taste : cake [restaurant roundup]

cake is brilliant for every occasion. birthdays. holidays. finals week. a good cake can do more than turn your frown upside down. a luscious cream cheese frosting can make cows sing acapella, a gooey chocolate filling can make a bodybuilder giggle, and a clever fondant topper can start a war [see cupcake wars]. but it is hard to get the perfect balance. here are some of the places that got it right. as rihanna says, it's all about the cake cake cake cake cake cake cake.

[raspberry layer cake]
market by jean-georges, paris

[coconut, peanut butter/chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel & apple cinnamon cupcakes]

[cioccolato al forno w/ pistachio gelato & cherries]
caffe storico at the new york historical society, upper west side

[black pepper shortcake]
momofuku ssam bar, east village

[molten chocolate cake]
isola trattoria & crudo bar at the mondrian, soho