The Best Places in L.A. to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Salted caramel éclair and lemon tart | Photo courtesy of Café Rockenwagner

If you have a sweet tooth, there’s no better time to be in Los Angeles. Ice cream, donut and pastry newcomers abound, and there’s more on the way, most notably the opening of a Helms Bakery project by ex-Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard and partner Sang Yoon. To help you satisfy your sweet tooth, here are some of the top confections being served in Los Angeles.

Salted caramel éclair and lemon tart | Photo courtesy of Café Rockenwagner

Café Rockenwagner

The latest entry in the mini Rockenwagner empire is a sleek, sunny Brentwood café where you’ll find an array of desserts courtesy of El Bulli and Bazaar alum Cesar Bermudez Cifuentes - not the sort of pastries any mere mortal could whip up. The salted caramel éclair is a classic French éclair filled with silken caramel cream and enhanced with fleur de sel. The final touch is a glaze of melted chocolate, and for a bit of whimsy and crunch, Valrhona chocolate pearls. The lovely little lemon tart, capped with an adorable homemade lime marshmallow, is sure to please the lemon loving crowd.

Vanilla éclair at Chaumont | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Chaumont Bakery & Cafe

Pastries are displayed like jewels at this smart, oh so French café, a welcome alternative to the multiple chain coffee shops on Beverly Drive. You know those behemoth corner donut store éclairs, the ones that are the size of a small child and whose major flavor profile is sweet? Chaumont’s éclairs are the antithesis: pretty, slender models with ribbed sides and a restrainedly frosted top. There are three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and coffee. Each is filled with an ethereal matching cream filling. Traditionalists will likely opt for vanilla. And what do you get when you mix good butter, good chocolate, and a baker with a sure hand? Perfect chocolate croissants, naturellement.

Vanilla crème caramel at Crème Caramel | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Crème Caramel

Kristine de la Cruz’s decadent offerings have long been a farmers market fave. Now she has a sweet little café, so you can get your fix any time. If there were an award for Sexiest Dessert, it would have to go to the vanilla crème caramel: a smoother than silk, not-too-sweet crème with the mouth feel of a big red, accented with a light but intensely flavored caramel. De la Cruz gives a nod to her Filipino roots with mini upside down ube pies. The ube, or purple yam, imparts an earthy flavor to the custard and a gorgeous violet hue. A topping of buttery, crumbled graham offsets the creaminess.

Jets to Basil at Donut Friend | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Donut Friend

Donuts get the luxe, custom treatment at this sunny, modern, café in hip Highland Park. Eating a donut with a knife and fork might be sacrilegious. But you’ll probably ask for them when you tuck into the Jets To Basil: a glazed donut cut in half, bagel style, spread with soft goat cheese, a generous smear of strawberry jam, and a few fresh torn basil leaves. It’s reassembled and finished with a sugar glaze and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. It’s an over-the-top, sweet and savory, happy mess. Because this is L.A., the Bacon 182, a maple glazed donut sporting a crown of crunchy bacon, is available in a vegan version as well.

The Cruffin’ at Kettle Glazed | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Kettle Glazed

This haute modern donut shop is conveniently located right off the 101 freeway. Though its nubby misshapen top looks a bit like a baker’s mistake, The Cruffin’ is a revelation: an oversized muffin fashioned from rich croissant dough. It’s at once chewy and buttery with touches of cinnamon. The Tuesdays-only pistachio cronut is finished with crumbled nuts and hides a creamy, oozy surprise of supple pistachio custard.

Signature mille crepes at Lady M | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

Lady M

Some of the prettiest cakes in town come courtesy of this New York import located across from Cedars-Sinai. The signature mille crepes ‘cake’ - layer after layer of tender, paper thin crepe held together with cool, not too sweet, luscious pastry cream - is a sight to behold. And the taste and texture are utterly seductive. The green tea mille crepe subs out the usual cream for green tea infused cream and a fine dusting of matcha powder - it’s Japan by way of France, or maybe it’s the other way around.

Blueberry pie ice cream at Quenelle | Photo by Leslee Komaiko


Pastry chef John Park, formerly of Father’s Office and Lukshon, turns out inspired ice cream at a tiny Burbank storefront. He also makes desserts for BrewWell in Koreatown. Park takes no shortcuts for the blueberry pie ice cream, or anything else at Quenelle. He starts by cooking blueberry pie filling and baking buttery pie crusts. Then that intense blueberry filling and crushed crust get folded into creamy vanilla ice cream. Top it with the housemade caramelized rice - ultra crispy, sweetened Krispies. There’s also a frozen take on a lunchbox favorite: super smooth peanut butter soy milk ice ‘cream,’ ribboned with grape jelly. Note: Quenelle is cash only.

Buttercup at The Sycamore Kitchen | Photo by Leslee Komaiko

The Sycamore Kitchen

Prepare to stand in line at Karen and Quinn Hatfield’s wildly popular urban café, but it’s well worth the wait. There’s no better showcase for butter in all its glory than the buttercup, a pretty package of pull-apart, delicate, buttery layers with a light, crisp, sugary jacket that shatters like glass. The caramel pecan babka seem to disappear as soon as the bakers set out another tray. If you can get one, it’s a sticky, burnished gold beauty topped with pecans.