You can have your cake and eat it too! Not only cake but also soufflés, pies, cookies, ice cream, and — if you know where to look — a heaven-sent mashup of more than one of the above.
No longer an afterthought, desserts step center stage thanks to Miami restaurants breathing new life into the end of a meal, or in this case creating signature treats that warrant their own visit. Dessert fiends have their favorites around the 305, but take a bite of any of the following sweets — from iconic stunners to mouthwatering newcomers — for the ultimate cherry on top.
1. Pastelito cheesecake ice cream at Cream Parlor. Aside from the salads, wraps, panini, and pastries that come in vegetarian, vegan gluten-free, and protein-based varieties, one of the many reasons to visit Ainsley and Johnny Tsokos’ vintage mom-and-pop-style charmer is the selection of house-made ice creams. Try a few scoops of pastelito cheesecake, and if you’re calorie intake allows, get them sandwiched between your choice of decadent brownies, cookies, or doughnuts or in an artistically crafted cone. 8224 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-534-4180; creamparlor.com.
2. Key lime pie at Joe’s Stone Crab. Come for Joe’s Stone Crab’s sweet stone claws, but stay for the iconic restaurant's equally legendary dessert to cap off the meal. Transporting you to the Keys in a single bite, Joe’s key lime pie contains a rich, creamy, and zesty filling in a classic graham cracker crust. Have a slice ($8.95) or an entire nine-inch pie ($68.95). 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-0365; joesstonecrab.com.
3. Breakfast Club milkshake at Vicky’s House. What better way to satisfy your breakfast-food craving and your sweet tooth all at once than at this retro '80s-themed milkshake shop? Vicky’s House offers a slew of over-the-top milkshake creations, but when bacon is on the table, it needs no further explanation. Cue the Breakfast Club ($15), a vanilla shake with a peanut butter and Cap’n Crunch rim, whipped cream, Miami Smokers bacon, a glazed doughnut from the Salty Donut, and a shot of espresso for an extra kick. 3190 Commodore Plaza, Coconut Grove; 305-442-3377; vickyshouse.com.
4. Carrot cake at Market at Edition. It’s no easy feat perfecting the cake-to-frosting ratio, but Market at Miami Beach’s luxe Edition Hotel has mastered the art in its carrot cake ($8). Conclude your meal with a slice of this ultramoist cake, layered with a delicious cream cheese frosting that isn’t too thick or too thin, and topped with dulce de leche Rice Krispies balls for optimal taste and texture. Everyone loves a great carrot cake — Market is the place to get it. 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 786-257-4500;
5. Blueberry pie at the Dutch. For the perfect ending to your meal of American classics, save some room for one more dish: homemade pie à la mode. Find an always-changing rotation of freshly baked pies ($12 per slice) made by seasoned pastry chef Joshua Gripper. Flavors include salted lime, cherry apricot, banana cream, and his never-fail blueberry, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to seal the deal. 2201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-938-3111; .
6. Torrejas at Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill. What do you get when French toast is given a modern twist? At Sugarcane, you get tantalizing torrejas ($10) — dulce de leche-soaked French toast topped with maple caramelized apples and accompanied by a luscious scoop of cinnamon ice cream. It’s a seamless blend of breakfast and dessert for the ultimate sugar rush. 3250 NE First Ave., Miami; 786-369-0353;
7. Crème brûlée at Sweetness Bakeshop & Cafe. Though the family-owned bakery is known for its cupcakes that come in flavors such as PB&J, guayabera, Nutella, and cotton candy, don't miss the vanilla bean, Mexican chocolate, passionfruit, or lavender crème brûlée, each with a crisp top layer and smooth, velvety filling. 9549 Sunset Dr., Miami; 305-271-7791;
8. Coco Loco at Pubbelly Sushi. Pubbelly Sushi's Coco Loco ($11) celebrates Miami’s year-round tropical climate. The brainchild of pastry chef Maria Orantes, this light and refreshing dessert is made of coconut ice cream, coconut mousse, compressed pineapple, brown butter streusel, white chocolate blondie chunks, and candied coconut chips. Plus, it's served inside an actual coconut.1424 20th St., Miami Beach; 305-531-9282;
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9. Chocolate Delight at Icebox Cafe. Sugary bliss, Icebox Cafe boasts a variety of sumptuous cake flavors. However, there’s nothing like a slice of Icebox’s Chocolate Delight ($9.95) to take your chocolate obsession to the next level. This Oprah-approved recipe includes two layers of rich chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, a thick layer of cheesecake brownie, and bittersweet chocolate ganache frosting. 1855 Purdy Ave., Miami Beach; 305-538-8448;
10. Bedrock ice-cream sandwich at Wynwood Parlor. One bite of this nostalgic confection — aptly named the Bedrock ($5.50) and made with house-made red velvet cookies, vanilla ice cream, and Fruity Pebbles — will instantly transport you back to those carefree days of watching The Flintstones. Choose from other signature sandwich flavors, such as tiramisu, reverse Oreo, and triple chocolate, or make your own by mixing and matching cookies, ice creams, and toppings. Various locations across Miami; wynwoodparlor.com.