The Sweet Life in Harlem and Beyond: Treat Yourself at These Joy-Inducing Bakeries and Dessert Shops

Avrilililly's makes custom flower cakes.

Now more than ever there's nothing more joy-inducing than a bite—fine, maybe a whole plate—of something sweet.

Happily, these uptown bakeries and confectioneries are alway busy churning out mouthwatering treats, from freshly-made donuts to artisanal ice cream pies.

Here's where to find them:

1. Avrilililly's

Hamilton Heights 1610 Amsterdam Ave between W 139th and W 140th Sts

A brand-new spot for creamy house-made gelato (look for unexpected flavors like pink bubble gum and raspberry rosewater), plus stunning flower cakes and cupcakes, cookies and more.

2. Choc NYC

Inwood 4996 Broadway at 212th St

A wonderland of jewel-like pastries, confections and tarts, including glaze-topped pistachio eclairs and delicate flourless cakes.

3. Dulceria

Central Harlem 2220 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts

Exquisite Chilean treats, from alfajores (sandwich cookies) to milhojas (a kind of Napoleon), and even empanadas.

4. Dutch Baby Bakery

Washington Heights 813 W 187th St between Fort Washington Ave and Pinehurst Ave

Pastry chef Karah Rempe has opened her first bakery in the neighborhood, putting a creative spin on breads, pastries, cakes and plenty of other treats made in-house. The pesto-olive babka is already a hit.

5. Harlem Chocolate Factory

Central Harlem 2363 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd between W 138th and W 139th Sts

Artisanal chocolate bonbons (Bodega Dreams), truffles (Red Velvet) and more inspired by Harlem's rich history.

Harlem Chocolate Factory's bonbons.
Harlem Chocolate Factory's bonbons.

6. Lee Lee's Baked Goods

Central Harlem 283 W 118th St and Frederick Douglass Blvd

The scrumptious "rugelach by a brother"—a.k.a Harlem baker Alvin Lee Smalls—comes in three flavors: apricot, raspberry and chocolate. There are cookies and pies, too.

7. Levain

Central Harlem 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 116th and W 117th Sts

Famous for its ginormous (six-ounce) chocolate chip cookies, this cult chain also makes its own banana bread, sticky buns and lots more.

8. Make My Cake

Central Harlem 409 W 125th St between Morningside and Amsterdam Aves

This Harlem institution opened a new location on 125th Street last year, and it features all of the sweets it's famous for, including whole and by-the-slice cakes and cupcakes in flavors such as red velvet, coconut, and strawberry layer.

9. Ma Smith's Dessert Cafe

Central Harlem 2380 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and W 139th St

This offshoot of Make My Cake (see above) is your one-stop source for all the classics, including cheesecake, carrot cake, sweet potato pie and banana pudding.

10. Mikey Likes It Ice Cream

Central Harlem 2500 Frederick Douglass Blvd between W 133rd and W 134th Sts

If you really want to treat yourself at this pop culture-inspired ice cream store, get the waffle ice cream sandwich.

11. Mojo Mousse Bar

East Harlem 177 E 100th St between Lexington and Third Aves

A truly one-of-a-kind destination for Belgian mousse made in small batches and served with little gold spoons.

A selection of fresh pastries from Pabade Bakery.

12. Pabade Bakery

East Harlem 135 E 110th St between Park and Lexington Aves

The pastry case here is filled with everything from flaky croissants to buttery financiers (made with almond flour, they're gluten-free). Plus cookies, cakes, brownies, vegan muffins and, yes, coffee to wash it all down.

13. Sugar Hill Creamery

• Central Harlem 184 Malcolm X Blvd between W 119th and W 120th Sts

• Hamilton Heights 3629 Broadway between W 149th and W 150th Sts

There are now two locations of this family-owned ice cream shop, with flavors such as the popular Chairperson of the Board (blueberry cheesecake) and Harlem Sweeties (salted caramel). Don't miss the ice cream cakes and pies during the holidays.

14. Super Nice Coffee and Bakery

East Harlem 156 E 117th St between Third and Lexington Aves

This East Harlem bakery has made a name for itself with its hand-made donuts. Just some of the many options: rainbow sprinkle, chocolate glazed, and passion fruit.

Harlem bakery and dessert shops
A freshly made yeast donut from Super Nice Bakery.

15. Sweet Chef Southern Style Bakery

Hamilton Heights 122 Hamilton Pl between 142nd and 143rd Sts

The pies are the year-round draw at this 26-year-old small business. Choose from fruit-filled varieties like the apple and three-berry or the Yelp-approved sweet potato pie. Yep, there's also pecan and pumpkin.

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