolate mousse, we recommend Pago for the best-tasting version of this, which is technically not mousse. Also, Le Caille's chocolate marscopone is technically not a mousse either, as it is thicker, more like a thick pudding, but we include it below:

1. BYU Museum Cafe (the mousse is part of the chocolate mousse cake) B+A-
2. Oregano Grill, Provo B+
3. Olive Garden, national chain B+
4. Mimi's Cafe - petite chocolate mousse B+
5. Tiburon, Sandy - chocolate almond B+
6. Le Caille - chocolate mascarpone (flavor is A-, texture is B-) B/B+
7. Black Sheep, Provo - chocolate B (it used to be the only A in the state until mid 2013 when their chef, Dario, left; since then it has gone to a B, which is still good)
8. LaJolla Groves, Provo - triple chocolate B-
9. Talisker, Park City - Valrona choc mousse with pistachio flavor. B-
10. Bistro 412, Park City - liquor mint choc mousse. B-

11. Enliten, Provo - chocolate C+ (but their fruit tarts rate an A. Great cream filling) (They have strawberry and mango mousse as well, both rating Cs.)
12. Appleby's. D

Historical note:  Best ever was at Black Sheep before mid 2013: it was the only solid A. Also good: Spark in Provo went out of business June 2013. 

Best other-flavored Mousse in Utah
a. Lavender mousse: Purple Sage, Park City: A - (with berries: A)

Best Chocolate Pudding in Utah 
1. Copper Onion, downtown SLC, dark, A
2. Cafe Terigo, Park City: A (they call it "chocolate creme brule" but it's like a great pudding; should be eaten same day - not as good next day!). A
3.  Ruth's Diner, Emigration Canyon, SLC, light, A -
4. Trader Joe's (buy in container), dark Belgian, B+
5. Kozy Korner (in containers at many grocery stores), light, C (best of the store-bought brands by far) B-
6. (Not truly a pudding:) Brown Cow chocolate yoghurt (at macey's and other markets) C

Best Panna Cotta in Utah 
(From northern Italy, this dish (when rarely made right, such as the Top 3 places below do) is made from cream, milk and sugar, with some amount of gelatin. (El cheapo versions, which most are, go heavy on the gelatin and light or non-existent on the cream, using milk probably.)

1. Pago, SLC. Chocolate (VERY similar tasting to chocolate mousse, but, as stated above under chocolate mousse, panna cotta has no egg whites in it) A
WARNING: THIS one from Pago IS THE ONLY DESSERT IN THIS SECTION THAT MUST BE EATEN WHEN SERVED - It DOES NOT last  - at least if it is out of the fridge for long and then refrigerated and eaten the next day -  because it collapses and a bad texture, unlike the others.

2. Pizzaria 712, Orem (tangy but yummy, with an amazing thin, real fruit sauce). A

3. Harvest, Alpine, buttermilk panna cotta withberries: alone: A - -. with berries: A

4. Oregano Grill, Provo. Get the cherry flavored one if they offer only two the day you go; not the pistachio. B

Enliten, Provo: C-

HISTORICAL NOTE: One of the best ever was at Spark, Provo, but out of business since June 2013.

Best Creme Brulee in Utah 
1. The Garden, SLC. Caramel creme brulee A+
2. Cafe Terigo, Park City, chocolate creme brulee A
3. Wahso Asian Grill, Park City, coconut creme brulee A
4. Garden Restaurant, SLC, caramel creme brule A
5. Franck's, Holiday, butterscotch creme brule A
6. Ruby River, Provo A
7. Whole Foods Market, the one in a ceramic dish that you take home A-
8. Sundance, Provo Canyon: vanilla: A- (this may be different now, as it was tested in 2013, and this place changes pastry chefs and goes up and down in quality) 
9. Ruth's Diner, SLC Sweet and Savory, Orem: vanilla B+
10. Tucano's, Provo B
11. Harvest Restaurant, Lehi (Point of the Mountain): vanilla: B
12. LaJolla Groves, Provo: tangerene:  B-
13. Snake Creek Grill (like pudding, not creamy enough): B-
14. Harvest, Alpine. vanilla creme brulee B-/B 

Historical notes: One of tops in the Creme Brulee family we found was the Creme Brulee Cheesecake at Spark Restaurant, Provo; but out of business since June 2013. Savory and Sweet's vanilla creme brulee was very good too at a B+ till they closed in 2016. Also gone: Madison's Gastropub in Provo in 2015, which had coffee caramel creme brule B-/B (but A texture). Out of business 2015: Chef's Table, Provo: cinemmon B+

 Best cinnamon buns in Utah
1. BYU Creamery (their original fried version, possibly no longer made) A-
2. Hruskie's Kolaches, Provo. B+
3. Cinnabon. too sweet for some of us. B+
4. Marley's Sliders - house made (sometimes only on Saturdays - so call first) B/B+

Best tasting chocolate chip cookies in Utah
We've tested them at nearly every cafe, grocery store, and many convenience stores in Utah, as well as bakeries. This is a subjective list because some like them crunchy, others chewy. One key is to get them made with real butter, not margarine, which filters out 95% on the market. These are our favorite 4:
1. Jimmy John's A-
2. Magleby's, Provo A-
OUT OF BUSINESS: Baked, Provo A- 
3. Daly's Pub in Park City A-
4. Brent and Sam's organic - health food stores such as Good Earth A- -
5. Sam's Choice - WalMart B+
6. Brent and Sam's regular grocery store version B+
7. Chili's (giant, warm chocolate chip cookie - in a skillet with chocolate sauce): B/B+

Other Best DESSERTS in Utah

1. beet cake, Pago, SLC 

2. chocolate fudge brownie, Corner Bakery Cafe, national chain

3. n/a

4. Sweet Potato cheesecake - Sundance: A-

5. lime-filled cupcaeks: B++ at Sean's Smokehouse, Saratoga Springs (heavy, European style cake with decent lime filling)

6praline pecan cookie - Kaiser's BBQ, Salt Lake City

7. Lemon meringue tart, Red Butte Cafe, SLC B/B+ (could be in "pies" category)

8. N/A

9. chocolate cake with raspberry chocolate truffle filling B, at ditto

10. dark chocolate strawberry ganache tart, at ditto (sour cream ganache, strawberry, pecat tart shell, with caramel sauce) B-

11. ginger peach cobbler, Slate, Provo B

12. peach cobbler, The Garden, SLC C+/B-

13. apple pie, Cafe 300, Provo B+

14. German choc cake, Cafe 300, Provo A-

15. bread pudding, Pizzaria 712 (chamomile creme anglaise, high west bourbon caramel) grade A
Note on bread puddings: this one and the bread puddings at the Eastern BBQ chain, "Mission," are the only two A grade bread puddings we have discovered.
Historical note: The dessert crepe with strawberries, ice cream, chocolate sauce drizzle at Savory and Sweet in Orem was an A. they went out of business. Also an A was their Bananas foster, 

Chocolate desserts from Whole Foods Market, SLC
a. choc cake B-
b. Rubicon chocoalte cake A-
c. triple chocolate mousse cake B+/A-
(chocolate mousse part: A-/A)
d. eruption cake: total: C (chocolate cakecenter: B-/B)
e. bestever chocolate explosion slice C+/B-
f. cheesecake part C+/B-
g. choc mousse C+/B-
h. house key lime pie abt. B
i. pie in the sky key lime pie abt. B+

Other desserts from Whole Foods Market, SLC
a. apple pie B-
b. pecan pie B-

Best desserts from Cheesecake Factory, SLC
a. raspberry chocolate cake B
b. tower truffle B+ (cake alone C)
c. Linda's Fudge Cake B - - (cake alone C)
d. Black out cake B - -
e. choc tuxedo cream B
f.  8 layer choc cake, yellow, nut topping B-/B
g. choc chip topping, 8 layer: B-/B
h. another with chocolate chip topping and mousee or choc fristing between layers: B++
i. 50th anniversary (Germany Chocolate wtih coconut) B
j. Chris's (2 white laters of 1/2 inch and 2 chocolate layers of 1/2 inch) C+/B-
a. Godiva Cheesecake B+
b. plain B
c. Chocolate mousse cheesecake (upper 1/3 is darker; shaivngs on top) B+
d. pineapple upside down cheesecake C-, wtih cream B-/B
e. Hershey's with almonds (top half regular choc cake, lower half Hershey's choc cheesecake)
f. mango key lime cheesecake C- 

Deserts from Gloria's Little Italy, Provo 
They offer 4 chocolate cakes (we tested them all) of their many cake varieties; their best is "Duomo Cioccolato: A- and "Turtle," also an A-
Note: 7 of Gloria's Little Italy Cakes are good (of their 11 that we tried). (note that #1 and #5 below are in the chocolate cake category above): 1) Turtle [a chocolate cake with some mousse, moist but needs more choco flavor] A-, 2) Strawberry white cake with Italian cream and chocolate covered strawberries on top B++, 3) Lemon-raspberry white cake 4) Fragosa chocolate cake with raspberry filling and Italian cream 5) Duromo Cioccolato (moist, but needs stronger chocolate flavor) A-, 6) tarfuto C+ but if warmed: B+, 7) tiramisu B+/A-
8. dulche de leche (white cake plus raspberry inside) B/B+
9. Vulcano (dry, no cocoa flavor) C-
10. Fiochi (2/3 white cake and 1/3 choc cake with nutella) A
11. lemon raspberry cake B+/A-
12. blackberry cake  (thin layers of white cake, thin cream layer) B-/B
13. Frago (choc cake with no choc flavor C, plus raspberry filling and italian cream) total B+

 - check out our ratings on the Best Pies, Cobblers, and Ice Cream in Utah!

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