[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Most vegan and gluten-free sweets taste unavoidably healthy in one way or the other. Not this one.

The Chocolate Truffle Cake ($11) at Sacred Chow in the West Village is a pretty hefty number, big enough to share. It starts off with a ridiculously thick layer of chocolate ganache, so dense that it's almost overwhelming, but it's lightened just enough by a tart raspberry filling.

Eventually you reach the actual cake, which is slightly crumbly but pound-cake dense. There's a touch of grittiness to the crumb, but it's much more moist and cake-like than most x-free sweets of its kind. On their own, each layer may seem a little overwhelming, but get a bit of each of them on your fork, and the flavor and texture will be spot-on.

Sacred Chow

227 Sullivan Street, New York, NY 10012 (map)

About the author: Ari Rudess is a Serious Eats intern and student at Wesleyan University. You can check out her Wesleyan food blog at www.wesstuffed.com


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