Creme de la Creme
Our 20 favorite bakery destinations for decadent, shameless indulgence.
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Even if you literally just moved to Pittsburgh, you’ve probably already enjoyed one of the special-occasion treats from this famous baked-goods emporium. From the classic yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting to the delicious pumpkin log (featuring ginger-spiced cake rolled log-style around a decadent cream-cheese-frosting center), there are few desserts you could dream up that Oakmont doesn’t make from scratch. Want a little more than a cupcake but not the whole cake? Try the “cake bars” in flavors like tiramisu and chocolate torte.
531 Allegheny Ave.; 412-826-1606, oakmontbakery.com
Observatory Hill & West view
First of all, dear reader, put down that package of Hostess Ho-Hos. So much fresher and more delicious is the “gem” pastry from this homey neighborhood bakery, a soft cake chocolate treat with rich creamy filling. There are lots of other sweet surprises on hand beyond the usual, too, including small spiced cupcakes with maple frosting. The fluffy raised doughnuts are also absolutely delicious, and the raisin fritter is perfect for breakfast when served with hot coffee, of course. Just be sure to bring cash or a check to pay for your sweet treats.
3912 Perrysville Ave., Observatory Hill, 412/321-7568; 433 Perry Highway, West View, 412/931-0653
Cream pies are a sure bet at this South Hills bakery. Coconut and banana cream, in particular, are sure to delight those with a discriminating sweet tooth. Like so many places, the menu boasts a dessert called the “death by chocolate” cake, but this one puts others we’ve tried to shame; it features three layers of moist devil’s food cake filled with rich chocolate fudge and enrobed in chocolate buttercream icing that’s topped by a pool of dark-chocolate ganache. Many other specialty cakes and pastries are offered, and the website features monthly desserts that you’ll want to grab while the getting is good.
3360 Library Road; 412/882-9960, signaturedesserts.com
This is one of the city’s prettiest bakeries, with its chandelier-lit seating area and a fancy wrap-around display case packed with gorgeously decorated cupcakes and pastries. It’s also the place that will finally convince you that non-dairy kosher pareve desserts can be downright delicious (everything here falls into that category). Some standouts include dense apple-spice cupcakes with honey buttercream, terrific challah and lattice-topped fruit pies. Above all, the cookies—in flavors like chocolate chip, maple cranberry oatmeal, cinnamon sugar snickerdoodle, ginger chewy and chocolate-filled peanut butter—will keep you coming back time and again.
6595 Hamilton Ave.; 412/450-8445, sweet-tammys.com
Is it possible that flour isn’t a required ingredient for great baked goods? As “Exhibit A,” we present the decadent chocolate brownies from this bright and tidy gluten-free bakery. One bite will force you to admit that, yes, gluten-free desserts can taste better than the normal version. The yummy chocolate whoopie pies with creamy vanilla filling don’t seem the worse for skipping the flour—wait, do they seem better?—and neither do the addictively flavorful sweet loaves in flavors like lemon and pumpkin. Having mastered this distinct niche, Gluuteny has found its audience—so call ahead if your heart is set on something (popular items often sell out quickly).
1923 Murray Ave.; 412/521-4890, gluuteny.com