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[Photograph: Jay Friedman]

If you stroll into The Sycamore Kitchen in Los Angeles and stare at the sweets, the Salted Caramel Pecan Babka Roll will likely jump out at you as one of the most unique and enticing treats. And yup, we've already documented it as a winner. But there's a sun shining in the showcase: the Flourless Lemon Custard Cake ($3.00).

That brilliantly yellow sunny center is indeed lemon curd, a dollop of which is dropped into a gluten-free cake made with ground almonds, brown rice flour, sugar, eggs, and brown butter. It's a true butter-fest as the tangy butteriness of the curd complements the sweet butteriness of the cake. And yet the two components offer contrast, with the creamy, custardy curd inside playing well with the chewy, nutty exterior of the cake. The net effect is delicious, decadent richness.

A most miniscule sprig of thyme sits in the center of the cake, perhaps symbolizing, per tradition, courage and happiness. It takes courage to eat cake as others are ordering Sycamore's scintillating salads—but the resulting happiness is as satisfying as, well, a sunny day.

The Sycamore Kitchen

143 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (map)
(323) 939-0151; thesycamorekitchen.com

About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.

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