BIG Bundts & More
721 Broad Street, Durham, bigbundts.com
If you can drive by this little shop without that Sir Mix-a-Lot song queuing up in your brain, then you are a better person than we are. In any event, you should know that BIG Bundts makes better bundts than the dry, boring things you’re probably used to—take the chocolate drip, which is sinfully moist and deliciously chocolatey. You will like them, and you cannot lie.
16 East Martin Street, Raleigh, bittersweetraleigh.com
You can sate your sweet tooth (and your booze tooth) day and night at this lovely dessert, cocktail, and coffee lounge. Grab a morning cookie and a coffee from the take-out window, or drop in for an evening dessert and a nightcap. On the sweets front, don’t miss owner Kim Hammer’s signature salty chipwich ice cream sandwich, which is rolled in bourbon caramel corn.
Crawford and Son
618 North Person Street, Raleigh, crawfordandsonrestaurant.com
We’re fans of Scott Crawford’s cooking, but we’d eat here just for Krystle Swenson’s desserts. The menu changes often, but you can always count on inventive combinations, seasonal inflections, and precise technique. Recent favorites include a coconut layer cake with paw paw sherbet and an apple Danish with oat streusel and brown butter.
Jack Tar & The Colonel’s Daughter
202 Corcoran Street, Durham, jacktar-durham.com
Jack Tar’s menu features elevated renditions of classic American fare, including dessert. Peep the glass domes on the countertop for the cakes and pies of the day (don’t skip the ethereal French silk pie) or opt for the fried-to-order crullers served with Chantilly mascarpone and jam.
235 South Salisbury Street, Raleigh, lucettegrace.com
Daniel Benjamin’s patisserie’s sunny décor and cheery vibes match its stunning display case of whimsical confections. There’s a rainbow-hued assortment of macarons (don’t miss the salted caramel) alongside signature sweets such as the candy bar cake and salted caramel brownie, plus macaron ice cream sandwiches in the summer (in flavors such as birthday cake and chocolate chip cookie dough).
Mithai Indian Café
744 East Chatham Street, Suite F, Cary, mithaius.com
Mithai Indian Café features scratch-made, traditional Indian sweets, all crafted without fillers and preservatives (many are vegan, too). Settle into the cafe with a cup of chai and a piece of pedha, a caramelized milk fudge, or pista burfi, a denser milk fudge made with ground pistachios. You can also create a custom box to go, which makes a fine gift.
Pickle Jar Cafe
480 Hillsboro Street, Pittsboro, picklejarcafe.com
There’s a solid menu of hearty sandwiches here, but save room for the desserts baked by Wendy Tomblin, aka The Country Bakeress. Tomblin has her own custom cakes business but whips up daily desserts for Pickle Jar, including buttermilk sweet potato cake with maple pecan glaze and a strawberry rhubarb tart. If one of her cheesecakes is on offer, grab it.
Rose’s Noodles, Dumplings & Sweets
121 North Gregson Street, Durham, rosesdurham.com
Co-owner and pastry chef Katie Meddis is responsible for the sweets part of the name, and she delivers with a stunning pastry case of macarons, cookies, and cakes. Run, don’t walk, for her ice cream sandwiches, in flavors such as blueberries-and-cream, Jasmine tea-and-strawberry, Meyer lemon sorbet, and caramel apple.
2130 Clark Ave, Raleigh, socaraleigh.com
Pastry director Brittany Grantham oversees desserts at small-plates restaurant so•ca, but you’ll want her gorgeously plated concoctions all to yourself. To wit, metallic purple chocolates filled with elderflower and lavender white chocolate, wreathed with flower petals, or a playful riff on a choco-taco plated with toasted meringue and rum-glazed bananas. She works wonders with vegan desserts, too, as with an avocado-chocolate mousse paired with cherry sorbet.
12516 Capital Boulevard, #106, Wake Forest, spreadthesweetness.com
Spend a few minutes scanning Yelp or another repository of internet complaining and see if you can find some rando who found a reason to dislike LeAne Boksleitner’s cupcakes. We couldn’t. And that should tell you something: Her cupcakes rule. So do her cakes, and her macarons, and her donuts, and her cinnamon rolls, and … we’ll be right back. We’ve got to drive out to Wake Forest right now for no reason in particular.
2018 Best of the Triangle Readers’ Picks, Best Desserts:
The Parlour, Durham County
Weaver Street Market, Orange and Chatham Counties
Hayes Barton Café, Wake County