Best Pastries: The second most sensual use of whipped cream
With desserts being a sin, there are some who want to grovel in their decadence, abasing themselves with dense three-chocolate cakes globbed over in chocolate sauce and canned whipped cream. Some of us, though, prefer a road to perdition paved with lace and rose petals. Elizabeth Kloian, owner of Crixa Cakes, is our baker. An aesthetic descendant of the Eastern Europeans and Austrians, her tortes -- layers of whipped cream, liqueur-soaked sponge cake -- are miracles of physics; sturdy in construction, ephemeral in their deconstruction. Her eggless chocolate pavé (too often a fudge brick with some proprietors) is as tender as a sponge cake but hides a dark chocolate kick. A heady whiff of the exotic infuses her wares. She molds springerles, traditional German cookies, into Gothic temple reliefs. She bakes frosted buns infused with Syrian spices. And two of Crixa's most popular pastries come with a swirl of buttery innuendo: the Horns of Damascus, and Fatima's Thighs.