September 2019: We love our desserts as much as we love our South Beach diet, admittedly. It’s called balance, folks. And when the sugar cravings hit, we don’t squander calories on mediocre treats. Nope, we make sure to seek out the city’s top confections to ensure ultimate caloric pleasure. Case in point, this list of the best desserts in Miami, which we freshened up with family recipes, icebox cakes and pies big and small—some tiny, in fact. Size notwithstanding, every single one of these sweets is sure to impress.
Looking for the best desserts in Miami? We understand. Not everyone has a sweet tooth, but the ones who do know that dinner is only a warm-up for the course that really matters. Sure, we’ll grin through a meal at the best vegetarian restaurants in Miami and accompany you to the best steakhouses in Miami—but what we’re really looking forward to is dessert. Whether it be an off-the-wall flammable dish or a new twist on an old classic, we want it on a plate in front of us. We don’t care it if ruins our beach day abs.
A bakery we love so much that we welcomed them into Time Out Market
One of famed pastry chef Antonio Bachour’s signature creations, the Gianduja Cake has been on the menu of every single one of his outposts since day one. This gorgeous mini dessert is a hazelnut cake delicately layered with chocolate hazelnut mousse and coconut gianduja whipped ganache and then topped with hazelnut praline. It’s sized just right for a personal serving, meaning everyone might want to make sure to order their own.
Best desserts in Miami
It’s tough to say no to a pie, especially when it’s small enough to eat in just a couple of bites. At Pink Pie in Wynwood, the slogan “Don’t be shy, try some pie” is more than enough to lure in those with a sweet tooth. Flavors change seasonally, though the key lime and Oreo Nutella are fan-favorites that are always available. Don’t slack on the s’more pie that’s smoked with hickory wood to help recreate the special campfire experience—the burnt marshmallow used inside the filling is a nice touch, too.
One of the best desserts in Miami can be found at a downtown Bar—seriously. Jaguar Sun’s chef Carey Hynes uses the morning’s leftover Kouign-amann (he makes the flaky, buttery pastry for sister coffee shop Mockingbird) and pairs it with housemade vanilla ice cream to create an unforgettable ice-cream sandwich experience that’s sweet and savory all at once. Consider putting in the request for the sandwich the moment you sit down as this dish sells out almost every night.
Where else can you go but home for the perfect old-school tall slice of coconut cake? KYU in Wynwood for the restaurant’s signature dessert made using chef/co-owner Michael Lewis’s mom’s family recipe. A towering slice of alternating layers of fluffy coconut cake and creamy coconut frosting is finished off with a generous sprinkling of coconut flakes and served with a side of fresh coconut ice cream placed on a bed of—what else?—toasted coconut. Pro tip: Call ahead and purchase a whole cake to-go. You’ll definitely want more for the road.
Created by one of the most talented pastry chefs to ever bless Miami, Hedy Goldsmith’s peanut butter ice cream pie is the stuff of dreams. Essentially an icebox cake, it features made with an Oreo-cookie crust that’s piled high with peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter cups, marshmallow creme and a hefty drizzling of hot fudge. The whole thing is garnished with an edible chocolate rooster that’s both tasty and on-brand. (Editor’s note: The award-winning pastry chef is no longer with the restaurant but the dessert remains on the menu.)
Everyone knows about Dallas Wynne’s famed snickerdoodle cookies at Stubborn Seed, but the talented pastry chef puts out some of the best composed desserts available in Miami. For those who crave over cookies, the dark chocolate cake confection is a real treat. It features thick layers of moist dark chocolate cake, chocolate crema and passion fruit mousse, and a meringue-and-passion-fruit topping. As if it couldn’t get any better, this hearty slice of cake is served with Valrhona chocolate ice cream whose flavor and texture are reminiscent of a Wendy’s chocolate frosty in all the right ways.
Bread pudding seems to be a staple dessert on menus around Miami, but not all bread pudding is created equally. At Cafe La Trova, the luscious bread pudding made by award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein is one not to be missed. The rich dessert, served in a tiny dutch oven, is filled with morsels of velvety chocolate that find themselves melted into gooey pockets and features bright citrus notes thanks to the orange rinds Bernstein uses to flavor it. The best part? Digging in your fork to find chunks of rum-soaked raisins.
The chocolate croissant bread pudding is totally unexpected on the Viet-Cajun menu, but Phuc Yea rarely plays by the rules and this dish is the best kind of surprise. This dessert is rich and gooey with a lovely drizzle of condensed milk and a generous pile of shaved coconut on top. It’ll put you in a sugar coma—but it’s so worth it.
Pastry Chef Soraya Kilgore has elevated soft serve to a mad science over at the Design District. Here, you can build the ice cream cone of your dreams with fantastical toppings such as rice crispies, Japanese cheesecake, brownies, sprinkles, cotton candy, gold flakes and even edible glitter. Be sure to snag a photo before it starts to melt.