I would be remiss in conducting my exploration of New York City’s best vegan desserts if I did not give a prominent place to Atlas Cafe. Without too much deliberation, I can easily give them the prize of best vegan desserts anywhere in New York City. However, their desserts are not made on sight, and they’re not even made in New York. Atlas Cafe is a customer of Vegan Treats from near Philadelphia, which provides desserts to not just Atlas Cafe, but many other fine restaurants here.
But no one carries as vast a selection of Vegan Treats’ desserts as Atlas Cafe – they cover pretty much every corner of the Vegan Treats menu. Being there on Tuesday afternoon, when they get their weekly delivery from Vegan Treats, is a breathtaking experience. There are so many different cakes and cheesecakes and brownies and cookies and other pastries that it would take me weekly visits for many many months to try them all. Even when I don’t come on Tuesday, there is so much that it takes me several minutes to decide what I want to buy this time!
Today, I chose a half dozen different desserts for a dinner tomorrow with my family. They have already tasted Atlas Cafe’s desserts, back in August when I took them on a food crawl of the East Village. So I’m sure they are going to love these desserts. I went for a mix of some of my favorites and some new ones I’ve never tasted before.
Favorites? Yes, I do have many. My friends, keep in mind that I have been eating Vegan Treats’ desserts for more than 15 years. There used to be a health food store called Healthy Pleasures near NYU on University Place that carried a selection of Vegan Treats desserts that rivaled what Atlas Cafe carries. One of my favorite vegan restaurants in New York City, Red Bamboo, also carries Vegan Treats desserts, and I usually will have a slice of something when I am there. So when I say that I have favorites, I mean that there are some varieties of cakes that I have eaten so many times I don’t even know how many times I have eaten them.
Tops on my favorites list is the Death By Chocolate cake.
This cake features chocolate om four different forms: rich chocolate cake with a layer of chocolate mousse in the middle, surrounded by chocolate butter cream icing and then topped off with dark chocolate ganache. I remember one time ordering this cake at Healthy Pleasures and a Swedish tourist heard me say the name of the cake, and he couldn’t believe what it was called.
“Death by Chocolate?” he said, aghast.
“I have eaten it many times,” I explained. “It hasn’t killed me yet, but I haven’t given up!”
It is incredibly rich. I will take a bite of this tomorrow, but leave it mainly for our guests to see whether they can get through a bite and live to tell the tale!
One of my other favorites is Vegan Treats’ Strawberry Shortcake.
The shortcake is incredibly decadent, being covered in chocolate ganache. However, within the context of Vegan Treats desserts, it is actually one of the lighter offerings. And it is Therese’s favorite. The others tasted this cake back in the summer when we were at Atlas Cafe, so hopefully they will leave it alone so that Therese can have most of it!
Peanut Butter Mousse Bomb cake is an over-the-top, ridiculously rich and amazing cake.
This is a chocolate layer cake (again) with peanut butter mousse in between the layers. Then a huge ball of peanut butter mousse is on top of each slice, covered with chocolate ganache, and then decorated with a little peanut butter icing. When you get a bite of this cake with that mousse in it, it is like visiting peanut butter heaven. I will fight for a bite of this, but leave it mostly to the newbies to discover.
The fourth favorite is a blueberry cheesecake.
I don’t know if you can appreciate what a massive slice of cheesecake that is. In any event, there is enough for all of us to have a good bite. The white cream swirl around the edge is essential noshing – a perfect balance to the dense richness of the vegan cheesecake and the sweet blueberries on top.
So those are the desserts I have eaten before. The new ones to me are two brownies: a peanut butter mousse brownie (I know, maybe a bit redundant with the cake of the same variety) and a brownie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce streamed over the top. That second one I will probably keep all to myself!
OK, since I am the host, I guess I will have to share a little of it with my guests. Maybe I will eat half of it and offer the other half for everyone else to dig into.