There are a few things that simply can't be debated – first, there is nothing like something sweet to improve ones mood, and second, there's nothing like discovering a fun new place to improve the entire day. With those two insights, on one of the coldest and rainiest days of the winter, I visited Merkaz HaUgot (The Cake Centre) in Kfar Saba.
This small and intimate café is located right next to Kfar Saba's main traffic artery – which makes getting there very convenient – but despite this, the café itself is on a small nearby street, which makes it very quiet. We entered and noticed that in addition to a café, there is also a bakery chock full of all sorts of cakes, cookies and everything that is sweet. The regular customers who happened to be at Merkaz HaUgot, along with owner Ran, who greeted us at the counter, smiled to one another knowingly, as in – "Ah, first timers, we still remember our first time".
After a quick tour of the endless possibilities the bakery offers, we chose ourselves a nice selection and sat down at one of the tables, ready to let the indulgence begin. Our lovely waitress Roni asked if we'd like something to drink. Anat ordered some coffee, which was excellent, and I got an orange juice. And after only a few minutes, our cakes arrived as well. First was the baked crumb topped cheesecake. The cake was tasty, had great texture and generally leaves you wanting more. After the cheesecake came a slice of the Havana cake – layers of torte with chocolate shavings, sweet cream and milk chocolate. We'd been drawn to this cake based on looks, we were convinced to order it due to its contents, and in the end we fell in love because of taste.
The next and final slice in our cake series was a rich chocolate cake. What do they mean by rich? In this case it means an entirely flour free cake. In other words, it consists in large part of a lot of pure chocolate. It takes a true chocolate lover to enjoy a slice of this. Lucky for us, we are a pair of true chocolate lovers, making this cake the pinnacle of the evening.
After a short intermission, a stream of conversation and some respite from the outside world, we felt we were ready to continue on our mission of sinful sweets. In the individual portion department, we were lovingly served the tricolade and the Mozart. The tricolade, 3 layers of chocolate – Belgian, white and meringue, melted in our mouths, and disappeared from the table almost as soon as it arrived. The Mozart, a winning combination of chocolate, hazelnut, dulce de leche cream and sweet cream, was as good as the tricolade, and in Anat's opinion was even better. What can I say – some people are simply seduced by dulche de leche no matter what….
For dessert, if our final course of cakes can really be called that, we got 2 cylindrical sticks of ice cream, one chocolate the other vanilla. We are talking about very high quality ice cream, wrapped in a waffle. This oh so simple combination of the two creates such an enjoyable experience that we needed to stop ourselves from buying another few to take home. In the end, we compromised on a healthier purchase in order to feel a bit better about ourselves – apple granola cookies!
This entire evening of sweetness can be summed up in a single short sentence uttered by our waitress Ron – 'we're not trying to reinvent the wheel here – instead, we focus on making the very best wheel possible, and that's the main difference.' Amen to that.
Merkaz HaUgot (The Cake Centre)
54 Rothschild, Kfar Saba