Chocolate Cake with Two Mousses at Rocca

Ordering a new desert can be like going on a first date, or reaching into a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get, and the anticipation can trump the reality. As a child, did you ever contemplate your mom’s Whitman’s Sampler (that tantalizing matrix of glossy-umber possibilities), carefully select one, and tremulously bite into it, only to discover it was ... jelly? Noooooo! Mercifully, the new chocolate cake with Nutella mousse, chilled orange soufflé, and candied orange at Rocca (500 Harrison Avenue, Boston, 617.451.5151), the South End’s glamorous temple to Ligurian cuisine, won’t recall that terrible moment.

Rather, it’s like the awesome second bon-bon that your mom lets you have — the dark chocolate with orange crème, but with a more complex, love-triangle interplay of flavors. Start with a bite of that impossibly dark, bitterish chocolate cake with the airy, featherweight orange mousse. Next try a forkful of cake with the denser, creamier Nutella mousse, as reminiscent of a malted-milk-ball center as of hazelnuts. Now bite into the candied orange slice for its bracing, caramelized peel and faint whiff of thyme. Your date may prove to be the equivalent of a chocolate-covered jelly, but at least dessert will be what you hoped for: rich and dreamy and satisfying.