The Best Desserts in the Twin Cities

Top 35-plus Twin Cities eateries for cakes, cookies, confections, and a lot more
The Copper Hen's Signature Carrot Cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, perfect caramel drip, edible dried rose petals, and gold flakes, is one of the best desserts in the Twin Cities (and the star of our March/April cover)
The Copper Hen’s Signature Carrot Cake, topped with cream cheese frosting, perfect caramel drip, edible dried rose petals, and gold flakes, is one of the best desserts in the Twin Cities (and the star of our March/April cover)

Photo by David Paul Schmit

Find the right treat for any situation or occasion, whether you’re sharing, dining solo, picking up, Instagramming, going gluten-free or vegan, or making a weeknight into a special event.

Without further ado, here are more than 35 restaurants where you’ll find the best desserts in the Twin Cities:

Feast your eyes. From Edwards Dessert Kitchen, Bellecour, Patisserie 46, the Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen, and more, you'll find tons of outing-worthy desserts here in the Twin Cities.
From upper left, clockwise: Cassis Vanilla Bavarian Cake (Black Walnut Bakery); Lemon Tart (Black Walnut Bakery); Lemon Tart (Patisserie 46); Rory Rose (Patisserie 46); Lemon Crêpe Cake (Bellecour); Signature Carrot Cake (The Copper Hen); Brookie Cookies (Edwards Dessert Kitchen); Cherry Cheesecake (Edwards Dessert Kitchen); Chamomile Panna Cotta (Edwards Dessert Kitchen). Read on for more outing-worthy desserts here in the Twin Cities.

Photo by David Paul Schmit

Grab and Go

Betty & Earl’s

Rosedale Center, Roseville

This is more than TV talk show host Jason Matheson’s biscuit place; his business partner Adrienne Odom, one of the Twin Cities’ all-time top pastry chefs, is sneaking sweets into the biscuit display case, too. Her ginger cookie is among the best in town—made for those of us who really love ginger. Get an order of cream puffs, a fruit hand pie, or Odom’s luscious chocolate pudding.

The Buttered Tin

Lowertown, St. Paul

You’re a dessert snob; there’s no way you’d eat a preservative-laden Hostess Twinkie or Ho Ho Cupcake. But be honest: Those flavors take you back to being a little kid. Pastry chef Alicia Hinze has recreated these dishes with real ingredients, made fresh in Lowertown every morning.

Due Focacceria

Mac-Groveland, St. Paul

Cannolis filled to order. For real. Cannoli shells are fried to a perfect golden-brown, then ricotta-and-mascarpone-cheese filling is delicately stuffed into each after you order it. It keeps the shell crispy—a custom touch that, as far as we know, no one but Due Focacceria is doing here in town. A $3.50 delight.

El Burrito Mercado

Cesar Chavez Street, St. Paul

One of the longest-running Mexican bakeries in the Twin Cities, this is the place for Mexican cookies and elephant ears, fresh churros, sweet empanadas (try the guava!), Oreo tres leches cake (among a half-dozen others), and the perfect flan swimming in a dark caramel sauce.

Honey & Rye

St. Louis Park & Minneapolis

Blood orange pound cake, a bar with the chocolatey caramel crunch of a Twix, and an addictive croissant/caramel roll combo called the Morning Bun—those are reasons people line up in St. Louis Park to see what Anne Andrus has created. Now inside Graze food hall in the North Loop of Minneapolis.

Keys Cafe & Bakery

8 Minnesota locations

The Keys monster cookie is an icon not only because of its enormousness, but also because of the care that goes into it. Every Keys location has its own bakery, where 12 full-time bakers make those cookies and bars and cakes fresh every day. Yummy! (Pro tip: Kowalski’s has Keys frozen cookie dough.)

Rustica Bakery

Uptown, Minneapolis
If you had to pick the most beloved cookie in the Twin Cities, it would be the Rustica bittersweet chocolate cookie. Dark as night, with a soft inside that leans almost toward brownie. Bread flour gives them their height, a light snowfall of white sugar gives an extra crunch.

At Patisserie 46: The yellow ones are Rory Roses (vanilla and caramel cream with caramel sponge and pecan "crunchy"), and the white ones are Lemon Tarts (traditional lemon yuzu custards with lime-scented cream)
At Patisserie 46: The yellow ones are Rory Roses (vanilla and caramel cream with caramel sponge and pecan “crunchy”), and the white ones are Lemon Tarts (traditional lemon yuzu custards with lime-scented cream)

Photo by David Paul Schmit

For the ’Gram

Cossetta’s Pasticceria

West Seventh, St. Paul

Maybe the most underrated bakery in town, Cossetta takes pastry so seriously they sent their head pastry chef to France for a year to study. They’ve brought in Italian bakers to teach technique. I adore the lobster claw: a cream-filled croissant that shines and is crunchy on the outside. Fresh gelato, beautiful chocolates, a shimmering fruit tart—and you can’t go wrong with any of the mini cakes.

The Lynhall

Lowry Hill East, Minneapolis
It’s impossible not to smile when you look at the Lynhall’s funfetti cake: sprinkles inside and out. It’s even better when you bite into it. The cake itself is lemon-lime, layered with raspberry-and-prickly-pear panna cotta. Pastry chef Katie Elsing’s brilliant interplay of flavors creates a just-sweet-enough cake, thanks to all the citrus zest and juice in the cake. You’d pay far more than the $7 that this cake costs you if you had to buy all the likes your photo will get.

Marc Heu Patisserie Paris' Black Forest Cake
Marc Heu Patisserie Paris’ Black Forest Cake

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Marc Heu Patisserie Paris

South Frogtown, St. Paul

French-born and Paris-trained, Marc Heu interned at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant with a pastry chef named best in the world. He’s legit, and it’s no accident that pastries at his University Avenue shop are often sold out by 11 a.m. Chocolate lovers will go nuts for the gâteau St-Honoré. The lime tart with a pop of yuzu is also magical. Stunningly precise, with beautiful technique.

Nadia Cakes

Maple Grove & Woodbury

Although we’re seeing signs that the cupcake trend is fading, the combination of high quality and high comedy keeps Nadia Cakes on top of our list. Abby Jimenez won Cupcake Wars on Food Network and promptly moved to Minnesota to raise her family and set up shop. You may have seen some of her flavors go viral, like the rainbow-colored Unicorn Poop on April Fools’ Day. But it’s her always-available favorites, like the vanilla bean cheesecake cupcake topped with triple-berry compote, that keep us coming back.

Original Hockey Mom Brownies

Mac-Groveland, St. Paul

Talk about a hat trick. You can get Patti Howard and her son Andrew’s decadent chocolate brownies at a food truck, a stand in the Xcel Energy Center, and now near Macalester College in St. Paul. We love the Five-Hole, with peanuts, peanut butter, pretzels, caramel, and chocolate; and the S’mores-topped brownie. Even the simple chocolate and salted-caramel are rich chocolatey goodness.

Rose Street Patisserie/Patisserie 46

Minneapolis & St. Paul

Is there a more beautiful pastry in the Twin Cities than John Kraus’ Spring Rose Tart? A shiny pink globe, wrapped in white chocolate. Perhaps the Isle is more beautiful: a basil-infused vanilla Bavarian cream cake, featuring lemon crème and olive-oil sponge cake, boldly lime green and topped with a fried basil leaf. Perfect éclairs, a heap of “ugly-but-good” meringue, an ultimate brownie that’s more like a candy bar with its layers of caramel and pralines. Kraus may be more famous on the international baking scene than he is here at home, which is a shame. His bakeries are world-class.

Thirty-Six Cafe

Grand Avenue, St. Paul

With a bold pink wall of roses as a clear made-for-Instagram backdrop, it’s easy to dismiss Thirty-Six Cafe as a gimmick. But any skepticism disappears after just one bite of the 2-inch-high, egg-white-heavy Japanese soufflé pancakes. They’re light, fluffy, a little bit jiggly—and as tasty as they are beautiful. Want dessert pancakes? Go for a Bananas Foster-style topping with caramel and chocolate drizzle. Matcha-infused whipped cream gives an earthy note, if your sweet tooth isn’t quite as intense. 

Black Walnut Bakery's Cassis Vanilla Bavarian Cake (layers of vanilla Bavarian cream and cassis preserves on chiffon sponge, cassis ganache, galette cookie base, topped with whipped cream)
Black Walnut Bakery’s Cassis Vanilla Bavarian Cake (layers of vanilla Bavarian cream and cassis preserves on chiffon sponge, cassis ganache, galette cookie base, topped with whipped cream)

Photo by David Paul Schmit

To Share

Black Walnut Bakery

Uptown, Minneapolis

What a joy to walk into Sarah Boetcher’s new bakery and back out with a slice of cake. A cake program! Every day, at least five different cakes. Just $6 for a slice of magic. What kind of mood are you in? Escape to the tropics with a pineapple coconut meringue. A hearty, rich journey to Germany with a slice of chocolate almond torte. I like to mentally travel to the Rhone region of France with the blackcurrant flavors in the Cassis Vanilla Bavarian layered cake.

Cafe Latte

Grand Avenue, St. Paul

For more than 30 years, people have lined up at the Quinn family’s bakery counter for a slice of heaven: three layers of dark chocolate cake, three layers of fudge and caramel, decorated with a pile of pecans. A cup of hot coffee helps give the cake its unique, rich flavor. The only thing more popular than the turtle cake is Cafe Latte’s tres leches cake: two layers of vanilla cake soaked in a mixture of half-and-half and sweetened condensed milk.

The Copper Hen's Signature Carrot Cake, from the inside
A slice of the Copper Hen’s Signature Carrot Cake

Photo by David Paul Schmit

The Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen

Eat Street, Minneapolis

Danielle Bjorling combines two of our loves in one adorable mason jar: booze and cake. The boozy cake changes with the seasons. Maybe it’s a banana cake with Nutella cream cheese frosting, onto which you squeeze salted caramel liqueur from a tiny pipette. Maybe, in the fall, it’s s’mores-themed, with white chocolate marshmallow liqueur. Or maybe, in the summer, it’s a blueberry vanilla cake with lemon buttercream. Creative, beautiful, original. 

Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit

Mac-Groveland, St. Paul

Tara Coleman’s pies are deceptively simple. A toasted vanilla custard pie is topped with a layer of mascarpone cream, in a crust made of crushed Nilla wafer cookies. The Cookie Pie is the dreamiest chocolate-chip-and-walnut cookie you could imagine, with a flaky, buttery crust. Coleman moved here from Chicago for love, but we’re the ones smitten with her extremely friendly team and addictive $5 slices.

True Stone Coffee Roasters

Lowertown, St. Paul

As much as we miss the Salty Tart in Tim McKee’s Market House Collaborative, True Stone’s pie program makes up for the loss. Rachel Anderson worked for Diane Moua at Bellecour, doing all the lamination (croissants, Danishes, puff pastries). Meanwhile, she got super obsessed with pies and started Vikings & Goddesses Pie Company. Crusts made with local Hope Creamery butter. The fruit in the top-notch cran apple pie is all seconds—bruised or damaged fruit that would otherwise be tossed.

Yum! Kitchen and Bakery

St. Louis Park & Minnetonka

Before Patti Soskin opened her extremely successful, two-location restaurant, she used to bake a moist dark-chocolate-and-buttercream layer cake. Her sister would bake it, too, and started getting credit for it—until Patti set the record straight that it was her cake, “Patticake!” Today, there’s no doubt. Only one egg in the whole cake, and frosting beaten up to eight minutes to get that creamy consistency. By the slice, or buy the whole thing. Patticake has become the iconic dessert at this scratch bakery and restaurant.

At Edwards Dessert Kitchen, top to bottom: Chamomile Panna Cottas (whipped chamomile panna cotta, honey cake, and rhubarb/tarragon/mandarin compote), Cherry Cheesecakes (cherry cheesecake mousse, gingerbread sable, almond crunch, cherry creme, and a deep burgundy glaze)
At Edwards Dessert Kitchen, top to bottom: Chamomile Panna Cottas (whipped chamomile panna cotta, honey cake, and rhubarb/tarragon/mandarin compote), Cherry Cheesecakes (cherry cheesecake mousse, gingerbread sable, almond crunch, cherry creme, and a deep burgundy glaze)

Photo by David Paul Schmit

Night Out

112 Eatery

Downtown Minneapolis

One of the best spots for a late-night glass of wine and bite of dessert. The butterscotch budino is a local legend, even though chef Isaac Becker got the idea from L.A. chef Nancy Silverton’s recipe. Butterscotch pudding, capped with a thin layer of caramel, a dollop of crème fraîche, and a sprinkle of pink Hawaiian sea salt. Don’t sleep on the tres leches cake, either.


Marcy-Holmes, Minneapolis

The rebirth of Alma as an all-day café and restaurant has made the desserts much easier to get. And what a treat to sit in the café at lunch and be blown away by the $9 chocolate dulce cake. Gluten-free, with a pillow-soft layer of coconut dulce cream. The cake alone would be enough, but it’s served with beautiful coconut sorbet and punctuated with a bright mint crisp. Wow! The restaurant is tasting-menu only, but smart sweets lovers sit at the top-notch wine bar in the restaurant to order any of pastry chef Carrie Riggs Imes’ seasonal desserts. 

Edwards Dessert Kitchen's Brookie Cookies
Edwards Dessert Kitchen’s Brookie Cookies

Photo by David Paul Schmit

Edwards Dessert Kitchen

North Loop, Minneapolis

A dessert-focused restaurant brought to you by the Minnesota company behind the frozen Edwards Pies? Hey, give Marshall-based Schwan’s Company and chef Jasmine Weiser’s team  credit. They’ve created a true destination for dessert lovers. You’ll find inventive flavors: Chinese five-spice powder in a snickerdoodle; yuzu and passion fruit in a cheesecake tart; chamomile and rhubarb paired in panna cotta; curried scotcheroo bars. With all that creativity, what’s their top seller? A decadent $5 chocolate chunk cookie.


Downtown Minneapolis

You’re almost never going to have room for dessert after a giant steak dinner at Manny’s, so why not make a special trip for sweets only? There’s a reason the brownie dessert is legendary—and the $22 price tag is only part of it. Brownie on the bottom, then caramel, then another brownie, then whipped cream, ice cream, and a dish of strawberries on the side so you can pretend you’re having fruit. Share it with five of your closest friends, or not!

Mucci’s/Trattoria Mucci’s

St. Paul & Minneapolis

A great menu item creates an emotional reaction, and nothing has done that with me like this tiramisu. Growing up, we didn’t eat out much, but when we did, my mom would often order tiramisu. This one takes me right back. Homemade ladyfingers take a bath in rum; the marscapone has just enough sugar to make your teeth tingle. It is soft—not quite runny—with notes of coffee and a cocoa snowfall on top.

P.S. Steak

Downtown Minneapolis

How can you resist the absolute tableside showstopper that is the flaming baked Alaska? A base of coffee-flavored cake, topped with salted caramel ice cream and fluffy meringue, soaked in herbaceous Green Chartreuse liquor. Pastry chef Jo Garrison’s flavors here are intense, and the strong flavor of Chartreuse balances out all the sugar. P.S. Steak executive chef Mike DeCamp lights the whole thing on fire, charring the meringue. So far, he’s spared his long beard from being torched. 

Bellecour's Lemon Crêpe Cake
Bellecour’s Lemon Crêpe Cake

Photo by David Paul Schmit

Spoon and Stable/Bellecour

Minneapolis & Wayzata

Diane Moua gives you art, she gives you soul, she gives you among the best plated desserts I’ve ever had anywhere in the world. Sit at the bar at Spoon and Stable and you’ll order her honey-and-cream cake with what, at first glance, looks like strawberries on top. But it’s quince. (Moua cooks the tart fruit just enough to turn it a muted shade of red.) Seasonal, inventive, her creations are never quite as simple as they seem. Bellecour’s French desserts are classics reinvented: a Paris-Brest with hazelnut, a crème brûlée with white chocolate crumble.,

The St. Paul Grill

Downtown St. Paul

A classic restaurant doing classic desserts so well. There’s a lovely carrot cake with caramel sauce and toasted coconut. A chocolate molten lava cake with a punch of bourbon. A chocolate sundae with three scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. There’s a reason these desserts have stood the test of time. 

Sift Gluten Free's Ginger and Orange Cookies
Sift Gluten Free’s Ginger and Orange Cookies

Photo by Amber Procaccini

Gluten Free/Vegan 

Birchwood Cafe

Seward, Minneapolis

At Birchwood Cafe, chef Marshall Paulson offers a wide selection of gluten-free menu items, so it’s no surprise that the bakery case has a lot of choices for gluten-intolerant and vegan patrons, too. The blueberry crisp satisfies both restrictions. So does the delicious pear-almond crumble bar. The GF coconut macaroon and the vegan cranberry oatmeal cookie are excellent, too. There’s even a vegan chocolate cake. 

Cocoa & Fig

Edina & Minneapolis

If you’re gluten-intolerant, Cocoa & Fig has a lot of nice options: butterscotch budino trifles, milk chocolate cake lollipops, mini flourless chocolate cakes, and brown butter Rice Krispie treats. My favorite is the French macaron, in eight flavors including lemon, pistachio, and strawberry.

Innate Foods

Southern Hayden Heights, St. Paul

Innate is a tiny gluten-free and vegan bakery inside Laura Ford’s tiny St. Paul home, only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Minnesota’s Cottage Food Law allows Innate Foods to exist.) It’s essentially homemade GF brownies, blondies, cookies, and meringues. Don’t miss the vegan, gluten-free banana bread. 

Sift Gluten Free

South Minneapolis

Now offering perhaps the largest selection of gluten-free desserts in the Twin Cities, Sift started in the farmers’-market circuit, then supplied Dunn Brothers and Peace Coffee with bakery items. It didn’t take long for Molly Miller to need her own space. You name the traditionally gluten-laden dessert, and Sift has a very good version of it. The Mexican Chocolate and Ginger & Orange cookies are among my favorites. Same with the sea salt brownies and the sunflower-seed-butter-and-jelly bars.