(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

An ingredient used for more than 3,000 years by almost every country in the world is as tempting now as it was at the start. Chocolate, beginning its existence as cacao, is versatile and dexterous, accompanying dishes or standing on its own, but it’s best as cake. Light and fluffy or dense and rich, chocolate cake is as varied as the people who enjoy it. These are the best places to find your new favorite slice.

La Dolche Vita
12112 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 721-8155

Price: $6

The dessert list at La Dolce Vita is always mouthwatering. Pass the standard Italian choices of cannoli, tiramisu and gelato, and make a wild selection with the banana chocolate cake. Adding bananas to chocolate is easy and delightful; adding them to chocolate cake is ingenious. The naturally sweet banana flavor and palatable texture in the banana filling complements the dark chocolate cake perfectly.

The South Side
2207 W. 11th St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 937-2288

Price: $6

You’ll regret missing out on the chocolate suicide cake at The South Side if you order anything else. With rich chocolate cake layered over a decadent chocolate center, it is absolutely the dessert to choose. Served warm, it’s fork tender, so make sure have an extra one for the table. This heavenly cake can easily finish or start a meal, so feel free to get creative. Pair it with a full-bodied red wine or coffee to experience the full effect of this decadent creation at The South Side.

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Tommy’s Place
1325 Linda St.
Rocky River, OH 44116
(440) 331-9687

Price: $5

Tommy’s Place in Rocky River has an understated look about it, but its menu is attractive and tempting. The dessert list is on the shorter side with only three choices, but the standout is the flourless chocolate cake. Removing the flour lets the chocolate standout, which is why it’s served small and with scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Rather than being overly sweet, it’s the perfect amount of chocolate decadence. Let small bites of a chocolate cake, reminiscent of the sweet Southern states, complete any meal at this charming restaurant.

Luna Bakery Café
2482 Fairmount Blvd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
(216) 231-8585

Price: $6

Luna Bakery Café serves a variety of pastries, sandwiches and crepes, and variety is an understatement with the menu at this bakery. When winding through the pastry section take pause at the gluten-free chocolate raspberry torte. Like any good torte, its layers of light chocolate cake with sweet raspberry filling seem to multiply on their own. What makes this dessert special, besides the taste, is its gluten-free title. Being gluten free opens this dessert up to people who may have previously passed on desserts, and all dessert lovers should have the opportunity to taste this masterpiece.

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Wild Flour Bakery
20111 Lake Road
Rocky River, OH 44116
(440) 331-2950

Price: $13 mini cake

The adding of fruit to chocolate is an age-old practice. Mostly the fruit is sweet enough to praise the layered flavors of chocolate, but at Wildflour Bakery the citrusy orange is chocolate’s partner. After tasting this zany combination; sweet and tart oranges with creamy chocolate in a cake that’s firm and moist, raspberry and strawberry will seem simple in comparison. An orange chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is a tangy compliment to any birthday or “Hey, It’s Tuesday!” party.

Marissa is a happily adventurous wife, mother and runner. Living in Lakewood, Ohio she searches neighboring communities for exciting food and drinks that are good and good for you on the Cleveland area. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.