6. Empire Cake
Classic American snack cakes such as Twinkies and Snowballs have amassed legions of devoted followers across the globe, but in New York City, Empire Cake in Chelsea, near the Meatpacking District, deliciously ups the snack cake ante, creating modern gourmet versions in the style of the popular classics. The treats are made daily, by hand, using high-quality ingredients, such as Belgian chocolate and whole vanilla beans. Choose from such sweet temptations as a red velvet snack cake dipped in white chocolate with a cream cheese filling; a Brooklyn blackout chocolate snack cake enrobed in bittersweet chocolate with a chocolate pudding filling; or a pink coconut-covered and coconut cream-filled dome-shaped snack cake.
At Billy’s Bakery, visitors can enjoy iconic desserts from the American South, such as banana cream pie, yellow daisy cake and pecan pie, in a bright, retro setting. Be sure to try a slice of Billy’s Crowd Pleaser cake (below) – alternating layers of chocolate and vanilla cake slathered with rich chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. Or try one of the moist, springy cupcakes, like the vanilla blackberry frosted with a lime buttercream, or a slice of the thick, rich peanut butter chocolate pie. Billy’s bakeries are in Chelsea TriBeCa, the Plaza Food Hall and Canal Street Market.
Doughnut Plant’s owner Mark Isreal is descended from a long line of bakers and started Doughnut Plant with his grandfather’s cherished doughnut recipe. The massive doughnuts are made by hand daily, using all-natural ingredients and fresh fruit glazes. Isreal’s inventive additions to the family legacy include the crème brûlée doughnut, filled with a house-made vanilla custard and torched to caramelise the sugar topping for a satisfying burnt sugar crunch. Some of the most-clamoured-for items are the tres leches cake doughnut and the coconut cream-filled square doughnut. You can find Doughnut Plant in New York City’s Chelsea and Lower East Side, as well as in Brooklyn and Queens. Doughnut Plant has opened in Tokyo and Seoul as well.
9. Chikalicious Dessert Bar and Chikalicious Dessert Club
Owner and pastry chef Chika Tillman founded Chikalicious Dessert Bar as a place for those who wanted to make delicious desserts the focus, rather than the coda of the meal. Multi-course dessert service can include such enticing selections as a main course of fromage blanc island cheese cake, served with an amuse bouche of Concorde grape sorbet with panna cotta, and petits fours of coconut marshmallow, apple pudding cake and cinnamon truffle, paired with Oremus Tokaji 2000.
Just across the street, Dessert Club Chikalicious is the spot for desserts that can be eaten on site or taken out, without waiting for a seat at Dessert Bar. Some of Dessert Club’s most popular confections include the dough’ssant, with flavours such as salted caramel and Teuscher chocolate, and the churro cone (below). Chikalicious’ new Nutty Professor churro cone is rimmed with brown sugar pecan, lined with Nutella and filled with vanilla ice cream. Chikalicious also pleases palates worldwide, with locations in Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Bangkok and Dubai.
10. Levain Bakery
Levain Bakery is known for baked goods such as its enormous six-ounce cookies that are delightfully soft and gooey in the middle and crunchy on the outside. Sink your teeth into a dark-chocolate chocolate chip cookie or a sweet walnut sticky bun at one of four Levain locations: two on the Upper West Side, one in Harlem and a fourth in the Hamptons.
– TEXT BY EVA LEONARD
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.