Duchess Bake Shop
If we were able to raise banners for the all-time greatest Best Restaurants performers, Duchess’s name would be going to our rafters. Since we launched the annual Best Restaurants feature back in 2012, the Best Dessert category has been dominated by Duchess – that’s five straight wins.
There are many reasons why a visit to Duchess is as enthralling now as it was five years ago: the French country atmosphere; the buttery, flaky tarts; the multi-coloured macarons that give an entirely new meaning to that candy company’s slogan, “Taste the rainbow.”
But, no matter who is on Avenue‘s judging panel, no matter what up-and-coming challengers open their doors, the Best Dessert debate continues to be one of the shortest ones we have, year after year. It’s a tribute to Duchess’s unshaking vision and the commitment to make the best baked treats in the city. –Steven Sandor
10718 124 St., 780-488-4999, duchessbakeshop.com
There’s more to Dauphine than meets the eye – assuming, of course, that it caught your eye in the first place. It’s easy to miss in its basement space on the 104th Street promenade, but if you happen to spot the outdoor sandwich board and basket of baguettes, or even catch the scent of delicious baked goods wafting out the door, you’re in for a treat – or several.
Beyond baking bread and serving delicious soups and sandwiches, Dauphine’s reputation for tasty dessert creations is well-earned. But no dessert at Dauphine is more lauded than its tarts. The lemon tart alone keeps calling me back, but it’s the rich, creamy and delectable chocolate hazelnut tart that haunts my dreams. –Cory Haller
10129 104 St., 780-421-4410, facebook.com/dauphinebakery
The Art of Cake
Blink and you might miss The Art of Cake, tucked into a corner of City Centre Mall. But the decadent sweets that owners/bakers Gloria Bednarz and Guenter Hess serve up are worth searching out.
While the shop’s social-media accounts focus mainly on its intricate wedding and special occasion cake work, plenty of everyday indulgences are available, including a wide variety of cupcakes. The salted caramel, topped with crunchy pretzels, and Black Forest options are chocolate lovers’ dreams, while both the strawberry shortcake and funfetti are delicious non-chocolate options. There are vegan and gluten-free options, and even “The Elvis,” a chocolate cupcake topped with peanut butter buttercream icing and bacon. –Glenn Cook
#21, 10025 102A Ave., 780-485-5517, theartofcake.ca