Old Strathcona has long been the city’s social and cultural heartbeat — it has the bars, the theatres, the festivals and restaurants. But as our food scene grows, different, tasty niches emerge. Now, if you want ice cream, cake, cruffins or cookies, you’ll want to head to the Whyte Avenue area for that, too. Because it turns out Edmonton has a sweet tooth.
One of the OG Whyte Ave dessert spots — it’s been here since 1993, including a 2016 renovation — has more than 20 delicious desserts and 20 flavours of gelato. It won’t be an easy choice, but you’ll end up with something delicious.
Block 1912 | 10361 82 Ave NW, Edmonton | block1912.com
This California chain lets you build your own cinnamon roll by adding flavoured icings and sweet toppings to its gooey cinnamon rolls.
Cinnaholic | 10345 82 Ave NW, Edmonton | cinnaholic.com
Having been on Whyte Avenue since 1962, this European bakery is an Old Strathcona institution, full of homemade sweet treats like doughnuts, cookies and tarts.
Empress Bakery | 9932 82 Ave NW, Edmonton |
Since 2009, Edmontonians Michelle LeMoignan and Brianna Vallet have been baking up fluffy, mouth-watering cupcakes topped with buttercream and cream cheese frostings in their Whyte Avenue shop. They have vegan and gluten-free varieties now, too.
Flirt Cupcakes | 10158 82 Ave NW | flirtcupcakes.com
The alley behind the Varscona Theatre and El Cortez is home to this delightful bakery where baker Amy Nachtigall is known for her picture-perfect, elaborate and flavourful cakes and icings. You’ll also find a selection of cookies, tarts, scones, squares, meringues and other treats.
Sugared and Spiced | 10334 82 Ave NW, Edmonton | sugaredandspiced.ca
After moving from Garneau last winter, this legendary bakery still creates elaborate custom cakes. For smaller indulgences, enjoy cake pops, cookies and candies.
Whimsical Cake Studio | 8211 102 St NW, Edmonton | whimsicalcakestudio.ca
A couple blocks off Whyte Avenue is a bright, airy coffee shop that’s home to local coffee roaster, Ace. It has just the thing to pair with your espresso: Cake doughnuts and bomboloni (Italian-style filled doughnuts). The classic cinnamon sugar-dusted doughnut is hard to beat.
ACE Coffee Roasters Garneau | 11053 86 Ave NW, Edmonton | acecoffeeroasters.com
ACE Coffee Roasters Ritchie | 10055 80 Ave NW, Edmonton |
Inspired by family recipes, Crave Cupcakes opened its stores in Alberta 16 years ago. Co-owners Jodi Willoughby and Carolyne McIntyre Jackson have turned lifelong family baking traditions into a dessert institution — and its signature buttercream icing and moist cupcakes remain popular to this day.
Crave Cupcakes | 7929 104 St NW, Edmonton | cravecupcakes.ca
This new addition to the neighbourhood serves up a selection of homemade baking alongside light fare and coffee, though it’s perhaps best known for homemade whoopie pies — a flavoured cream filling sandwiched between small cakes.
Woodrack Cafe | The Dominion Building #102, 10324 82 Ave | thewoodrackcafe.com
After much success in Holland Plaza, the party is getting even bigger. Doughnut Party’s colourful flavoured doughnuts and icings are now available south of the river on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Doughnut Party | 9610 76 Ave NW, Edmonton | doughnutparty.ca
While it’s still best known for its sandwiches, more people really should know about Farrow’s amazing house-made pastries, doughnuts, homemade takes on Pop Tarts, muffins, and — by special order — DOUGHNUT CAKES.
Farrow Sandwiches | 9855 76 Ave NW, Edmonton | farrowsandwiches.ca
Dietary restrictions and preferences don’t mean you’ll miss out on dessert. Here you’ll find gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, plant-based and vegan baking including cupcakes, cookies, tarts and bite-sized treats.
Food in the Nud | 9628 76 Ave NW, Edmonton | foodinthenud.ca
Edmonton’s crown jewel of dessert shops, Duchess Bake Shop on 124th Street, has recently anointed its spinoff, Little Duchess. Find a smaller selection of signature Duchess items like macarons, cookies, cakes and scones.
Duchess Bake Shop | 9570 76 Ave NW | duchessbakeshop.com
Within a few blocks of each other on Whyte Avenue, Yelo’d swirls popular Philippine flavours of soft-serve ice cream, Made by Marcus scoops up interesting flavours of handmade, hard ice cream. A short ride away in Ritchie, Kind serves its small-batch, handmade ice cream. In a Winter City, is there room for all of these cold, albeit delicious, treats?
Apparently, yes. While the sometimes hour-long lines of summer have dwindled in front of Kind and Made by Marcus, demand for frozen desserts is still steady. In fact, the Marcus of Made by Marcus opened the store in Edmonton after opening two successful ice cream shops in Calgary — another city with snow and cold temperatures.
“Obviously sales do go down in winter, but I find ice cream shops similar to coffee shops: they’re a place for people to gather and have a good experience, regardless of the weather outside,” says Marcus Purtzki, owner of Made by Marcus.
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This article appears in the March 2020 issue of Avenue Edmonton