Time Out goes in search of the scrummiest cakes in Dubai
Time Out Dubai Staff
Cake is the ultimate celebratory treat, and with Time Out Dubai preparing to celebrate its 10th birthday on October 1, we thought it was high time to dedicate the next five pages to everyone’s favourite dessert. Or snack. Or, occasionally, breakfast. We’ve spent the past few weeks visiting as many restaurants, bakeries and boutique patisseries as possible to sample the city’s sweetest, most sugary offerings.
Our in-depth research showed that cakes of the chocolate variety dominate Dubai’s dessert menus, followed by carrot and the ever-popular cheesecake. Then there are the fruitier cakes, from banana to sumptuous strawberry. You’ll notice that we haven’t included cupcakes (apart from giant ones) because, in our opinion, cupcakes are an entirely different category of cake. Yet there’s still a cake here to suit every taste – providing you have a sweet tooth, of course. In no particular order, take a look at our mammoth list, which will help you to have your cake and eat it. Enjoy!
Baker & Spice’s carrot cake This moreish treat is one of Baker & Spice’s bestsellers, combining carrot, spices and brown sugar, topped with a cream cheese filling that is deliciously sweet, yet not as sickly as the topping on many other carroty creations. We like the walnutty spiciness and little carrot pieces – surely we can count this as one of our five a day?
If this cake was a person, it would be… Nicole Kidman – the most glamorous carrot-top we know. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs25 per slice; Dhs230 for a whole cake. Baker & Spice, Dukkan Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai (04 427 9856).
Circle’s carrot cake pudding Served warm, this soft, spicy carrot cake is one of Circle’s specialities. The soft, mildly spicy base is accentuated by fresh, creamy icing – a great way to finish off a long, lazy lunch.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Lindsay Lohan – full-bodied and deliciously naughty. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs22 per slice, Dhs140 for a whole cake. Circle, Dubai Media City (04 391 5170).
The Cakery’s carrot cake Carrot cakes are two a penny these days, but The Cakery’s version sets itself apart with its rich cream-cheese frosting that offsets the sweet, spongy carrot flavour wonderfully. Meanwhile, the candied walnuts offer a welcome crunch and the ginger biscuit crust – with a hint of lemon – rounds off an excellent cakey treat. If this cake was a person, it would be… Christian Bale – full of different layers and dimensions. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs150 per 23cm cake. www.thecakerydubai.blogspot.com (050 286 2971).
Nobu’s cheesecake This petite-sized dessert has a crackly crème-brûlée top and sits next to a delicious redcurrant sorbet and a spicy sesame crunch. Its molten centre is a long way from the lumpy standard you’d expect elsewhere.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Inception actor Ken Watanabe – always classy. Our cake rating: 4.5/5 Dhs55 per slice. Nobu, Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
Paul Café’s cheesecake This patisserie offers a huge variety of tempting cakes, but it’s the rich gelatine-style cheesecake that catches our eye. With a strawberry glaze and a free message written in icing on request, it offers impressive depth and a silken texture.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Audrey Tatou – delicate and ridiculously pretty. Our cake rating: 4/4 Dhs90 per cake. Paul Café, The Walk at JBR (04 437 6494).
Pronto’s baked cheesecake A cross between a Parisian pastry and New York cheesecake, this combines fluffy cheese with a crisp base. The only thing that lets it down is an absence of jelly with the pile of fresh fruit.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Amanda Seyfried – attractive, if a little bland. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs25 per slice, Dhs150 for a whole cake. Pronto, The Fairmont Dubai (04 311 8316).
Ruth’s Chris’s cheesecake The cheesecake at Ruth’s Chris is as much of a reason to visit this US steakhouse as the steaks themselves. Thick, creamy and always tasty, the cheese is accentuated with a zip of lemon and contrasts wonderfully with the crumbly, sweet base.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Matt Damon – an American that everyone seems to like. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs49 per cake. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Monarch, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8666).
Bert’s Café’s chocolate fondant Offering thick, rich chocolate goo encased in a light chocolate sponge, this hot treat comes with a generous blob of vanilla ice cream, which prevents it from becoming sickly. Get it to take away and serve straight from the fridge for a fudgy treat that hits the spot.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Right Said Fred – too sexy. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs25 per slice. Bert’s Café, The Greens (04 361 9292).
Cavalli Club’s chocolate cake Courtesy of the glittering, glimmering nightspot in The Fairmont, this cake is the epitome of opulence, with dark, chocolaty folds encasing a soft interior. The cake looks fantastic, though it’s not as flavourful as we’d have hoped. Still, it’s perfect if you want a spectacle (it’s sprinkled with gold flakes).
If this cake was a person, it would be… Jennifer Lopez – likes to be the centre of attention. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs61 per slice, Dhs495 for a whole cake. Cavalli Club, The Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed (04 332 9260).
Joe’s Café’s chocolate cake Joe’s, the stylish next-door neighbour of Joseph boutique on The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, caters for well-heeled clientele. They’ll doubtless enjoy this generous wedge of light, not-too-sweet chocolate sponge divided by layers of chocolate buttercream, smothered in a rich ganache.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Pippa Middleton – understated sophistication. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs42 per slice. Joe’s Cafe. The Dubai Mall (04 434 1439).
Most indulgent cake Burj Al Arab’s signature chocolate cake Though not technically on sale (it’s served to anyone celebrating a birthday at the Burj Al Arab), this decadent cake is overpoweringly chocolaty thanks to the rich chocolate cremeux (aka cream). A crunchy texture is provided by the caramelised pecan and macadamia nuts, finished with a sprinkling of 24-carat-gold leaf. How very Dubai.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Donatella Versace – excessively glamorous. Our cake rating: 4/5 Complimentary for birthday boys and girls (and men and women) at hotel restaurants. Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah (04 301 7777).
Jones the Grocer’s moist chocolate cake Though the name of this cake needs rethinking (‘moist’ isn’t the most tempting adjective), the ingredients are just right. Containing 64 per cent dark chocolate cacao, this is an incredibly indulgent bookend to a meal at the high-end Aussie food store.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Wendi Murdoch – rich and packs a punch. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs20 per slice. Jones the Grocer, Al Manara, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 346 6886).
Patisserie Valerie’s chocolate selva This is a chocolate feast: thick chocolate sponge layers sandwich a thin spread of fruit slices, topped with strawberries, raspberries and toffee icing. With Patisserie Valerie’s reputation, we wanted to be impressed (and we nearly were), but the cake fell a few crumbs short in the flavour department.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Kim Kardashian – pretty, yes, but there’s only so much Kim you can take. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs19 per slice, Dhs150 for a whole cake. Patisserie Valerie, The Dubai Mall (04 330 8130). Pronto’s chocolate costello cake The Fairmont’s sinful offering is light and cakey more than it is chocolaty. It has a soft centre with a hint of orange, surrounded by an ever-so slightly caramelised outside.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Ebenezer Scrooge – small and crusty on the outside, but rich and warm on the inside. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs25 per slice, Dhs150 for a whole cake. Pronto, The Fairmont Dubai (04 311 8316).
Shakespeare & Co’s Mogador Layers of chocolate mousse and sponge are smothered with praline cream, a rich layer of ganache and studded with roasted hazelnuts. This is what Ferrero Rocher on steroids would look like.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Frankie Boyle – dark and utterly nutty. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs20 per slice, Dhs160 for a cake. Shakespeare & Co, various locations including Safa Centre, Jumeirah (04 394 1121).
Sheraton’s chocolate mousse cake The cake grew on us as we ploughed through it. While it was a bit messy, it was hearty and true, delivering a devilishly satisfying chocolate flavour, its thick layers separated by soft layers of icing and cream.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Oprah Winfrey – warm and comforting. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs50 per slice. The Link Café, Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort (04 399 5533).
Sugar Daddy’s chocolate fudge cake This sizeable concoction follows the same blueprint as Sugar Daddy’s cupcakes: inch-deep chocolate icing is plastered around dark layers of chocolate sponge, separated by yet more glistening soft chocolate. One wedge-like slice will have you on a day-long sugar rush.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Muhammed Ali – full-bodied, over the top and packs a punch. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs20 per slice, Dhs200 for a whole cake. Sugar Daddy’s, various locations including The Village Mall, Jumeirah (04 344 8204).
Torta di Carluccio’s This slab of goodness features tiramisu-style layers of wafer, fresh cream and rich, dark chocolate, making it one of the lighter cakes we sampled. It’s not as rich in cocoa as it appears to be, but it’s tasty enough to please a wider audience.
If this cake was a person, it would be… Sophia Loren – dreamy and sophisticated. Our cake rating: 3/5 Dhs16 per slice. Carluccio’s, various locations including Dubai Marina Mall (04 399 7844).
Vintage’s cardomom choc truffle cake A rich slab of dark chocolate truffle sits atop a biscuit base, with the zing of cardomom to add a naughty edge. It’s almost impossible to cut with a knife (we ended up picking up the whole thing and gnawing on it).
If this cake was a person, it would be… Shah Rukh Khan – rich and smooth, with a touch of Indian spice. Our cake rating: 3.5/5 Dhs25 per slice. Vintage Chocolate Lounge, The Dubai Mall (04 339 9595).
Prettiest cake The Cakery’s chocolate Flake cake By far the prettiest cake we had the pleasure of eating, this chocolate sponge cake is slathered with rich chocolate icing and fresh strawberries. It’s walled in by Cadbury’s Flake bars, adding another dimension to the texture.
If this cake was a person, it would be… David Beckham – very rich, very good looking. Our cake rating: 4/5 Dhs90 for a 10cm cake. www.thecakerydubai.blogspot.com (050 286 2971).