There were plenty of delicious things that drew Sugar Rush columnist Kathy and I to Morningside Heights on a recent weekend, but the real reason we went was the one that also, incidentally, ended up taking the cake: Mimi Truffles. It may be the most unconventionally run chocolatier business I've seen to date—all the truffles are made out of a Columbia dorm kitchen by a pair of engineering students—but after making the trip to see what they were all about, there's no question in my mind that the student entrepreneurs behind the endeavor, Melissa Pallay and Megan Schultz, are onto something special.
The truffles, carried at local Morningside Heights branches of Garden of Eden and West Side Market (3 for $4), aren't your average confections. Rather than filling their chocolate shells with ganache and brittle and marzipan, Mimi takes the route of the cake truffle. The flavors are nostalgia-inducing and comforting—think blueberry muffin, red velvet cake, devil's food cake, and banana bread. And unlike other cake truffles I've had, they keep their cake unbelievably moist and fresh, almost capturing that soft texture of cake that's just come out of the oven. Only this isn't burn-your-mouth hot and it's wrapped in chocolate.
So how do they do it? Our suspicion is that icing is used to keep the cakes from hardening. As much as that would risk a sugar overload, it makes sense, and in the case of this Devils Food truffle, it may have been what gave the truffle that extra pudding-y quality that we kept coming back to again and again.
Blueberry muffin, my personal favorite, was breakfast wrapped in dessert, a subtly sweeter version of my morning muffin with a super-cute blue dot of icing on top.
Mimi's fans seem to have adopted red velvet as their signature favorite, and indeed, these hit the spot.
Even the lemon, a flavor I almost never want to pair with chocolate, surprised me in its balanced flavor. There's nothing these girls make that didn't impress me.
What stands out most is how different these truffles are from anything else Kathy and I had ever tasted. We eat lots of chocolate for these columns, but no chocolatiers we've encountered devote themselves to cake truffles—it's simply too risky an endeavor. Leave it to two engineers baking out of a dorm room to prove them all wrong.
Until their kitchen space expands, I'm not expecting a big bump in production to source the rest of Manhattan, but I've got high hopes for Mimi Truffles down the line. For now, take my word that it's worth the trip up to Morningside Heights—you won't regret it.