Phoenix sure must have a sweet tooth, because the number of bakeries and specialty confectionery shops here are plenty. We had a tough time narrowing it down (hey, somebody’s got to do it, right?), but in the end, these five hit our sweet spot.
1 Essence Bakery Café
Essence serves up fanciful specialty cakes decorated exquisitely with icing and chocolate shavings, and mini desserts such as Mexican wedding cookies, white chocolate and raspberry cream petits fours and more. And, of course, hard to miss is the impressive selection of macarons; choose from French chocolate, caramel cream, espresso, raspberry and pumpkin spice -- $33.60 for a box of 24 small macarons, and $16.80 for a box of 12. Essence also incorporates many environmentally friendly processes into their store and bakery, which we think just makes the snacks extra-delicious.
2 Urban Cookies
Established in 2005 by husband and wife team Brady and Shaun Breese, Urban Cookies is a shop with fun and colorful packaging and gourmet organic ingredients. In fact, Urban Cookies strives to use organic ingredients whenever possible, such as organic whole wheat flour, European-style butter, dark brown cane sugar and Madagascar bourbon vanilla, as well as premium chocolate and locally sourced eggs. Not only are the treats tasty, they're also made by bakers who believe in minimizing waste, using recyclable packaging and supporting local charities and communities.
3 Scratch Pastries & Bistro
You already know we're fans of Scratch. This tiny, adorable patisserie and bistro makes the most dainty French-style pastries and sweets: cupcakes, tartes, eclairs, crepes and more. Our favorites? The ultra-light and thin crepes that melt in your mouth. We recommend you order the ones served with nutella. Trust us.
4 Nothing Bundt Cakes
Phoenix is grateful to have not one, but two Nothing Bundt Cakes locations, and we're by and large crazy for these retro desserts made with modern touches. Flavors include Chocolate Chocolate Chip, White White Chocolate, Red Velvet, White Chocolate Raspberry, Carrot, Lemon, Marble, Cinnamon Swirl and Pecan Praline, with a new flavor introduced every month. The cakes can come in standard sizes, or miniature sizes called "Bundtlets" -- like the brand says, they're "Cute as a Bundt'on."
5 Sprinkles Cupcakes
If you don't already know about Sprinkles, you must not love cupcakes as much as you say you do. Founded by Candace Nelson in California, the brand now has locations in half a dozen states, all delivering the same joyful and light-hearted cupcake experience that started the whole Sprinkles craze. We're fans of their vegan and gluten-free flavors, as well as the schedule of available flavors they post online. (The calendar makes it a whole lot easier to know when we'll be able to snag our next chai latte cupcake.) Also, you should know -- wedding cakes are out, wedding cupcake towers are in.