Red Velvet Cake at Screen Door Offers Three Layers of Deliciousness

Move over, pecan pie; there’s a new favorite in town.

Red Velvet Cake (Sara Beasley)

Screen Door’s banner dessert is arguably its creole pecan pie, which tastes so intense (Steen’s cane syrup custard is serious business!) that a dollop of whipped cream is a necessity, not an option. Yet the famed Southern comfort food restaurant has more than proven its mettle as a purveyor of wondrous cakes, particularly the red velvet variety. The harsh reality is that 99% of all cakes are too sweet, a problem often exacerbated by bludgeoning them with ice cream and frosting. In that category, Screen Door’s red velvet cake, masterminded by pastry chef Erin Eberlein-Sage, achieves perfect equilibrium: The cream cheese frosting is more buttery than sugary, and the cake itself prizes texture over sweetness. During my last visit, I dined on sweet potato gnocchi, then experienced a culinary hallelujah moment when the cake arrived, dusted with powdered sugar and flakes of chocolate. Biting into a dense yet soft, three-layer slice is heavenly, but so is the side dish: a scoop of vanilla ice cream perched atop a pile of red velvet crumbles. The presentation is a matter of practicality: You get to mix ice cream and crumbs together without your cake getting soggy. It’s more than comforting. It’s revelatory.

2337 E Burnside St., 503-542-0880,; 1131 NW Couch St., 503-542-0882, 9 am-2:30 pm and 5-9 pm daily. $12.

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