Whether you're pretending you've "saved room" or you claim an enviable dedicated "dessert stomach", here are some decadent and delicious dessert meccas handpicked by our stomachs themselves that you'll most definitely find the space (read: excuse) to sink your sweet teeth into.
Because honestly, if you're going to have a cheat day, you might as well do it properly.
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1. Desserts @ KOI Dessert Bar, Chippendale
The brainchild of ex-Masterchef's dessert king Reynold Poernomo, hyper-glazed desserts flourishing in the colour of micro-herbs and packed full of flavour take centre stage at KOI.
Pop in for a short sugar fix or go the distance with a three-course journey through reimagined dishes from Reynold's Indonesian heritage such as grilled Moreton Bay bug, Indonesian curry, pickled kohlrabi and lime.
Then again, why not skip the formalities and go straight for the four-course "just desserts" set. It's exactly what the name suggests.
Address: Chippendale and Ryde
2. Ice cream @ Good Time Artisan Ice Cream, Potts Point
Artisan ice cream is nothing new but Good Time ice cream is something of a phenomenon. It combines your tried and true gelato with toppings beyond compare.
Choose between plain ice creams (for the unadventurous), the "bells and whistles" (dressed up and oh-so delicious) and ice cream sandwiches (no explanation required). Oh, don't forget to take a photo because these artworks are worth spamming your friends on social media about.
Address: 7B Macleay Street, Potts Point
Instagram: Good Time Artisan Ice Cream
3. Doughnuts and shakes @Milkbar by Cafe Ish, Redfern
Dangerous is the word you're looking for when describing your impending dessert feast here. Brought to us by the owners of Cafe Ish in Surry Hills, consider this the little sibling who can't help but fill their gob with all things that mother would disapprove of.
That's hefty burgers oozing with melted and an exuberant amount of sauce, house-made doughnuts sprinkled with nuts, M&Ms, fruit loops and crushed Oreos and milkshakes topped in a mountain of cream and generously drizzled over in syrups and topped with sprinkles.
It's so bad but it's oh-so good.
Address: Shop 1, 105 Regent Street, Redfern
Website: The Milkbar by Cafe Ish
4. Gelato Burger @ Cremeria De Luca, Five Dock
Bred off three generations of gelato makers, Cremeria De Luca has perfected the art of ice cream making to a "T".
From its insulated pots, utilised to maintain a constant –12°C environment to its brioche con gelato, an Italian creation where gelato is smashed between two halves of a brioche bun, tradition is of the essence and the experience is utterly genuine.
And you thought you made good ice cream sandwiches.
Address: 84 Ramsay Road, Five Dock
Website: Cremeria De Luca
5. Desserts @ 12-Micron, Barangaroo
Destined to become the star of your Instagram feed, 12-Micron's Head Pastry Chef Ashley Smith takes native ingredients and transforms them into works of art.
Dulche de leche is married with rainforest lime, peanut butter fused with rosella and chocolate is paired with wattle seed across wonderful concoctions you have to see before you eat.
Pick your seat in the 64-seater dessert bar and order the 5-course tasting menu. It's the only way to live.
Address: Tower 1, Level 2, 100 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo
6. Tellaball shake @ Foodcraft Espresso and Bakery, Erskineville
The freakshake craze may have calmed down a bit but if you're still searching for an OTT treat, Sydneysiders can still get their fix at Foodcraft Espresso.
Putting them on the freakshake map is this baby. It’s a tellaball shake. That's a doughnut, filled with Nutella and plonked onto a chocolate milkshake drink with a thick straw that’s stuck right in the middle. So you get to indulge in all that chocolate goodness.
Worth the wait. Yes, the line is THAT long.
Address: 33 Bridge Street, Erskineville
Website: Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery
7. Watermelon cake @ Black Star Pastry, Newtown
Black Star is another dessert mecca that attracts a well-deserved queue.
People come from far and wide to taste its signature dessert: the watermelon cake. Or, more accurately, the strawberry watermelon cake with rose-scented cream. It's a light and creamy tower of heaven that’s topped with petals. For those suffering from intolerances, it's also gluten-free.
If you feel like branching out, try Black Star’s orange cake with Persian fig or raspberry lychee coconut cakes. They’re worth the journey, too.
Address: 277 Australia Street, Newtown (Rosebery, Sydney CBD and Moore Park stores are open, too)
Website: Black Star Pastry
8. Mandorla affogato gelato @ Cow and the Moon, Enmore
Ever since it won the award for "World’s Best Gelato” as part of the Gelato World Tour 2014 in Rimini, Italy, Cow and the Moon has been the talk of the town.
The flavour that won this acclaim was Cow and the Moon's mandorla affogato, though it must be said that the gelateria has been winning awards at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show for years, so it was bound to receive international acclaim eventually.
Address: 181 Enmore Road, Enmore
Website: Cow and the Moon
9. Doughnut Fries @ The Exchange, Balmain
Re-opened in August 2018 local pub The Exchange serves pizza and fried chicken for mains and delicious doughnuts, fried to crispy perfection and dressed in melted Nutella for dessert.
They look like fries, they taste like churros and they're absa-freaking moreish.
Share the bowl. Or don't. We wouldn't, either.
Address: 94 Beattie Street, Sydney
Website: Exchange Hotel Balmain
10. Cronuts @ Speedos, North Bondi
The cronut craze could never die when Speedos is constantly reinventing these hybrid pastries to make them even more decadent than before.
The morning coffee-stop in North Bondi is all about dessert porn and with creations like chocolate ganache cronuts, M&Ms cropops (cronuts on popsicle sticks), Reese's peanut butter cronuts, gaytime waffles and extravagant shakes, you're bound to be instagramming #foodporn #cronuts #heartattack all day long.
Take it from us, Speedos has a tendency to sell out of these babies early in the day so arrive at the crack of dawn #nojoke.
Address: 126 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi
11. Naked celebration cakes @ Saga, Enmore
The dessert king that brought us those weird and wacky pie and soft serve creations at Hartsyard has branched out with his own cafe where he serves mini and full versions of his bespoke celebration cakes.
His cakes are in a word: extravagant. Bowdy prides himself in concocting "naked" cakes, free of external icing but packed with flavour and decadence.
Book something so good you could lick the screen for your big do, or pop into Saga for a jar-sized taste tester.
Website: Saga Enmore
12. Gelato @ Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst
Voted best gelato in Australia by Good Food Guide, Gelato Messina is no stranger to experimentation, collaborations and unique flavours with specials changing as often as your change your underwear.
Be sure to check it out when you're around one of the stores. We won’t judge if you prefer one of its tried and true flavours. It's all good.
Address: 1/241 Victoria St, Darlinghurst
Website: Gelato Messina
13. Knafeh @ Knafeh, food truck
This food truck only serves one thing. One glorious thing: knafeh. It’s a traditional middle eastern dessert made from cheese pastry and sweet sugar syrup and served by a team of singing and dancing bearded men. Well, at least at Knafeh that’s how they do it.
The food truck was first introduced to Sydney in 2014 at the Smooth Chocolate Festival in Sydney and has since been travelling to various spots from warehouses to carparks every Thursday to Sunday night. Fans can keep updated on its whereabouts via the Knafeh Facebook page.
You know what to do.
Address: Various – follow the music and look for the shipping container
14. Hotcakes @ Left of Field, Rhodes
Pass on the standard smashed avo, the healthy butternut squash with broccolini and the hearty smokey bacon baked beans and make yours a hotcake order at Left of Field. Previous concoctions have featured caramelised banana, maple popcorn, Earl Grey custard with fresh berries and orange-infused date hotcakes, stewed apples, butterscotch, vanilla ice cream and toasted walnuts.
Whichever is on trend when you pop by, it's the one to try.
Address: 3/7 Gauthorpe St, Rhodes
Website: Left of Field
15. Chimney cake @ Kurtosh, Surry Hills
Named after a traditional Hungarian sweet, kurtosh translates to “chimney cake”.
It’s a pastry that’s rolled around a metal rod and cooked until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Then, it’s rolled around in all manner of toppings, from pistachios and coconut to the more standard cinnamon and sugar.
Kurtosh also offers a variety of cakes, which you purchase by the gram, so you can have as little or as much as you like. Order a coffee while you’re there and your day will be made.
Address: Randwick, Surry Hills, Crows Nest, Darlinghurst, Wollongong
16. Stoner's Delight @ Ms G's, Potts Point
Famously known for its “Stoner’s Delight” dessert. Don’t be fooled by the name, as you don’t have to be stoned to be delighted by it.
Already in version three, this is a share plate smorgasbord of doughnut-flavoured ice cream, peanut de leche, peanut and pretzel brittle, crispy bacon, Mars Bar brownie, raspberry curd, potato chips and deep fried Nutella.
Share plate? Yeah, right.
Address: 155 Victoria Street, Potts Point
Website: Ms Gs
17. Deep fried ice cream @ Duo Duo, food truck
Giving fried ice cream a new lease on life, Duo Duo is a roving food truck delivering scoops of flavoured ice cream, encased in a warm fried crust and topped with anything from salted caramel and butterscotch popcorn to dark chocolate s'mores.
Flavour combinations change weekly, as does the truck's location.
Stalk them on Facebook for all the niggling details and get in early because popular flavours often run out before the truck rolls away for the evening.
Facebook: Duo Duo
18. Cronuts @ Brewtown, Newtown
The trailblazers for the cronut craze in Sydney, Brewtown serves cronuts by the bucketful. Order them downstairs if you’re sitting down or head upstairs to the pastry kitchen to take a peek at the current selection and choose your week’s fill. You can’t stop at one: that’s a guarantee.
Continuing the hybrid pastry craze, Brewtown also bakes cruffins (cronuts crossed with muffins) and continuing with the love of doughnut, it also offers a small range of crullers.
Pro tip: The sit-down line gets long quickly over the weekend but if you just want to taste these sweet morsels, head straight upstairs to buy them takeaway.
Address: 6–8 O’Connell Street, Newtown
19. Tarts @ Bourke Street Bakery, Surry Hills
Delectable tarts is the name of the game at Bourke Street Bakery. It's one of the meccas for fresh pastries in Surry Hills and now has locations as far north as Neutral Bay and as far west as Parramatta.
Believe the hype. There IS a reason people flock to its doors and it’s for the tarts, pies, quiches and other freshly baked goods. If the name Bourke Street Bakery doesn’t make you want to drop everything to run straight to your nearest store then by god, you have no heart and we feel really, really sorry for you.
Address: Surry Hills, Marrickville, Potts Point, Neutral Bay, Alexandria, North Sydney, Parramatta
Website: Bourke Street Bakery
20. Bespoke cake @ Katherine Sabbath, online only
Like Andy Bowdy, Katherine Sabbath is all about extravagant cakes smashed with colour, decorated to the skies and looking like something you’d want to frame, not eat.
Unlike Andy, she's not so much into "naked" cakes as cakes covered in neon icing. We're not complaining.
This particular beauty was black forest-inspired and had layers of chocolate sponge, raspberry coulis, chocolate buttercream, Nutella ganache and freeze-dried sour cherries and was decorated with vanilla bean buttercream and vanilla fairy floss. It was made as a special order for fellow baker @littleluuluu (pictured).
Instagram: Katherine Sabbath
21. Sea salt soft serve @ Aqua S, CBD
Aqua S is a game changer in the world of ice cream. It serves a Japanese-inspired soft serve based around sea salt ice-cream. Pair that with one of two flavours that change every fortnight and then choose one of (or all) four toppings available: fairy floss, toasted marshmallow, popcorn and popping corn.
Flavours that have come and gone include: Milo, green apple, taro, passionfruit, pumpkin soup and grape.
Address: Sydney CBD, Chatswood Westfield and Macquarie Shopping Centre
Facebook: Aqua S
22. Gelato @ N2, Haymarket
What mad scientific experiment do we have here? N2 is the laboratory of gelatos, its concoctions cooled with liquid nitrogen, lashed with flavours poured from chemistry beakers and injected with syrups using syringes.
Flavours change weekly each Thursday and you can keep up to date with them via the N2 Facebook page.
Teas are also available, but who needs them when there’s a gelato party in your mouth?
Address: Lot 43, 1 Dixon Street, Haymarket
23. Milkshakes @ Daisy’s Milkbar, Petersham
Daisy’s desserts are simple and sweet. The fitout is pink and blue and reads like your stereotypical milkbar. Jars of lollies line the shelves and as you can expect, milkshakes are all the rage.
Daisy constantly adds new "special" milkshakes to the menu and in the past has offered cherry bomb milkshakes, Tim Tam and chocolate peanut butter shakes. Unlike "freakshakes", these won't give you a heart attack but they will bring a smile to your face.
Especially when you consider it also has vegan and boozy options on offer.
Address: 340 Stanmore Road, Petersham
Facebook: Daisy’s Milkbar
24. Cheesecake @ Pasticceria Papa, Five Dock
Cheesecake. That’s what you’re ordering at this infamous cheesecakery. Forget those fun nostalgic memories of going to the Cheesecake Factory as a kid. You’re an adult now. Your tastebuds know quality when it’s melting softly on them and making them dance. That’s what Pasticceria Papa’s homemade recipes will do.
While here, make sure you order a coffee too, because if there’s anything Sicilians know more than baking cheesecake, it’s how to make a fine cup of java.
Address: Five Dock, Haberfield, Bondi Beach
Website: Pasticceria Papa
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Feature image: Speedos