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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Cake Café: Design Your Own Cake in Zamalek
As recently as 2010, Tivoli Dome in Heliopolis was voted the world’s largest food court by the Guinness Book of Records. In case the good people at the Guinness Book of Records decide to update their rankings we hereby nominate the entire island of Zamalek. The list of venues opening is endless and most are in close proximity to each other. The most recent addition is Cake Café that opened up right next to the Gezirah Art Center and close to Beano’s.
Cake Café specializes in custom-made cakes, cupcakes (sigh), cookies and sandwiches. The venue is relatively small with three tables downstairs and a few upstairs. As soon as you walk in, beautifully designed cakes are displayed in glass cases. Brides-to-be will have a great time here because the cakes are all decked out with roses and other wedding-friendly decorations. There is also a whole section with cookies cut out in various shapes such as bears; they are quite expensive though at 20LE per piece.
Upstairs is fitted with a bookshelf carrying a variety of books that you can indulge in during your visit. A cappuccino will set you back 20LE, which is totally worth it because it might have been one of the best cappuccinos we’ve ever had in Cairo; the coffee was strong and the foam layer was thick (Cairo 360 tip: If you want to test the foam lay your spoon on it. If the spoon doesn’t sink then the foam passes the test)
The apple pie (24LE) we tried was a bit tasteless - it was missing the refreshing burst of sour apple and the crust was overpowering and very dry. The chocolate cake (26LE) looked amazing but the taste reminded us very much of a Betty Crocker readymade cake. Since this is the only cake we can bake ourselves, we’ve become experts in detecting its distinct taste and for 26LE we could have an entire one to ourselves instead of just one piece. The Cherry Crumb Bar (22LE) was a bit disappointing too. It looked delicious but once again it was very dry and though we could see the cherry filling we couldn’t detect its flavour.
Though the venue is small it does take the staff quite some time to deliver your order. They are very friendly though. The crowd during the day seems to generally be made up of elderly ladies and mothers with children. Though it is a nice place for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake, Cake Café needs some work; especially when it comes to their recipes.
With Brew & Chew satisfying the cravings of Maadi residents, and Dip n Dip spreading their fantastic desserts in New Cairo, Nasr City and 6 of October City, the sweet-toothed of Zamalek can be forgiven for feeling a little neglected – that is until now. Chocolate by name, chocolaty by nature, Joe’s Chocolate Bar on Taha Hussein Street could be the answer to every chocaholic’s dreams.
As a venue, Joe’s Chocolate Bar is divided into two floors; the top floor has nothing remarkable about it but allows smoking, while the ground floor is where the ‘chocolate is. Besides the melted chocolate-like decoration on the wall (which is installed upside down, so instead looks like chocolate waves) the calm lighting and wood walls create a relaxing and cosy ambiance to the place.
The items on the menu are limited and nothing grabbed our attention, but we opted for the Molten Chocolate Cake (47LE), Triple Chocolate Crepe (41LE) and their new special item – as the waiter was so keen to mention – Oreo Waffle (49LE).
The molten chocolate cake had a bold chocolate flavour and a very moist texture; the gooey centre had a fantastic pudding-like consistency, which shows that it was cooked to perfection and, overall, the dessert had a spot-on sweetness. On the other hand, we would have preferred that the ice cream was served separately, because the hot temperature of cake melted it quickly and made the top of the cake rather soggy.
The triple chocolate crepe was just as good, meanwhile; coming as three thin, light and fluffy triangular servings, each one was filled with a generous amount of melted milk chocolate, and drizzled with white, milk, and dark chocolate. We also asked for fruit (10LE) on the side which consists of mini cubes of kiwi, bananas, and strawberries, and it was surprisingly fresh even though it’s not strawberry season yet.
As for the Oreo waffle, we expected nothing more than a waffle with crushed Oreo on top, but, impressively, the waffle itself had an actual layer of Oreo in the middle. Despite the waffles needing a little more milk chocolate on top and being a bit chewy, they were largely soft with a slightly crispy exterior, and the flavour of the Oreo popped in every single bite.
Joe’s Chocolate Bar definitely impressed with their well-executed desserts and big flavours, but we felt that the variety on the menu is too safe and a bit limited for a dessert specialist. We’d very happily come back for the molten chocolate cake, though.