Super Strict Score [understand wattwurmnashi’s S3]: 10
As wattwurmnashi is extremely partial to chocolate it should come as no surprise I have been wanting to try Ken’s Café‘s famous molten chocolate cake for the longest time. However, various factors, among them Ken’s Café not being a café = no seating anymore resulted in procrastinating.
Then on a recent day out with chocolate celebrity pal Chocolehto-kun who happens to be an acquaintance of Ken[ji Ujiie] he took me there.
The perks of being friends with someone famous in the chocolate world:
- being seated in the now disused café [a real shame!!]
- being hosted from A-Z by The Ken Himself including some really nice coffee
- indulging in as much chocolate cake served warm/cold/with fresh fruit as wattwurmnashi wants
- another chocolate cake to take home
- getting to taste the custom Domori blend Ken’s Café use for their cake
- getting to chat with super friendly super funny Kenji Uchiie
There would be more but that should have you convinced!
The custom 72% Domori blend just mentioned consists of Peru Apurimac & Venezuela Sur del Lago. Domori chocolates are the best in wattwurmnashi’s books & that top quality has transferred into pastry as well, wattwurmnashi being ecstatic over all Domori cakes [at Bébé near Nagoya / at Shinji Mori in Hiroshima] had so far. However, none of those were pure chocolate cakes & considering Peru is wattwurmnashi’s favorite origin anticipation of Ken’s Café’s cake reached astronomical heights.
& what can I say? It was met if not succeeded of course. As expected of Domori. Until Ken’s, Pierre Marcolini’s chocolate cake using his signature bean to bar chocolate was far ahead of everything else, other „chocolate cakes“ not even deserving to be called contenders because Pierre Marcolini’s was just in an entirely different class of its own. However, it now has some noble company which just goes to show what should be painfully obvious which is just how crucial top, & I mean top, that’s not Valrhona or Callebaut although they have their moments, quality chocolate is in, after all, a CHOCOLATE cake.
I couldn’t pick one over the other, they’re different but in the same league. Their own league, that is.
So what does Ken’s chocolate cake that has become famous beyond national borders actually taste like? Chocolehto-kun & wattwurmnashi prefer it warm because the aromas develop more but even eaten cold it’s gonna be better than any other chocolate cake you’ve tried [well OK unless you’ve had Pierre Marcolini’s]. It has a heady & dark aroma, a very rich, full-bodied cacao flavor heavily tinged with blackberry & especially plum [pretty characteristic of Perù]. Speaking of blackberry & plum, it even has that purple sheen that some good quality chocolates depending on the bean & growing conditions used will show. Mild bitterness & a few tannins are reminiscent of red wine. Like a good chocolate this chocolate cake has an aftertaste worthy of a paragraph of its own although I’m gonna cheat & shorten it to „less fruity, more tannins, some wood & smoke“.
The pure couverture by itself has a slightly more bitter, less fruity & complex taste. Definitely a top shelf chocolate but its qualities really shine & develop when put to use. Interestingly, I thought pure it showed more Venezuela characteristics while the cake makes me think more Peru.
Anybody wondering if Ken’s Café’s chocolate cake is really worth top $ – it comes with a price tag of ¥3000 – personally, wattwurmnashi thinks it’s real good bang for your buck. DOMORI!!
Surely you all can’t wait to try it for yourself now. On good days you can buy it online within Japan [but it’s mostly n/a]:
buy Ken’s Café’s Domori chocolate cake online
Ken’s Café official homepage [Japanese only]
Ken & Chocolehto-kun, thank you for this amazing experience!!
Disclosure: wattwurmnashi was a pretty expensive guest of The Ken but I think it’s more than crystal I can’t be bought. Uninfluenced opinion is wattwurmnashi’s own.