NYC has no shortage of fantastic dessert and pastry options to grab a sweet snack or special cake, for whatever reason you may need one—whether it’s a fun gift for a friend, a part of a special celebration, or just a stress coping strategy after a long week.
The Best Holiday Treats in NYC
The list below highlights some of our favorites to work your way through and find your own.
Lady M Cake Boutique
This luxury confections brand now boasts over 50 locations worldwide and six in New York, making the crepe mille cakes at Lady M Cake Boutique genuinely legendary! Deftly merging French technique and Japanese flavors, Lady M is known for their layered crepe cakes with an impressive presentation and just enough sweetness to make it a dessert. Their most famous cake features twenty delicate layers of crepe and crème. It is also available in flavors, including matcha green tea, tiramisu with mascarpone and cocoa, and a chocolate cake topped with giant chocolate curls, along with various seasonal and holiday flavors throughout the year. If whole cakes aren’t entirely appropriate for your event, they also offer “bonbon” gift packages with chocolate and gummy candies inspired by their cake flavors. In addition to their boutiques, the company website offers online ordering and shipping to the United States and Canada to share the joy far and wide.
James Beard-award-winning pastry chef, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, has been a New York dessert staple for thirteen years. The original bright-pink East Village location opened in 2008 and quickly garnered a sugar-loving fanbase with unique desserts like “crack pie” (now called Milk Bar pie) and cereal-infused soft serve ice creams. The main menu features layered cakes in a signature look with unfrosted sides, along with bite-size cake truffles, a wide range of cookies and seasonal desserts. If you cannot make it by one of the eight cheerful locations around town, the website also has online ordering and delivery available both on-demand and nationwide. Tosi is a frequent fixture in Milk Bar kitchens, cooking alongside the staff and mingling with customers. The company often partners with various charities and organizations such as the Trevor Project and Autism Speaks to give back to the community and causes.
Like a delicate Faberge egg, the brightly colored and delicate macarons on display at Ladurée are an instant attention-grabber. With two locations in New York at Madison and Soho, plus a kiosk at Hudson Yard, Ladurée offers an immersive French experience with their cafe service and bakery. The brightly colored and feminine decor evokes the delicate pastries and cookies for which the confectionary is known. Ladurée is most famous for its macarons, available for purchase as a four-piece box or a gourmet gift set. Their featured flavors span a diverse range of global flavors, from classic raspberry and chocolate to saffron and black currant-violet. Vegan options and seasonal featured flavors are also available, whether you pop in to pick up or order with nationwide shipping. The delicate and lacy French confections are sure to impress as a birthday or engagement gift.
Baked by Melissa
Originally a pickup window in Soho, Baked by Melissa is known for its bite-size cupcakes available at 14 locations and nationwide by delivery. Melissa started the brand based on a passion for baking, using her favorite recipes for friends and family. The tie-dye, peanut butter cup and s’more flavors were some of the first with which she started experimenting. The current menu regularly showcases up to 18 flavors at any given time. Indeed a guilt-free treat, these cupcakes are slightly larger than a quarter and under 50 calories each. Available in sets of six in-store or up to 100 pieces in a gift pack, including gluten-free and vegan flavors, as well as a Kosher delivery option. As a female-owned business, Baked By Melissa also regularly partners with organizations and charities making a positive impact for women, such as Girls, Inc., Every Mother Counts and Dress for Success.
The bubblegum pink storefronts and cupcake ATMs at Sprinkles are well known around the country, in malls and airports. NYC’s two locations at Brookfield Place and the Upper East Side feature a mix of cupcake classics and funky new flavors that will tempt you to try them all. Their namesake Sprinkle cupcake is a large birthday cake base, topped with a dome of buttercream frosting and encrusted in colorful non-pareil sprinkles. In addition to a massive range of flavors, Sprinkles also has flavors for those with dietary needs, including vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. Though the shops are primarily known for their cupcakes, they also sell special order layer cakes, cookies and brownies, and at-home kits. Your favorite four-legged friend can also indulge, with their Pupcakes, a sugar-free cupcake topped with a yogurt-based “frosting.”