Looking to go beyond your usual scoop of chocolate or vanilla? These cakes and pastries are bound to satisfy your sweet tooth with flavors that are far from basic.
5820 Seminary Road, Unit J, Falls Church
The lowdown: This buzzy Yemeni restaurant has a young crowd that converges around the outdoor firepits.
The star sweet: Any of the milk cakes, made by Durana Wardak of Luxurious Sweets, are worthy of top billing. However, the saffron milk cake is dosed with rose petals and baptized in saffron-flavored condensed milk for a delicate version of tres leches.
2501 Centreville Road, Herndon
The lowdown: An Indian-owned bakery that always seems to be busy with a constituency of customers for its takeout biryani
The star sweet: Eggless chocolate mousse cake might seem like an impossibility, but the creamy slices are a layered treat. Each piece is enrobed in lush chocolate ganache. The pineapple cake, speckled with tiny fruit chunks, is a winner, too.
9H Catoctin Circle SW, Leesburg
The lowdown: The sign out atop this strip mall location simply says “bakery,” so the casual observer would never guess that it’s home to European-trained pastry chef and bread master Godfrey McKenzie’s creations.
The star sweet: Take your pick. Traditional treats like bread pudding and pain au chocolat are crafted to perfection, but it might be time to try something new, like an eye-catching green matcha torte or British banoffee pie in upscale tart form.
6876 Lee Highway, Arlington
The lowdown: A French warhorse that may be less formal than some of its peers but has all the dishes Francophiles crave, from cassoulet to frog legs
The star sweet: Old-school île flottante, also known as floating island, was once almost universal at French restaurants. Now it requires some searching, especially for a version of the airy meringue in vanilla sauce that’s this delightful.
8607 Westwood Center Drive, Vienna
The lowdown: A longtime favorite for its Persian kebabs and rice dishes with a great view of skewers grilling over flames
The star sweet: The Persian ice cream sandwich features wafers filled with a soft frozen delight. The golden ice cream within is flavored with saffron and rose. It melts and crunches with a bit of summery magic in every bite.
This story originally ran in our April issue. For more stories like this, subscribe to our monthly magazine.