Best Desserts - 2009
By Word of Mouth
"Let them eat cake." Marie Antoinette never actually said it, but the phrase was a convenient summation of her aristocratic distance from the fray; she was a lady as pathetically out of touch as a tycoon redecorating his office in the midst of financial implosion. The servers at By Word of Mouth are down with Marie about the substance if not the style; they gesture with queenly pride at display cases filled with swirls and poufs, with meringues, curds, butter creams, and ganaches — those multilayered wonders long out of fashion but so fervently longed-for. There's the Lady Baltimore stuffed with figs and raisins; the Baby Jane sandwiching strawberries and génoise in a picket fence of ladyfingers; the dreamsicle drooling Grand Marnier mousse between dense yellow layers; the coconut with its glazed oranges and snowy landscapes; the booze-soaked Italian rum cake, leaning dizzily under a load of pastry cream, chocolate chips, and a crowning blanket of fresh fruit. Lemon meringue, raspberry rhapsody, stained glass oblivion, Kahlua crunch, and King Louis cakes are in constant rotation at BWOM. After 28 years in business at the same over-the-tracks location, owner Ellen Cirillo really knows how to wield a frosting knife.