Getting your just desserts: the incontrovertible truth

November 8, 2019

Here’s the deal: I’ve got opinions, they’re better than yours (unless you agree entirely, then they are equally as good) and the world has a right to hear them. I’ve tried every dessert in the dining halls so you don’t have to. If you’ve ever stood frozen with fear in front of the dessert table at Sherman or Usdan or cried because you realized you may have picked the wrong post-meal snack, then you’ve come to the right place. Walk with me, on a safari of sweets.

Cupcakes

  • Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting: This is the best combination of the two flavors offered in cake form: 7/10
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting: 5/10
  • Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting with oreo garnish: The oreo, while potentially beneficial to the balance of the two flavors, often ends up soggy by the time it gets to the dining hall. 6/10
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and oreo garnish: 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting: 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting: 6/10
  • Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and oreo garnish: 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and oreo garnish: 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and pineapple garnish: The pineapple cube, while interesting to look at, adds little to the dessert. 5/10

Fun fact: Cupcakes are the seventh most stolen food in the world. Nah, I’m just kidding, but the truth is that I just stole 2 minutes of your life, and you’re never getting them back. Let this be a lesson.

Fruity “tarts”

  • Raspberry tart: These mainstays of the dining hall are always a viable option. I usually give raspberries a pretty bad rap, but when they are used right, they are undeniably good. For those of you who enjoy fruity fillings over chocolate ones, the crumbly crust and refreshing raspberry compote combine to form a surprisingly palatable treat. 7/10
  • Lemon tart: Similar to the raspberry tart, the lemon variety only suffers from a strange texture, resembling that of Jell-O. If you like lemon, these stay true to their fruity inspiration without being overly sour. 6/10

Fruit is nature’s candy.

Cookies

  • Chocolate Chip: This cookie is always a classic, safe option. Perfect for the less adventurous dessert-eater, these are some of the most consistently decent products of our very own Kutz Hall. 6/10
  • Chocolate Chip (thick): The chocolate chip cookie’s more rotund cousin packs a better chip-to-dough ratio. That said, there is a serious sacrifice in texture and consistency. These disprove the adage that “bigger is better.” In this case, bigger is about the same (but that’s not as catchy or alliterative so the media will be too afraid to adopt it). 6/10
  • Chocolate with white chocolate chips: A chocolate lover’s heaven. This cookie has a good taste and a decent texture, but the chocolate is a bit overbearing at times. The white chocolate chips do little to break up the monotony and richness, but, much like my attempts to fix my broken marriage, they don’t quite cut it. 4/10
  • S’mores: Arguably the cookie with the best texture (and, to be clear, I am arguing that) served here on campus, these thin delights are only lacking in the flavor department, leaving a somewhat strange, but enjoyable nonetheless, aftertaste of coffee. If this was the intended flavor profile, this could easily be bumped up to an 8/10. As it stands: 7/10
  • Oatmeal raisin: This can be a sensitive topic for cookie fans, so I will attempt to tread lightly. While there are very good oatmeal raisin cookies in general, oftentimes better than their chocolate chip counterparts, the ones at Brandeis leave a lot to be desired. If you love oatmeal raisin then these are passable but don’t expect to see me stacking my plate with these when other cookies are available (also, don’t expect to see me stacking anything on my plate, as I am a strict adherent to the horizontal doctrine, not the vertical one). 3/10
  • Oatmeal cranberry: Everything I just said about the oatmeal raisin cookie can be applied to these. The only difference, as the name would suggest, is craisins instead of raisins. To me, the cranberries provide too sharp of a contrast to the oatmeal cookie with their sourness. 2/10

Here’s a good one: “What’s the deal with cookies and bacon? I mean, you bake cookies, but you cook bacon; what’s up with that? Thank you, thank you, you’re too kind. When you erect a statue of me, please, keep it modest and stick to marble; bronze and gold are much too gaudy for me.”

Cakes

All the cakes at Brandeis are good. They use the same batter for all of them (I assume), regardless of the eventual use, so the only thing that really varies between the options is the combinations of frosting and cake.

  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles: One of the problems I have with chocolate desserts is that the overabundance of the ingredient can be too rich to be enjoyable. The sprinkles (or jimmies depending on your land of origin) do a nice job of adding a different flavor and texture to the cake, cutting down the chocolate overload. 6/10
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting: this cake is too chocolatey for its own good, but still decent. 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles: vanilla is a great base flavor. It doesn’t compete with anything that it may be frosted or garnished with, so its inclusion is a means of cutting the decadence of an overly rich or monotonous dessert. That being said, vanilla all by itself leaves a lot to be desired, even with the sprinkles. 5/10
  • Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting: while not as good as a potential chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, this is a perfectly fine use of vanilla in a dessert. 6/10
  • Vanilla cake with (pink) vanilla frosting: this rare dessert is beautifully decorated and is easily the most appetizing offering in any dining hall when it comes to the dessert options. That being said, it somehow takes vanilla and makes it too decadent. This is a dessert you will struggle to finish even a slice of: 4/10 (10/10 on aesthetic)

You might ask: “oh, omniscient ranker, how hard was it for you to make such an informative article?” Well, this section in particular was a real piece of [redacted]. Sorry, I couldn’t even go through with that joke. Anyway, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but you can have my opinion and read it too. And you just did.

This is part one of the series “Getting your just desserts.”

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