This Is the Best Cake in America: Patisserie 46's "Chocolate"

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We know that John Kraus of Patisserie 46 led his team to win bronze in the world pastry competition, the Coupe de Monde, back in February. But did you know that you can now buy the chocolate cake that steered them to victory at Patisserie 46?

That's right, Minnesota: The country's best chocolate cake is available for your consumption, right now. An individual portion slice retails for $5.25. We got three, and we could eat them all. It's called simply "Chocolate." It needs no other introduction.

See also: John Kraus of Patisserie 46 on Coupe du Monde: "I've Never Been So Nervous In My Life"

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Poor chocolate. In many ways it gets maligned: Death by Chocolate, Better Than Sex Chocolate, Devil's Food. Conventional wisdom wants it to be so rich and thick and naughty that you feel bad about yourself for having it. That you wouldn't dare have but one eensy little slice. That it's something you're supposed to do undercover, like crime or adultery.

But this chocolate cake isn't like that. It's by design that it's not meant to overwhelm. Kraus knew that the judges were going to be tasting dozens of confections on the fateful day, and the last thing he wanted was a cloying punch to the mouth of fudge. They made 50 cakes before they felt it was finally nailed.

So, what's it like? The first bite will have you groan audibly, as one does when biting into one of Kraus's superior eclairs, probably also the best in the country. If chocolate were made of air, this is what it would be like. With more glide than a stick of butter, the top layer of 72% chocolate ganache gleams like a chestnut-colored mirror. Beneath that, a half inch of mousse gives way to a flourless chocolate sponge cake and then more ganache. A lower level of pecan crumble (toasted and ground pecans, butter and flour with fleur de sel, all enrobed with chocolate) gives texture that's as lively and amusing to eat as a bowl of Cocoa Puffs that grew up.

It's all light as a feather, but more than that it's roundly satisfying, like eating a circle. Does that make any sense? I'm drunk on chocolate, you see! But a circle goes around and around and doesn't halt or end abruptly or have any jagged edges. Instead, it goes "whoosh!" in a satisfying whole, revolving around and around in a complete, gratifying balance until your next bite.

Kraus says it better: "It's the most harmonious cake I've ever tasted."

It's a harmony, it's a circle, it's cake, people. It's the best chocolate cake you've ever tasted, the best one in America, and it can be yours for five dollars. Do we live in a great state, or what?

If you feel like sharing, purchase varying sizes of a whole cake for $30 to $50 depending on size. Notice of 72 hours is required.

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