Chocolate cake: one of life’s simplest and most rewarding delights is decidedly bittersweet. Starting with the moment the knife slices through dark, tender layers, dredging through velvety crumbs and glossy frosting, all the way to the soul-satisfying accomplishment of a licked-clean plate, the pleasures of chocolate cake remain unmatched.

Whichever way it’s delivered, chocolate cake finds a way to cater to everyone. Dressed up, down,decadently flourless with ice cream, or bursting with pink pralines, there isn’t an occasion that doesn’t warrant a thick slice and an ice-cold glass of milk.