Goldbelly’s treasure chest of showstopping (and delicious) desserts
Restaurant Address: goldbelly.com
Sunday–Thursday 5:30–10 p.m.
A life-size Spiderman balloon (stashed amidst UberEats orders) greeted me at McCormick after a long day of classes on my birthday. After I dragged Peter Parker to my room, I thanked my parents over Facetime for their surprise birthday delivery. They informed me that there was also a package waiting for me in the mailroom. To my surprise, a huge package from Goldbelly was addressed to me.
The chilled package contained an irresistible-looking chocolate cake from Ina Garten’s selections on Goldbelly. I knew that this was the famous Beatty’s Chocolate Cake that she had made on an episode of her hit Food Network show Barefoot Contessa. (Yes, I’m also shocked that I remember a singular recipe from the thousands of Food Network episodes I have watched.) I only had an hour until crew practice, and the cake had to be defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. My treat would have to wait. I could tell Spiderman was getting jealous and worried that he would no longer be the superior birthday present.
When the time came to finally slice into the cake with my roommates and another friend, we eagerly grabbed our forks as the decadent layers were exposed. The cake itself was moist and fudgy, while the frosting provided the perfect smooth counterbalance of texture without adding too much sweetness. As someone who enjoys cake more than frosting, the ratio between the two was just right. The deep and rich chocolate flavor not only comes from the chocolate itself but also from Ina’s secret ingredient that is known for accentuating the flavors of chocolate: fresh brewed coffee. While there is no coffee flavor, the chocolate shines even brighter with its presence. (A tip for any baker looking to improve their chocolate desserts!)
Goldbelly is a famous company that offers specialty food items from famous restaurants and chefs, ranging from oversized and plump New York bagels from Essa Bagel to Guy Fieri’s trash can nachos. But one of the most popular items is the viral PieCaken by celebrity pastry chef Zac Young (who you might have seen on various Food Network and Cooking Channel shows). His creation has been admired by celebrities like Kelly Ripa and Oprah Winfrey.
Like a savory turducken (but a lot prettier), the PieCaken is a single dessert containing multiple treats. The Original T-Day PieCaken, typically ordered for Thanksgiving, perfectly marries all of the traditional Thanksgiving pies. With a pecan pie base, pumpkin pie middle, spice cake top layer, and cinnamon buttercream and apple pie filling adorning the top, this all-in-one showstopper allows guests to not have to choose between their favorite Thanksgiving pies. While enjoying the Original T-Day PieCaken over Thanksgiving Break, my family and I were not only mesmerized by its construction and concept, but also thoroughly enjoyed the flavor. Despite the differences between the desserts, the flavors merged well, with my dad’s favorite part being the apple pie filling. What’s even better is that the Original T-Day PieCaken is available all year round to order!
When I returned to campus and the holidays rolled around, my stress increased as the final exam period neared. But food, especially desserts, always finds a way to relieve any stress a student may be feeling. And if any dessert can reverse the spelling of “stressed” to “desserts” and reinforce the holiday spirit, it would be the Winter PieCaken. The shipping process was similar to the chocolate cake. After unpacking the cake and letting it defrost overnight in the refrigerator, I excitedly sliced into it as my roommates watched in awe. The brightness of the sprinkles gave way to the beautifully constructed inner layers, which consisted of a chocolate pecan pie base, eggnog cheesecake middle, red velvet cake top layer, a coat of cherry pie filling, and an amaretto buttercream frosting.
Unlike the Thanksgiving PieCaken, the pecan pie layer in the Winter PieCaken had chocolate chips, which provided a contrasting crunch to the pecans that I enjoyed more than the plain pecan pie. Even though I do not drink eggnog, the spices in the eggnog cheesecake elevated the flavor and gave it a festive spin. My favorite was the red velvet cake layer. Part of why I like red velvet cake is because of its partner in crime: cream cheese frosting. I was shocked to find myself not missing the tang of the cream cheese at all. The amaretto, which is an Italian liquor usually made from almond and apricot pits, gave a strong almond flavor mixed with a more delicate cherry flavor, reminding me of the filling of an almond croissant. Dare I say that it was even better than cream cheese frosting? Out of my group of friends, the cherry pie filling received one vote as the favorite component, while the chocolate pecan layer got two votes. It was such a hit that one of my friends walked all the way from New Vassar to McCormick just to have a slice.
And finally, to celebrate our survival, my friends and I shared the Valentine’s Day PieCaken (essentially a pink, red and white version of the Winter PieCaken) at the start of the spring semester. It contains the same red velvet cake layer, vanilla cheesecake middle layer, chocolate pecan pie bottom, and is covered in countless sprinkles and a raspberry buttercream. The layers reminded me of the Winter one, but the chocolate pecan pie had a fudgy filling as opposed to just chocolate chips. Not surprisingly, this PieCaken was also a hit, and all of my friends came back for more slices throughout the week. As someone trying to watch my weight due to the upcoming spring racing season for lightweight crew, this indulgent dessert may not have been the best thing to consume, but was well worth it anyway.
As I reflect on all three of these Goldbelly desserts, I not only wish I had a slice of the chocolate cake or PieCaken waiting for me in my mini fridge, but also realize just how much joy they brought to those around me. My favorite dessert ended up being the Winter PieCaken, and I will definitely order it again next holiday season. While all three desserts could satisfy any sweet tooth, none were overwhelming — I felt like I could go back for another slice the next day. With the chocolate cake priced at $99.95 and serving 6–8 people, and the PieCakens priced at $99.95 and serving 10–12 people, they may seem like a splurge. But after the holidays are over, the price of the Winter PieCaken actually drops to $79.95. Moreover, if you split the cost with friends, I guarantee that the purchase will not be a regretful one. The cakes have come in perfect condition each time, with not a sprinkle or pipe of frosting out of place. Here are some tips on how to go about enjoying your Goldbelly treat:
Make sure you pick up the package as soon as it arrives.
Defrost the cake overnight in the refrigerator and take it out 20-30 minutes before consuming. (If you prefer it colder, you can eat straight from the refrigerator.)
Use a sharp knife to make clean cuts. As someone who tried to use a plastic knife, I speak from experience. It can crumble and make a huge mess.
Gather your friends! In my case, I did not split it with as many people as it serves. Instead, I shared the cakes with others and saved the leftovers so that we could enjoy slices over a few days! It tasted just as good a few days after. Just be sure to repackage it and cover it well before storing it back in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it and eat it at a later time.
What makes the PieCaken so great is that it comes in so many varieties. In fact, there is a unique PieCaken creation for seemingly every holiday. In addition to Thanksgiving, Winter, and Valentine’s Day, there is a PieCaken for St. Patrick’s Day, Passover, Mother’s Day, and even Fourth of July. Ina Garten also offers her famous Coconut Cake, which is perfect for those who prefer a non-chocolate dessert. Goldbelly is a seemingly bottomless treasure chest of food, offering countless specialty food items that can satisfy just about any craving one may be having. I highly recommend scrolling through their offerings and ordering something for your next gathering or just for fun! Just make sure you are okay with putting your diet on pause.