Thanks to a rich culinary arts scene, residents of Austin get to enjoy a wide array of dishes. For some, that includes comfort food like barbecue, pizza and all things deep-fried. Others, meanwhile, have a slightly more refined plate, and Austin offers up more than a few gourmet selections. Chief among those are pastries, and Austin is practically flooded by quaint little shops offering everything from flaky croissants to decadent apple strudel. Here are the five pastry shops in Austin worth a visit or two:
1. Sweetish Hills: Located right on the heart of Sixth Street, Sweetish Hills is not just a single cafe, but a vital chain in a larger web of growers, suppliers and other food aficonados. Sweetish almost exclusively makes use of local ingredients, and its list of partners includes Amador Farms, Texas Coffee Traders and Hill Country. The results are dishes with not only the finest components but also a deep and abiding connection to greater Texas. The Sweetish menu includes a number of classic cake recipes, namely Italian cream, black and white, and Pennsylvania Dutch chocolate. However, Sweetish is best known for its bevy of signature cakes. There is the Prinz Tom Torte, dark chocolate covered with mocha butter cream icing and toasted almond slices. Or, indulge yourself with the Raspberry Gateau De Paques, in which yellow genoise iis soaked with syrup, raspberry marmalade and whipped icing.
2. La Patisserie: When it comes to working as a French pastry chef, Soraiya Nagree appears to be an unlikely candidate. A native of Texas, she originally got her degree in chemical engineering from San Antonio’s Trinity University. But she wouldn’t spend much time in the lab, eventually studying at Le Cordon Bleu-Texas Culinary Academy. From there, she opened up La Patisserie in 2006, and she’s spent the last decade or so perfecting her love of traditional French baked goods. As such, La Patisserie features a number of tasty delicacies, including sweet and savory croissants, the decadent Pain au Chocolat, almond croissants, chocolate hazelnut cake, the light and fluffy Morning Buns and chocolate raspberry pistachio cake. The real draw of La Patisserie, though, is Nagree’s fresh take on macarons, and flavors include espresso, wild strawberry, lavender and Cardamom honey orange.
3. Michelle’s Patisserie: From its space on Ranch Road 620, Michelle’s Patisserie has been providing cakes to couples in the greater Austin area for several years. Read any of the reviews listed on the shop’s site, and you’ll instantly see how much sheer praise Michelle’s endless variety of cakes has garnered. Given the substantial menu, it’s hard to argue with all of this glowing customer feedback. Michelle’s splits its menu into two distinct categories: traditional flavors and those specialty groom cakes. The former category includes toasted coconut, dulce de leche, chocolate amaretto, lemon curd, honey lavender and pumpkin. Meanwhile, the latter features more playful items, like Reese’s Cups, triple chocolate, cookies and cream, chocolate Bailey’s mocha and red velvet. Not in the mood for cake? Michelle’s also serves cookies, cupcakes, petit fours and chocolate mousse cups.
4. SugaPump Pastries: Chef Jocelyn Leffall began baking as a child, when her grandmother shared various tips and tricks to creating rich and tasty cakes, cookies and more. From her childhood kitchen, Leffall eventually made her way into Disney World, where she served as a head chef, and into a string of high-end catering companies. Nowadays, though, Leffall does most of her baking at SugaPlump, where she offers up a slew of delicious baked goods. More recently, she has developed quite the selection of breakfast items, like buttered croissants, scones, muffins and several kinds of breakfast casseroles, each packed with eggs, sausage, cheese and avocado. However, the bulk of Leffall’s work in the kitchen is crafting cakes, cupcakes and cakeballs. Flavors include Italian creme, carrot, German chocolate, lemon, red velvet, vanilla and the one-of-a-kind seasonal green velvet.