Last Fourth of July, my family all met up at my sister's place outside Dardanelle for a good old-fashioned barbecue. Unfortunately for us, there happened to be a burn ban on just about everywhere, so we had to content ourselves with meat from the electric smoker and some oven-made wings (both were delicious). When it came time for dessert, my sister brought out a chocolate cake that looked like someone had taken a Hostess Cupcake, enlarged it to full cake size, and made every single aspect of it — cake, cream filling, and chocolate topping — more delicious than I thought possible. She told me then who had made the cake, and I filed it away for a later investigation...which means I promptly forgot about it.
Fast-forward to this past weekend, and the family was once again at my sister's house, this time to celebrate my niece's first birthday. And what do you think the birthday cake was? Well, it was that same chocolate, cream-filled cake, and it was just as good this time around, too. This time I made sure to remember where it was from: a wonderful bakery in Russellville called, appropriately, The Cake Place. It turns out that this particular cake is a bit of a special order, because normally that chocolate, cream, and ganache topping is found only on The Cake Place's black and white cupcakes, but they very kindly turned that cupcake into a jumbo sized layer cake at my sister's special request (and they can turn any cupcake into a layer cake with just 48 hours notice). Not only is such accommodating service commendable, the quality of the dense, moist cake layered with light cream filling and wrapped in a blanket of velvet-smooth ganache makes it one of the finest cakes I've ever eaten.
Their normal cupcake list contains some expected flavors like red velvet and chocolate, but they couple these standards with more adventurous flavors like strawberry lemonade, maple bacon, and a peanut butter and banana concoction called "The Elvis." In addition to all this cake goodness, The Cake Place also has a full selection of brownies, cookies, pies, cake pops, cobblers, cheesecakes, and even tiramisu! Now, I've not made it by for any of their non-cake options (yet), but I guarantee that if all those other baked good are as good as that slab of layer cake I ate this weekend — well, I just might be ready to give Russellville bragging rights as the best town in Arkansas for baked goods. I'm not much of a dessert eater, but I seriously entertained thoughts of a second piece of the cake.
The Cake Place is located at 411 W. Parkway Drive in Russellville, and can be reached for orders and other information at 479-968-8945. You can also "like" them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter for up-to-date dessert news.