Where Vancouver’s Top Chefs Go for Dessert

From cream puffs to booze-spiked ice cream, these sweeties are guaranteed to lift your mood (thanks, elevated blood sugar!)

Looking for the city’s sweetest desserts? Vancouver chefs pick their favourite cakes, croissants, cream puffs + more

Grey days, rain clouds and a nip in the airFebruary is a tough month on the West Coast and we all need a bite of the sweet side of life at this time of year. Fortunately, Vancouver has plenty of delicious sweet treats on offer, and who better to ask what’s good than local chefs?

From cream puffs to booze-spiked ice cream, these sweeties are guaranteed to lift your mood (thanks, elevated blood sugar!). So bye bye February blues, hello sugar rush!

Credit: Christopher Flett

Olive Oil Cake at Ask for Luigi, 305 Alexander Street

Recommended by Shin Suzuki, Pidgin

“This cake is perfect and will ruin you for all other desserts. Olive oil elevates it from good to great. It gives the cake an aromatic oil-rich middle and a crackling crust paired with a silky whipped ricotta and bright confit oranges. It also inspired us to make our own version at Pidgin restaurant: olive oil cake with spiced plum wine jam.”

Credit: BETA5

Cream Puffs at BETA5, 413 Industrial Avenue

Recommended by Jack Chen, Royal Dinette

“Before Farmer’s Apprentice opened, I took a sidestep from restaurant kitchens and joined the team at BETA5 to work with [pastry chef/chocolatier] Adam Chandler, which turned out to be one of the most interesting and exciting experiences in my career. I started in pastry and then moved on to chocolate-making. The process and science behind it was fascinating as it takes extensive talent to master the skill. At the time, BETA5 was just starting to get its name out, though they now have an enormous following for their cream puffs, chocolate and the best Kouign-Amann in the city.

“I still try to visit BETA5 as much as I can for their crowd-pleasing cream puffs. I love them all, so I always pick up a random six-pack or leave it in Adam’s hands as he likes to surprise me.”

Bee Sting Donut at Cartems Donuterie, 534 West Pender Street and 2190 Main Street

Recommended by Jason Moreno, Gyoza Bar

“This doughnut is out of this world when it comes to creativity. You can’t go wrong with the flavour profiles of Parmesan cheese and black pepper, but on a doughnut with honey? Works even more perfectly!”

Dark Chocolate Yuzu Dome at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, 845 Burrard Street

Recommended by Alex Chen, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

“I’m really loving one of the latest dessert creations from our talented pastry chef, Jason Pitschke. His dark chocolate yuzu dome with yuzu, black sesame and crème Anglaise is truly a work of art. A big part of dining out for me is the experience and this dessert is quite the spectacle: the warm crème Anglaise is poured tableside to melt away the dark chocolate dome and reveal the dessert beneath. With a huge wow factor, it’s always a hit with guests. Simply delicious.”

Matcha Nara Entremet at The Urban Tea Merchant, 1070 West Georgia Street

Recommended by Richard Charron, The Urban Tea Merchant

“This is one my favourite tea-infused desserts to create for several reasons. First off, it is delicious and attractive. Our intention is to captivate our guests with a touch of French cuisine flare. The infusion of the fine Matcha Nara balances the sweetness in the dessert with various complementary flavours quite well. The presentation is beautiful and combines attractive and vibrant colours to complete the overall experience.”

New York Cheesecake at Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House, 450 Granville Street, 321 Water Street, 1391 Richards Street, 2655 Arbutus Street

Recommended by Rob Clarke, The Acorn

“My favourite sweet bite? Vanilla! In particular, cheesecake! There’s nothing sexier than seeing vanilla flecked through a dessert, especially cheesecake. Maybe it goes back to my childhood  birthdays and always getting one from my family, but this is one dessert that I absolutely love. Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House does an amazing job. Their New York plain cheesecake is creamy, filling and delicious. What more could you want? They do a number of variations of cheesecake, but it’s the plain that keeps me coming back. Don’t get me started on creme brûlée.”

Almond Croissant at Beaucoup Bakery, 2150 Fir Street

Recommended by Terry Pichor, Sonora Resort

“The almond croissant at Beaucoup Bakery is one of my favourite sweet treats. I appreciate the simple combination of flavours of the raw ingredients: sugar, butter and roasted almond. Often, I find almond croissants too sweet but when done well, it’s my favourite pastry. The ones at Beaucoup are the best I’ve had. It’s one of the only things I consistently make a point of going to pick up when I’m home in Vancouver. I really like desserts that go well with coffee and these are perfect. Also, croissants are a lot of work in the first place, so it’s nice to appreciate them the next day reworked to be even be better than the day they were baked.”

Credit: Chau Veggie

Caramelized banana cheesecake with coconut sauce and walnut crust at Chau Veggie Express, 5052 Victoria Drive

Recommended by Alvin Pillay, Donnelly Group

“I love having Chau Veggie in my neighbourhood not only for their delicious soups and noodles, but also dessert. This dessert is absolutely perfection in flavour and texture. The banana flavour is delicious and complements the coconut sauce really well. And the gluten-free crust is an added bonus for celiacs.”

Whiskey Hazelnut Ice Cream Earnest Ice Cream, 3992 Fraser Street and 1829 Quebec Street

Recommened by Clement Chan, Torafuku

“I know it is just ice cream, but it’s oh-so-good. Like the saying goes ‘keep it simple.’ I love how the ice cream is rich and creamy, but not overly sweet. The hazelnuts give it great texture and it has whiskey. Who doesn’t like a little whiskey in their desserts? Every time I drive by, I have to grab a jar, not just two scoops.”

Credit: Cindy Wei/Cookies and Chemistry

Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch from Railtown Cafe, 397 Railway Street

Recommended by Dan Olson, Railtown Cafe and Railtown Catering

“My favourite sweet thing to eat in Vancouver has to be our pastry chef Alex Abley’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch, served in the café. It was inspired by my favourite childhood treat and one day I was craving it so much that I asked Alex if he could create it for me.

“The dessert comprises four different layers: a peanut butter financier base, a milk chocolate peanut butter and feuilletine crunch, a layer of peanut butter icing and milk chocolate ganache. Aside from the major nostalgia factor, it has all of my favourite elements in a dessert with the perfect contrast of crunchy and smooth textures and balance of salty and sweet. I’m not even a huge dessert person, but this one really hits the mark for me.”

SEE ALSO: Where Vancouver Chefs Go for Their Absolute Favourite Bites in the City