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La Donutería
© Ivan Giménez La Donutería

Top 15 best desserts in Barcelona

Cakes, doughnuts, croissants, even vegan options... We pay homage to our picks of the sweetest treats in Barcelona

By Erica Aspas, Eugènia Sendra, Ricard Martín and Maria Jose Gómez
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We love a good brunch, an amazing lunch in one of Barcelonas best restaurants, and some of us have even been lucky enough to sample a meal thats been awarded a Michelin star. But we’ve all got our sweet side, and here we openly reveal our weaknesses when it comes to needing a sugar fix. Local desserts as well as sweet creations with origins from farther afield, these top treats will brighten any day. Join us as we lead you into temptation. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best shops in Barcelona

Our favourite sweet treats in Barcelona

Demasié
© Ivan Giménez

Demasié: Cinnamon roll

Restaurants Dreta de l'Eixample

Are its origins in Sweden, Finland, the USA? It all depends on who you ask, but we stopped caring when we tried one. The cinnamon roll should be a favourite dessert in every country of the world. In Demasié – run by two Catalan brothers – they’re so sure that they make the best cinnamon roll in Barcelona that they seduce us with them from their window display of gorgeousness that they bake up daily. Each one is a sweet bomb of spongy cake – best if eaten slightly warm – where they haven’t scrimped on cinnamon or the sugary icing on top that dribbles down into the rolls in a gooey delight. We’re fans of the classic, but since we do enjoy sharing the love, we’ve also fallen for the Nutella, the Oreo, the berry and the tiramisu varieties.

Dark Forest La Besnéta
© La Besnéta

La Besnéta: Dark Forest

Shopping Bakeries Gràcia

For vegans, the patisserie La Besnéta is the closest thing to paradise on earth. And guess what? It’s pretty close for non-vegans as well. It also happens to be one of the cutest spots in town: in addition to cakes of all kinds, sold whole or by the slice, they sell splendid little glass jars filled with various desserts that you can enjoy there or take away. The Dark Forest is like a sexy kiss in the moonlight: chocolate cake with chocolate, Marcona almond and not much else gets you a ticket to heaven. It’s sweet but not overly so, just enough to send you floating on a cloud the rest of the day. Oh, and the lemon pie deserves a more than honourable mention...

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Casa Vives
© Ivan Giménez

Casa Vives: The berry millefeuille

Shopping Bakeries Dreta de l'Eixample

This is a classic dessert at Vives and a favourite for anyone with a strong sweet tooth, which is why you’ll find the berry millefeuille available every day (if you want an individual portion, you’ll have to order it in advance). The recipe is simple: layers of crunchy filo dough alternated with raspberry filling – they make the jam themselves – and heavy or light cream, along with a topping of strawberries, raspberries and other berries. The cream has just the right touch of sugar without being sickeningly sweet, the fruit is tart and the filo dough reminds us of the desserts after Sunday dinners from our childhood.

La Donuteria
© Maria Dias

La Donutería: Dulce de leche doughnut

Restaurants Sant Antoni

Hearing the word ‘­doughnut’ might conjure the kind you can get in any old bakery or supermarket. Forget all of those. At La Donutería you'll find big round spongy cakes glazed with vanilla or pistachio. The most popular are the banana, coffee and cocoa one, and the berry with beetroot. But our hands-down absolute favourite is the dulce de leche with almonds, cocoa and Maldon sea salt. These dense gems arent cheap, but its worth heading to Sant Antoni to try one of La Donuterías sugary delicacies.

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Kurimu ice cream
Photograph: Ochiai/Kurimu

Kurimu: Black sesame ice cream

Restaurants Ice-cream parlours L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample

Takashi Ochiai is one of the great pastry chefs in Barcelona, and as of late 2019, he’s also had his hands in ice cream. With the help of Italian artisan Andrea de Bellis, Ochiai has developed a traditional Italian ice cream parlour with Japanese touches. Head inside Kurimu to travel in delirious creaminess to Asia with sherbets and ice creams with flavours such as cherry and ‘umeboshi’ (Japanese plum) and the amazing black sesame.

Agramunt chocolate mousse cake, La Petita de la Gran
Photograph: La Petita de la Gran

La Petita de la Gran: ‘Agramunt’ cake

Shopping Bakeries El Putget i Farró

Pastry chef Maria Victoria of La Petita de la Gran has a doctorate in biochemistry and trained at Barcelona’s prestigious Hofmann School of Hostelry. We cannot recommend her ‘Agramunt’ cake highly enough: this is a dark chocolate mousse cake with almond praline mousse, crispy almond and a chocolate crumble base. And even though she makes some trendsetting treats with the highest-quality eggs, sugar, butter and chocolate, her creations will still take you on a direct route to pleasure and make your sweet tooth sing. And that’s just what every pastry chef hopes to accomplish. 

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Honey-B
Photograph: Amaranto Bakery

Honey-B: Asian and Mexican pastries

Shopping Bakeries Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

Honey-B is a ‘co-baking’ pastry shop: different artisans bake and sell their specialities here. You won’t go wrong if you choose from their Asian pastry line (those mochis and dorayakis!) or the sweet Mexican treats (traditional and creative) from Amaranto Bakery. Our pick: a splendid margarita-inspired ‘tres leches’ cake with mango, coconut and tequila! Plus, this must be the only place in Barcelona where you can celebrate the Day of the Dead with a ‘Pan de Muertos’, which is a soft and fluffy sponge cake flavoured with orange and orange blossom.

The Cake Man Bakery
Photograph: The Cake Man Bakery

The Cake Man Bakery: Vegan chocolate cake with rose petals

Shopping Bakeries El Poblenou

Australian pastry chef Hayden Colledge worked out of Honey-B (see above) until he branched out on his own. He says his distinguishing feature as a baker in Barcelona is his affinity for Australian and English pastries. Among his classics, youll find whats considered one of Australia’s national desserts, the Lamington: chocolate and coconut cake filled with raspberry jam! And he does an unforgettable vegan chocolate cake with pistachios and rose petals, which is a house speciality: once you eat a slice of this light and tasty cake, you will not be able to leave a crumb behind.

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Koku Kitchen Buns: Banoffee

Restaurants Japanese Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

Its not that banoffee has origins in any type of Asian cuisine, but at Koku Kitchen they make one thats borderline sinful. When you go to Koku for a tasty ramen or scrumptious baos, be sure you leave room for banoffee for dessert, putting a sublime end to your meal. In case youre not familiar with the concept, atop a lightly salty biscuit base thats as dense as a gold brick is a layer of addictive toffee and another of banana slices. This is all topped with a swirl of whipped cream thats so thick it could support you standing up. And the best news is their banoffee is almost always a dessert option in the set lunch menus. (Also available at their Barri Gòtic location.)

Bubó
© Bubó

Bubó: Nutella and hazelnut croissant

Restaurants Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

As kids, we were crazy for chocolate croissants. Now were older, our great temptation is the Nutella and hazelnut croissant at Bubó. The pastry has a perfect crunch to it, and on top are little pieces of caramelised hazelnuts, while inside is a bar of Nutella, as consistent and smooth as a bonbon. You have other choices too, like the marzipan and walnut croissant, or the one with dark chocolate inside adorned with pistachios on top. And if youre not in the mood for sitting on the terrace with a view of the lovely Santa Maria del Mar church, walk a few steps along from the Bubó Bar and youre in their pâtisserie, a boutique of sweet jewels.

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Chis & Keik, Jack Daniel's cheesecake
Photograph: Chis & Keik

Chis & Keik: 100 cheesecakes to choose from

Shopping Bakeries Sarrià

In a charming corner of Sarrià, siblings Xavier and Asun Uñó have set up Chis & Keik, an artisan workshop where they make the New York­–style cheesecake they discovered during childhood holidays. You may think you know cheesecake, but nobody does what Chis & Keik do in Barcelona: they have a hundred variations of the stuff in their repertoire, from the classics to inventions like the ‘­Elvis forever, with peanut butter, banana and crispy bacon. Plus they have cakes for all occasions. Got a kids party? How about the ‘­Pink Panther cheesecake? An over-the-top chocolate craving? Try the Ferrero Rocher and Nutella! (Psst, they do carrot cake too!)

Ochiai: Green tea mochi

Shopping Bakeries Eixample

These days mochis are the trendiest of desserts. They’ve sprouted up like wild mushrooms on menus all over Barcelona. But if you want to be sure you’re trying the real deal, you’ve got to go to the original source: the Ochiai bakery, which started showing us how sweet Japanese creations could be way back in 1983. They’ve got various flavours – including chocolate and a local version of crema catalana – but for us, the best is the green tea: the subtle glutinous outer bit cradles a mousse filling that’s so soft and delicious that you’ll feel like you’re biting into a cloud of green tea. A delicate thing of beauty.

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Tarte & Quiche
© Ivan Giménez

Tarte & Quiche: White chocolate and pistachio tart

Restaurants Mediterranean Eixample

Even if you’re not a fan of white chocolate, you’ll fall for this finely crafted treat from Tarte & Quiche, a haven for French desserts (and quiches, as you might have deduced). Into a base of shortcrust pastry goes a layer of crunchy praline, and the pistachio paste in the white chocolate ganache gives nuances to the sweetness and the quality of the chocolate: the less sugar it has, the better it tastes. You’ll also want to try other formidable flavours such as the matcha (with organic Japanese green tea), lavender (with actual flowers) and coffee.

Tartas del Norte chocolate bomb cake
Photograph: Tartas del Norte

Tartas del Norte

Shopping Bakeries El Poble-sec

Belgians know what they’re doing when it comes to working with cocoa, needless to say, so it’s no wonder that one of Belgian pastry chef Heins Depoortere’s specialities is called ‘chocolate bomb’. From his workshop, located in a narrow street in Poble-sec, emerge wonders such as lemon pie, apple crumble and a well-deserved carrot cake, all of which he makes from scratch. You can order yours and go and pick it up, or theyll deliver it to you (Heins might just drop it off himself).

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Flaó
© Vicent Marí

Formentor: Flaó

Shopping

The hunt for regional Catalan specialities in Barcelona has become a difficult task. The most notable absence is the ‘flaona’ that originates in the Empordà: we’re talking about little cakes filled with cream, with a powerful hit of sugar, lemon and cinnamon. It’s crunchy around the outside and celestially sweet in the middle, and shaped like a capital ‘D’. So we can’t find that anywhere, but we are happy with its Iberian relative, ‘flaó’: a tasty cake made with flour and pork lard, filled with cream or, more often, soft sheep’s or goat’s cheese. You’ll find it in the Mallorcan bakery Formentor.

More temptations: Artisan and signature sweets

La Colmena
© Ivan Giménez

La Colmena

Shopping Bakeries El Gòtic

A Barcelona classic, La Colmena has been standing in its current location since 1867. You'll find sweets in a ridiculous variety of flavours – strawberry, pineapple, marshmallow, fennel, lavender, honey.... For less than €30/kilo you can try artisanal sweets from the oldest shop in Catalonia.

Çukor
© Ivan Giménez

Çukor

Shopping Gràcia

Three vintage shop dummy heads can't take their eyes off of the collection of sweets that are more like dried fruit than commercial candies. You'll be hypnotized as well when you cross the threshold at Çukor, an academy of sweetness run by artisans of sugar and chocolate. They've got standards like fluffy pink marshmallows, but there's an artistry to them you'll notice right away. They also sell sweets from around the world.

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Papabubble

Shopping Chocolate and sweets Ciutat Vella

Here you'll find sweets in the shape of jewellery, sushi or whatever you can dream up, because the candy makers at Papabubble are specialists in personalization. They're on a mission to surprise customers with something new every day – to help you develop new sensations, excite your imagination and stimulate your childhood memories. To do all this, they work hard to reinvent and reimagine sweets on a daily basis.

Can’t shake that ice cream craving? Get Barcelona’s best!

Kurimu
Photograph: Maria Dias

Barcelona’s best ice cream

Shopping

Dont forget another tempting way to cool off in the warmer months (or enjoy a tasty treat anytime) is with our selection of the best ice cream in Barcelona. Theyre original, and from a variety of different origins, but they all have one thing in common – theyre delicious!

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