[This article originally appeared in Serious Eats NY] Despite today’s obsession with over-the-top, deep fried, caramel coated, whiskey soaked indulgences, not all chefs are on board. Leading the charge on the high end is Rouge Tomate. Though the restaurant employs its own nutritionist, it’s not a health food restaurant. Nor is it 100% vegetarian, organic or gluten free—though much of their menu matches those descriptions. It’s really in its own category.
Their Icebox Cake ($7) happens to be both vegan and gluten-free, but you would never know it. Executive Pastry Chef James Distefano says the cake was another collaboration between him and his sous chef, Breanne Butler. It brings all the fun and whimsy of an icebox cake to Michelin starred dining.
The main element is comprised of four cylindrical layers of moist, ink-black chocolate cake made with black cocao powder. Regular and black cocoa are combined with almond and rice flour for the cake, which has a soft, delectable texture you’d swear was enriched with butter.
The silky frosting is made from a coconut base cultured with probiotic pearls to form a thick yogurt-like coconut cream. The frosted cake is then covered with crumbs and served cold, recalling, in its own way, an ice cream cake.
The cake is joined by a coffee banana ice cream and a slice of brûléed banana, which adds some crunchy texture and burnt caramel flavor to the dish.
The vegan soy-based ice cream pairs well with the sweet icebox cake, as its strong coffee flavor cuts the sweetness a bit. And don’t worry vegans—all the sugar in this dessert is derived from beets and not refined with bone ash, so it’s 100% vegan. But the real miracle? The entire thing costs a mere $7.