Strawberry Borghese Cake Jasper's Restaurant 1201 West 103rd Street · 816-941-6600
The Borghese family was one of the most powerful in Rome, and it built impressive palazzi and elaborate villas in the Eternal City. Perhaps that's what the late Jasper Mirabile and his wife, Josephine, remembered when they saw a towering layer cake in the window of a pastry shop in New York City one day in 1954. "My parents couldn't get over how beautiful the cake was, so they bought a slice and took it back to their hotel room," says Jasper Jr., the executive chef at his family's namesake restaurant. At home in Kansas City, Josephine made her own version, layering a light, moist cake with fresh Chantilly cream and icing it with swirls of whipped cream, toasted coconut and fresh strawberries. For 48 years, it has remained the restaurant's best-selling dessert -- even though some customers are shocked by its distinctive color, which comes from the potently flavored but nonalcoholic Fabri syrup. "The color is so vibrantly pink that it looks like it's imitation, but it's not," says Jasper Jr. "We just tell the wary diners that it only takes one taste and they're hooked." A giant wedge can vanish in an instant -- even less time if you have to share it. Order two.