Re-discovering old favourites and new gems amongst Melbourne’s fabulous cake shops.
After more than two years away from Melbourne because of the pandemic, we were finally able to make a trip back there earlier this year, and again in August. And being the dessert addicts that we are, we — of course — caught up on a lot of dessert places that we had missed out on in the intervening two years. Below is a round up of a few of the best dessert places we visited — the creativity of Melbourne patisseries is really something that NYC patisseries could emulate!!
- Dessert destination: Saint Dreux, Melbourne CBD.
- Budget: $$.
- Short and sweet story: Mirroring the proliferation of Asian bakeries/patisseries in NYC, we were particularly surprised upon witnessing the same development in Melbourne. One such gem was Saint Dreux, hidden high up in a CBD shopping mall. The cubes of green tea, chocolate and vanilla Japanese-style castella sponge cakes were just perfect for a slightly sweet afternoon tea session.
- Dessert destination: Le Petit Gateau, Melbourne CBD.
- Budget: $$.
- Short and sweet story: Much like Brunetti’s, Le Petit Gateau will always hold a special place in our hearts (and tummy!). Both have been around since the start of this dessert blog, and it’s a true testament to their universal-appealing dessert offerings that they still stand today. After more than two years away from Melbourne, we made a direct beeline to LPG and snagged its signature (and our all-time favourite) “Brownie Passionfruit Chocolate Gateau,” irresistibly tangy “Lemon Tart,” luscious “Black Forest,” creamy pungent “Banoffee,” and delicate “Lychee Raspberry.”
When East meets West in a mousse cake
- Dessert destination: Sucre du Jour, Camberwell, Melbourne.
- Budget: $$-$$$.
- Short and sweet story: Long-time readers of this dessert blog know that we l-o-v-e “fusion desserts” because the best of two worlds are taken and merged into (usually) wonderful new creations. As one of the newest patisseries on this list, Sucre Du Jour injects a fair degree of Asian flavours into otherwise traditional French pastry creations. For example, there’s the “Ispandan Croissant” swirled with pandan cream and studded with raspberry and lychee. There’s also a pretty array of mousse-cakes where the star of the show are flavours such as yuzu, green tea, mandarin, pomelo and milk tea. Sucre du Jour unquestionably brings pastry-making into a new century.
Trompe l’oeil cakes
- Dessert destination: Linger Cafe, Camberwell, Melbourne.
- Budget: $$-$$$.
- Short and sweet story: Just before the pandemic, trompe l’oeil desserts were all the rage. You may recall our round-up review of the best trompe l’oeil desserts in NYC, and two similar reviews in Melbourne (see here and here). Fast forward past the pandemic years, and this dessert trend sees no end (see for example, here). Linger Cafe remains the most creative patisserie operating in this niche in Melbourne.
- Dessert destination: Black Star Pastry, various locations.
- Budget: $$$.
- Short and sweet story: It was said that after the pandemic ends, we would see an era of Gatsby-like decadence. It feels instead like we are either slowly crawling out of pandemic-induced depressions and/or spiraling into a recession. The best way to overcome these feelings is – in our opinion – by eating cake…lots of cake! 🙂 And for the most extravagant cakes in Melbourne, look no further than Black Star Pastry. Its “Strawberry Watermelon Cake” is perhaps the most Instagram-famous, but we love its “Raspberry Lychee Cake” the most. And the most “wow-I-feel-crazy” cake is the chocolate one showered with caramelized popcorn.