One of my favorite things about the holidays are the desserts. Pretty cookies. Gorgeous cakes. I want it all regardless of the caloric cost in the end.
In San Diego, one of the best places that fulfills all the requirements above is Extraordinary Desserts. From the time I started appreciating food, I knew that Extraordinary Desserts was the place to go to impress someone. I’ve been there to celebrate birthdays, impress out-of-town guests, etc.
This season, Extraordinary Desserts is offering a selection of seasonal pastries for a limited time until New Year’s Day: chocolate linzer torte, dulce de leche cheesecake, gateau noel and my favorite — a yule log.
The yule log was especially alluring based on their ingredients. According to the description, this wasn’t an ordinary yule log. The dessert was meant to be a table centerpiece when purchased as a full cake. Festooned with roses, chocolate shavings, strawberries and edible 23 3/4 karat gold foil, it weighs in at a exorbitant $58 (serving 12-14 guests). But a single slice is available at $11.95. Or $13 with tax.
The $13 slice of yule log is quite unassuming — a thick slab of chocolate cake with surrounded with rose petals, half a strawberry and a side of cherry-infused sauce. By Extraordinary Desserts standards, it’s pretty plain-looking. In retrospect, the first sign of impending disappointment came from the counter guy, who had no idea what a yule log was.
The cake was dense as I initially noted. But after one forkful, it revealed itself as a dry, earth-clay cake that no amount of beverage could help move down the gullet. The cherries throughout the cake didn’t help either, only adding to the difficulty of eating this monster. The chocolate was bland, both in the cake and the truffle topping.
After a few bites, even Paul (whose eyes almost popped out of his head at the $13 price tag) pushed the plate away from not wanting to help me finish it. I was suddenly the bad kid forced to sit at the table until I had cleaned my plate. I finally managed to get the dessert down, leaving only a quarter of the original piece left on the plate (which I was hesitant to do, since that was about $3 of wasted food).
My opinion would be different if the dessert was delicious (it was not), and even Extraordinary Desserts’ description of a “dense brownie and chocolate souffle” did not help this cake with its texture problems. The raspberry tea-soaked cherries didn’t make this dessert a one note chocolate extravaganza and lack of sweetness of the chocolate was another reason for the downfall of this dish.
While I would still recommend Extraordinary Desserts for special occasions, their yule log is an extraordinary disappointment. Not all holiday desserts are joyful.