My days of the endless back and forth to Tallahassee have been replaced by endless days back and forth to Lansing, Michigan. I miss Tally, but Lansing has it's own charm. As I write this, large soft snowflakes are curling their way down outside. You don't get this in Tallahassee.
When it comes to food, the two towns have a lot more in common: Wendy's recently took home top prize for Chili in the Lansing city magazine.
This makes Chapelure all the more fabulous to find, nestled in the back corner of a parking lot that also includes the best Sushi and the best Middle Eastern food I've come across here (it's a really good parking lot). Windows stretch across the whole length of the cafe, especially pretty on a night like this when the warm light of the pendant lamps contrast with the view of the snow falling outside.
The inside is dominated by a glass case full of stunning cakes - drizzled with chocolate, topped with fruit, covered in slivered almonds. They advertise themselves as sort of Asian/French
fusion, but it all seems pretty straight up French to me. I guess they've got a lot of loose leaf tea. That's kind of Asian.
It's a hard thing to narrow yourself down faced with case like that, but I managed to get myself all the way to an order of mocha layer cake. As it was handed to me across the counter with a giant mug of black coffee, the woman working here said to me - "it's butter cream, and it's a little chilled now - best to wait a minute before you eat it." Good sign. I love being told to wait before I eat something. Every time that happens a fairy gets her wings and Burger King cries.
I waited as long as I could (not very long) and dug in. Cake: moist and tender, with an exceptionally fine crumb. Frosting. OMG. Frosting was amazing - just a hint of mocha and as silky as any I remember. The slice was, thankfully, small. I'd have eaten more, but why? The joy at the end of a mountain of cake is blunted. The first few bites is the key, when you get transported a little by the balance of sugar and silk. And maybe a little lost in the depth of the fresh, almost grassy coffee.
I picked up a loyalty card when I stopped in. It's one point for every dollar you spend. When you hit 500 - free 6" cake. I have some confidence that there is a free cake in my future.